the fireground

So, I haven’t been painting, lately.

Gearing up for Somerville Open Studios, I was so happy to have finally gotten into the groove of painting all of the time.  Almost every night, I would make a pot of tea, turn on the lamp at my easel, and throw some paint on the canvas.

A month ago, my father died.  It was somewhat unexpected – the speed of it, I mean.   I thought for sure that there would be just a little more time.

My father was probably my greatest supporter, as a painter.  When I was a teenager, he asked me to paint a fire scene for him.  He was a Deputy Fire Chief  (eventually being a Chief, as did his own father), and he loved firefighting like nothing else. It was he who instilled in me the belief that you need to do what you love, and exemplified that ideal.  I do regret that it took me so long to find the courage to do it, myself, and I wish that he could have seen my work exhibited in the cafe.

Anyway, I was dragging my feet on this painting.  I was a young teenager and it was summer and I suppose I was being lazy.  He would occasionally ask how it was coming along.  Never pushing; just gently nudging.  I continued to work at a snail’s pace, preferring to spend my days lounging in the sun or reading or whatever it was that young teenaged girls did to wile away their time in the summer instead of being more productive. I suppose the basis of that avoidance was really the fear that it wouldn’t be good enough.

I did finish it, finally.  Even if it was truly horrible, he still would have thought that it was a great painting.  He had it framed and hung it in his office at the Fire Academy. In his later years, he kept it in his man-room at home.  Now, visiting my mother on weekends, his room is so empty.  But the painting glares out at me.

I have a commission to do, on which I’ve been dragging my feet.  This week, it will be good to get back into the habit of making a pot of tea, turning on the lamp at my easel, and throwing some paint on the canvas…

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