Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mixing It Up

I spent the early afternoon peering through a miasma of enamel fumes at an expanse of carefully prepared board. On it, a jigsaw of pencilled outlines marked which angular fragments of red and yellow were to be painted. Even though I knew the fumes were toxic, I couldn't help sniffing to feel the familiar, acetone-tinged fizz at the back of my throat.
Later, Jim, the painter who assists me on my large enamel on board works, helped me prepare paint. I chose and double-checked colours; he mixed them. We daubed a little of each on a small area of the board then let it dry to gauge how much it would darken. If I'd been alone, this process would have been slow and painstaking but with Jim, it moved along quickly. Maybe I was less inclined to be distracted.
Now it's raining. Above our heads, the heavy downpour sounds like rice cascading onto a steel drum. Occasionally, a strong gust of wind rattles the studio's old roller doors.


Josephine said...

Ok, I love your blog and your art and your take no prisoners style. I love that you are a strong woman in this world that so often tells women to smile and be quiet. However, the constant reminders of what these enamels are doing to your health are depressing and beginning to smack of martyrdom. You can stop working with these toxics carcingogens anytime you want. Yes you can. Seriously.

C.C. said...

Who says? You? You only have to see one of Dooney's enamel works up close to realise that she has a hard-won mastery of this medium. Giving it up isn't like giving up coffee or an extra muffin for breakfast. It's the very stuff of what she's devoted her life to – her work! And this means more to her than her health.

Such dedication – you can call it martyrdom, if you like – is something that separates the larger-than-life (and Dooney is very definitely one of those) from the rest of us. Incidentally, she doesn't tell YOU what to do with her life. And she doesn't demand that you read her blog. So you can stop anytime you want. Yes you can.

Josephine said...

Oh for Pete's sake, "her work is more important than her health"? That's really sad. Do all great artists have to live a self destructive cliche? How do you know that she couldn't find a different medium with which to make even more amazing work with? I think Hazel's watercolors are amazing.

Anonymous said...

What's sad about that? This world would be a better place if we all had something that meant more to us than health, looks, social status etc.

Josephine said...

Difficult for one to continue making art if they don't have their health.