Scrap heaps

I waded into a quagmire today – and spent six hours in it.

It’s been five weeks since the plumbing went to hell, and the pile of wet carpet and water-damaged stuff on the lower deck is starting to stink.

Gypsum dust coats everything in the basement and a lot of the main floor, from the drywall cutting for the replumbing and subsequent repair.

I had to dust and then box up the odds and ends in my office and art space, and throw out the papers and photos that were water-damaged.

Didn’t take long to see why I’d put this off.

It’s sad to throw away the large mats that I custom-cut so carefully, back in 2008-09. I had my own gallery space in a beautiful old building in downtown Jasper, displayed big prints of my photographs, and had receptions for each change of season. Now it’s all just piles taking up room in the closet.

It’s discouraging to wipe cobwebs and drywall dust off the two shelves of oil paintings that I did in 2010-11. They haven’t had to move to make room for anything new in a very long while.

dusty easel

I have a whole drawer of oil paints and a box of nice oil brushes and a stack of blank canvases, bought with those monthly checks from Dad, just waiting for five years, rarely touched.

It’s a bummer to throw away almost an entire box of 500 business envelopes. I bought bulk quantities of office supplies in those heady days of 2011-12 when we launched our company and planned to turn it into a significant business.

It makes me a little angry to pack up the supplies for encaustic wax painting and layered transparencies from just last year. Seems like I can never stick with any one technique.

Worst of all are the stained, larger-than-life prints on satin of ordinary Afghans. They were part of an exhibit, Beyond the Mountains, that was shown in four galleries from 2010-12.

Afghan Classic Afghan shawl Afghan girl

Then the public got tired of Afghanistan and I didn’t have the energy to find another venue for the exhibit. For the last three and a half years they have just been sitting in a box in my closet, and now they’re ruined.

My office and art space is full of reminders of all the things I dreamed of but didn’t do. Piles and piles of gesture drawings, figure drawings, trying to capture ideas that were so clear to me but never made it into paintings. Folder after folder of projects I got started on – history, writing, art, business – and didn’t finish.

Time is finite. I might live to be 100, and I might die before I’m 57. Whenever it is that I go, all these piles will add up to just another heap of trash on the deck.

Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. 

Now I’m on the couch, nursing a sore back and tired arms. The office is ready for the insulation to get blown into the walls and the last drywall to be repaired this week; to get painted and gallery molding installed next week; and to be recarpeted the week after. It will be a lot warmer and more comfortable place after all that is done.

Then I’m going to reorganize it.

I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I’m going to make my space into one that is not so full of regret.

Today’s penny is a 2014, the last time that I had an Art Sprawl.

One thought on “Scrap heaps”

  1. Though I have never been a saver, I sure connect with your anxiety over this. I told Chris just a couple of days ago that I am spending time everyday now slowly erasing my footprint from the earth. It feels clear, liberating.

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