Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I once loved art supply stores...

I loved the neatly lined paint tubes with interesting names like Phthalo Blue or Titanium White. I loved the stacks of card stock, the turning display of markers in warm and cool color sections, and the varieties of blank canvas in all different sizes. I loved feeling smug as I pursued the paint brush selection knowing I was trained to know which brush to buy. I loved the plastic Caboodle-like cases that could carry supplies for an entire painting series to a studio. But, most of all, I loved the possibility. And I know this may sound cheesy, but, when you know you can make something entirely unique out of whatever you find, you begin to love art supply stores.

I loved to create. More than anything else, until I was about 20, I loved to create art.

I would lock myself in my playroom in middle school and high school with a soda, art supplies, Enya, and, later on, cigarettes. I'd sew or draw or paint completely in my right brain until my mother would come tell me I needed to go to bed.

I was in an intense bunch of fundamental art classes freshman year of college. The teachers insisted we start from the basics again. Trying hard to forget how much I used art to escape and focus instead on making it a career, I fell out of love. I fell hard. I went to business classes the next semester only. I refused to paint at all.

Instead, I took up cooking. Then, I took up vintage fashion. Next, I started to like decorating. Finally, I found party planning.

And today, I went through the snow to Utrecht Art Supply store on 13th Street. I walked the isles for an hour, purchasing a new set of acrylics and a couple brushes. I listened as a college-aged girl asked for advice on stretching her own canvas. And, I got a little sad. Sad for who I was back then when all of this meant so much to me. Sad for all the time I've wasted not locked in my room focusing on myself and my dreams. Sad for forgetting what it felt like to be in an art store.

I think the guy at the register thought I was insane. I was clearly crying when I check out. You can laugh. It's okay.

So, on this Valentine's Day Eve, my love resolution #1 is to remember how to create. Pain is not a relative feeling. Just because someone is hurting more than you, it doesn't make your hurt any less painful. For me, the cure is taking those supplies I studied to learn how to use and turning them into one perfect expression.

End. You can gag. I don't mind.


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