One of the things I love most about painting time in the studio is the aural input. I’m a podcast person because it offers an endless supply of options for someone with many different — OK, scattered — interests, allowing my brain to receive all kinds of information while my eyes and hands are busy with productive matters. I can listen to a class on updates to herbal approaches to Lyme disease, or literary short fiction, or interviews with great thinkers, or the intricacies of distinctions between different personality types. After the election, my go-to became Stuart McLean’s stories from the Vinyl Cafe on CBC. Having spent much time in my childhood in the eastern provinces (and adult vacations returning to ancestral territories of Nova Scotia / Cape Breton), it became a respite from the cruel reality I heard all day on news radio. Ban on muslims? At night I would chuckle as a small neighborhood in a Canadian village welcomed a dark-skinned family from across the globe and slowly realized their erroneous misperceptions in hilarious ways.
After exhausting the episodes, I transitioned back over to political reporting (especially the deeply informative ones like Intercepted). In a couple of hours, though, I’d find myself craving something different, and so I downloaded the cast recording of Hamilton. Remember that theory I had recently where I found that I had to work for a couple of hours before hitting my groove? Yeah, a couple of hours is about the time each night that I switched from shady conflicts of interest in the White House and the deconstruction of our democracy to Hamilton. At the opening beats, my foot would tap and I’d be off, bopping and singing at the easel as Hamilton meets Burr and forms relationships with Lafayette and others (yelling “Hercules Mulligan” on cue — how do I not remember him from history class?) and gets married and joins General Washington and defeats the British and writes the Federalist Papers and and…
I find it interesting that in these times, as we witness mocking disregard of the Constitution and the attempt to deconstruct our government, and wonder if the Great Experiment could in fact fail, I turn to the times of its inception; the hopefulness of its creation and the revolution that was the catalyst of it all.
Anyway, in the meantime, Newman was completed.