The Year that Wouldn’t Quit

 

It’s pretty clear, that I’m the best version of me when I’m painting everyday. If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife. Life has a way of making that difficult. This year has been full of challenges.

We started the year with a remolding job in our bedroom. We gutted our bedroom on December 30th of 2016. The room was always so cold. Turns out there was zero insulation in the walls. We ripped out every bit of paneling, raised the ceiling, did some rewiring, insulated the heck out of it, and put it all back together. Somewhere along the way, I broke the water pipe for the baseboard heat, so I had to learn fast how to work on that system. I spent two months in that room.

Once we moved back in I jumped into the biggest painting I’ve ever made. It started out as 7’x11’. I built it in my workshop. Designing how it would hinge occupied my brain I as finished the sheetrock in the bedroom. Once it was stretched and primed, my wife asked me a simple question… will it fit into the studio? “Yes” I answered “I have to cover the back door, but my wall is big enough.” I was so sure of myself. “But will it fit through the door?” she pressed.

That was the moment I realized I never measured the way IN the studio. A quick check told me no, no it would not. It was too tall. I pride myself on my building

skills and my design knowhow, this was a healthy kick in the pants. I tried the front door and the back door to the studio. I didn’t want to have to hinge it to get it in and out, even though it is built to do so. It would be a chore to do that every time I move it around. So, I unstretched the top of the canvas and cut off 6 inches. It fits now.

Working on that scale was fantastic! I’m completely addicted to it. My brushstrokes used my whole body. The painting was moving along when commissions started coming in. I love making commissions. Working with clients to create a piece specific to them is very rewarding.

Just as I got those out of the way, my wife hurt her back. She herniated a disk in her lower back. No surgery, just a hospital stay followed by five months of rest. This put everything in the studio on hold. Suddenly, I was caring for her and the kids. Our moms took turns coming up to help out. That was a blessing. Somehow, they arrived just as another commission came in. It’s been a good year for commissions and a hard year to get to them.

It’s now a little over 6 months from the injury. She is still not going into work. Her boss has let her telework, which has been amazing. We’ve had to rig up some crazy contraptions to allow her to work laying face down in bed. She has only been able to walk or lay down. Sitting hurts too much.

The last month of the recovery has had ups and downs. It’s amazing how many parts of the body can go out of whack if your back is injured. She is hoping to return to the office later in the month.

This last month for me has seen my studio time get back to normal. That has made me so much nicer to be around. The big one is still in progress and I’m hoping to get back to it this month.  I finished up other paintings started months ago. I made two new ones in no time at all. The last one felt like I was flying. Everything was working. I finished the year by painting some of my best work yet.  My production for the year was one of my lowest ones I’ve ever had but with what’s been going on and that kind of finish, I’ll take it.


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