A long time ago, my parents bought me an easel for Christmas.
(Sadly, I cannot find the photos from that Christmas)
IT WAS A HUGE gift (aka expensive) and I was shocked and thrilled to have my own artist easel. At the time, it felt like it was my parents endorsing my change of career. With their blessing (and their gift), I would transform myself!
In the years since this easel joined my life, it has moved MANY times and I have painted MANY paintings with it. (About 1200 paintings!!)
Yup. I DID become a full time professional artist.
On May 22nd, when the BIG WALNUT STUDIO FIRE HAPPENED....I rescued it and brought it home. IT WAS SAD. Part of me wants dto just throw it in the garbage with all the burnt paintings. it was too sad and too smelly to bring INTO the house...so....
for WEEKS on my front porch.
The truth is, after more than a month of airing out....it still smelled bad....and it looked just terrible. IMPOSSIBLE even.
I was beginning to resign myself to throwing it out.
But that just seemed so sad.
We had been through so much!
So a month in, I tried again....I febreezed it, and put baking soda on it, and let it air for another few weeks....sadly it still smelled....
I just figured it, like all those destroyed paintings, was part of my past. I mean, why not just start over???
Why put in the effort to revive something that was in such bad shape?
Why couldn't I let go of the past??
The truth is I couldn't stand the thought of throwing it out!
I mean, it was a gift from my folks, and it was the ONE constant in my career - in all the locations, in all the good times, in all the hard times....I had this easel!
So I thought I would spend some MORE time trying to fix it.
I started scraping at it, trying to get the layers of black char off it....it was 30 degrees and hot, and as sweat dripped into my eyes, I realized, that there was many layers of paint on it....enough that some areas could just be PEELED.....
So I started peeling off the layers of paint.
It was very satisfying. As I stripped back the layers, I saw paint colours that I used in the beginning of my career.
It was strange to remember these paintings from so long ago, and remember how I wondered then "Will I ever make it as an artist?"
So...I spent another day of striping...
I then put 3 coats of varathane on it.....BUT left one area black and burnt. I then moved it into my NEWEST studio....
See the top of the easel arm?
I left it black (with 3 layers of sealant) to remind myself of the lessons I have learned from the tragedy of the studio fire:
1. It's okay to hold on to the past sometimes. Don't rush to start over and throw things away, sometimes you can USE the past to help you build your future!
2. Sometimes, when you are stuck on a problem, you need to just hold on and a solution will eventually reveal itself! Time is a great healer, and a great teacher. LET IT TEACH YOU!
3. I also learned AGAIN, that a lot of hard work, a lot of time, and a lot of determination WILL yield results!
I feel like these lessons will help shape me going forward, and that is why I wanted to see that burnt area...to remind myself! I hope that works! ;-)
AND SO NOW, TRUELY, the second chapter in my painting career can START! THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES!!!!
Thanks for joining me!
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!