At 6am, I awoke and dressed into the same malodorous clothes I had removed only three hours earlier. My shirt and pants still reeked of gin and smoke when I started scrambling eggs for my children’s breakfast. My friend, Hank, had picked-up a couple of nice Jamaican cigars on his last work-trip to Monterey (California) and I had decided to smoke the last one mid-way through a late evening of painting. I had gotten a late start on my work, having spent the morning working on PR materials (which means I spent a couple hours cursing my insolent printer). It was about a quarter after three, in the afternoon, before I started work on what would become the night’s two paintings. Around eight-thirty, I remembered to eat and tossed together a couple hot dogs with pickle, mustard and celery salt – for a one-handed standing meal that wouldn’t interfere with my brushwork. A little before ten, I gave-up on the cigar (sorry Hank) and returned to my usual painting snack of Camels. I washed the smoke down with an endless stream of gin and tonics, the same water I used earlier in the evening to swallow my makeshift dinner.
Last night there was a lot of painting that involved matching my colors on the work, rather than mixing and testing, before hand. I’ve always been notorious for mixing my colors on the canvas, rather than the palette; but that type of process often leads to multiple layers of color hiding one another under the final composition. Although, I do have a handful of flat and round brushes that I utilize in nearly every work; the large remainder of paint brushes in clear jars and old wine boxes, linger unused. Instead I often apply paint with brayers (printmaking rollers), sticks and hand-made stamps I create from soft balsa wood.
Though, this morning, I have not yet ventured into the studio, I recall my last vision of the workspace, before turning off the light to leave. My shelves and work tables are covered in lidded jars, some half-filled others already empty with only the stain of color remaining. The concoctions inside the containers are of my own creation, rushed blends that stem from the years of formulas buried within some voracious alcove of my brain. The mixtures fulfill two criteria – they are archival and they are shaken to the consistency of the smoothest velvet butter for easy application.
I gave a good twelve hours "at the office", last night. Now it's morning, Maddie is off to the fourth grade, my wife to work. The boys are racing their respective cars on the track I bought Dylan Thomas for his recent week’s birthday gift. There is an electric anticipation of the evening’s parties and schedules to keep. All I want is to return to the studio. It’s Halloween; everyone is wearing a costume, but me. – DN