Ninety-four. That’s the number of steps I walk up to get to the fifth floor of the mill where my studio is located. And when I leave, ninety-four down.
There is a freight elevator in the building which would be substantially easier. But that’s the point. It is the fact that it is difficult (I have to stop to catch my breath several times) that compels me to take the stairs.
Of course, it is my goal to not have to stop at all. That may be later rather than sooner, but hey.
In the meantime, when I get to the fifth floor, I am kicking ass. Painting, y’all.
It’s a well kept secret but my primary avocation is artist. I still recall being escorted to the principal’s office in the first grade. I wasn’t in trouble (yet, that would be the third grade) but rather there to show off my artwork. I still recall my crayon drawing—a colonial style house (like my friend Ann Sturton’s) with a sun in the right hand corner and a yellow wooden duck with a pull string on the front lawn.
I was also adept at etch-a-sketch, one of my prized possessions. My Grandpa Roy had been the engineer of a locomotive, so trains were my favorite subject matter. My Grandma Effie floated the idea of having me show off my skills at the local A & P. Nothing came of it but her confidence in my ability is something I shall always remember.
Once I got to college I majored in art. Initially I pursued graphic design but after a semester abroad in France (and my first exposure to some amazing paintings), I switched majors.
It was not a practical decision, but rather one from the heart. However, life has had it’s way with me and therefore I have only painted in fits and starts.
Five days ago I got my brushes out again and since then, it’s all I want to do. The astounding thing is, I am a better artist now than I was the last time I practiced my craft. After some consideration, I can only attribute this to confidence. Painting takes a lot of faith. You have to believe your eyes and trust your hand.
I am on a tear and my only trepidation is in regards to that thief, cancer. It is pretty clear to me that I am experiencing progression again. This is a motivator but also, understandably, a concern. I simply can’t stop now. Therefore, another exercise in faith. I have to believe that there is yet another therapy in the wings.
Any other possibility is unacceptable.