During the summer, my time opens up. Suddenly, I’ve got more time to write, to visit, to just sit and do nothing, an activity of which I’m very fond. There’s time to wander around with my camera and wait for the birds to hold still. There’s time to organize and clean, and there’s finally time to paint.
Of all my summertime chores, I really like painting. Not painting prep. I’m not a fan of taping, spackling or laying down drop cloths. I don’t particularly like seeking out flaws and sanding them down, and I don’t love washing walls with TSP. For these reasons, the summertime painting I like best is the painting done outside. No sanding, no taping, no drop cloths. Just brush off the dirt and the spider webs and get painting.
Listen to me read this post:
Other summers, I’ve painted baseboards and cupboards and walls and door casings. I’ve painted my old coffee table from the thrift store in Grande Prairie a fresh apple green and my Grandma’s old end table a vibrant cherry red. I’ve painted the siding on the garage and I’ve painted the siding on the house. On warm October days, after the summer was gone and my time was tighter, I’ve touched up exterior window trim and touched up peeling fascia boards. I don’t paint in the winter. Winter’s not a painting time.
Yesterday, after deliberating between spray painting and brush painting, I cracked open a very tiny can of bright white Tremclad rust paint. The day before, my painter’s eye spotted the old metal-framed wire gate that leads from the backyard onto the garage pad and out into the world. As if seeing this gate for the first time, I considered its decoratively entwined wires that were brown with rust, like very old lovers, tired of it but still stuck with each other. I noticed the gate’s metal frame, dull and brooding, not even returning the sun’s smile.
The first coat of paint is on now. To my horror, about three hours after I’d finished painting, clouds moved in and over the backyard and burst open. Those few hours of warmth and sunlight must’ve granted the paint just enough time to cure because when I checked the gate this morning, it looked perfectly fine. So relieved!
From my kitchen window this morning, that gate already looks bright and new, and I still intend to give it a couple more coats. What I love about painting is change. I love how quickly and easily colour transforms things, cheers them up and animates them. Once wallflowers, newly-painted objects become the life of the party, dancing on the table and the last ones to leave as the sun’s coming up.
Some days, I’d like to give my own life a fresh coat of paint, a shade of younger with undertones of something-more-to-look-forward-to. I’m not afraid of colour, of mixing it up, of trying on a more startling shade. It would be nice, though, if I could experiment with some new colours or even a couple different shades of me without having to commit immediately to a new colour for myself.
Unfortunately, life changes aren’t made as easily as paint colour choices, and their implications can last much longer. Still, as I clean my brushes and gently hammer on that little metal lid, I realize this painter is ready for a change.