Lately, I’ve been working a lot in the material world, renovating my studio and happily lightening up: changing a magenta window frame to “limelight” green, or taking apart the big collage that wasn’t really successful, though preserved under heavy glass in an ornate vintage frame. Save the frame, stash the collage in the flat file, take a few quick photos to document the painted overlay, and the glass gets carried to the basement for recycling, while one of the photos gets transformed into an impromptu self-portrait.
The studio looks great. But I still haven’t sorted that last pile of things “temporarily” installed in the living room. Glorious snippets of spray paint on paper, Bill Ding and his magic clowns, intriguing print ads from decades ago. It’s a continuous battle to determine their value: aesthetic inspiration, personal treasure, raw material for the next art project? Or (toughest of all) toss?
Then I got extra-derailed on my way to an evening birthday celebration, walking down Church Avenue, past my mural in progress. Double-take. Double-take again. Oh, no. It’s clean outside, it’s bright inside, it’s a new business, a bakery, it’s chic, it’s busy … and the security gate is … painted entirely black.
I messed up! I didn’t follow up after sending my proposal last summer for fixing the scraped-up top part, I didn’t find out what they were going to do with it, I didn’t say “be sure to let me know if it’s going to be painted over so I can take more photos before it disappears.” And now I’m like a ping-pong ball bouncing about in hyper-emotional sift-freak mode, teetering terribly close to the edge of despair!!!
Also, partly, I’m just tired of winter. I want to be out in the garden, handling green things. Or fooling around with the pix of those green things. Or delving deep into a red, red rose. You know, typical substitute therapy. The screen, of course, is omni-seasonal. And even in the midst of winter—with an assist from the flower stand on Church Avenue, right across from the subway, for as long as I remember—I can find a rose. Now maybe I can use the satisfaction of finishing this and get newly inspired to sift that pile o’ stuff. Or maybe not. Follow the bouncing ball!
Catherine Rutgers © 2014