When I moved here twelve or so years ago I brought with me all the paintings I had done as an art student in the 80's and 90's. They are very large and storage was a problem, so I put them in the cellar. To save space, I had already cut many of them off the stretchers and rolled them up. I forgot that I had a wet cellar that was far from appropriate for storing such things as artist canvas. Fast forward to the present. This morning I went to collect the paintings in anticipation of a big show at the Arts Center this spring. What I found was mold, slime, and rot. The paintings had come loose from the stretchers and rotted along the
edges. Some of the canvas tore when I touched it. At first I couldn't find the paintings I had rolled up, but as I gingerly pulled the soaked mess away, I saw an old black nylon bag I recognized as one of my old outdoor painting bags. Closer inspection revealed what looked at first like a pile of wet newspapers. It was actually a pile of soaked and moldy canvases.
Well, I was philosophical about the situation, aware of the fact that nothing lasts forever. My concern was my plans for my show. So I sorted through the mess and salvaged some of the least damaged paintings. I hauled them into daylight and set them out to dry. The sky is threatening rain, but these works are obviously no stranger to water and maybe they will survive a good bath. Whatever happens, I will have to cut them down and glue them onto something solid....perhaps masonite.
If I were a different person I might have been sad and upset at looking at the rubble that had once been the outpouring of my confused and desperate mind .....the evidence of my anguish, the visual manifestation of my otherwise unbearable turmoil. Probably this rubble saved me from suicide a hundred times. But now it conjures up only some bland memories seen from a great distance, and indescribable gratitude.