Sometimes, being an artist means doing some pretty practical and boring work. Like, taking the day off of work, weaving fifty feet of PVC piping through the basement, and installing a pump at the base of a slop sink. I went to paint the other day, and my brushes were dirty. It definitely had a negative effect on my work- I could not get the effect I was trying to achieve, because my brushes had a stiff, gummy feel to them. It really messed up my painting. It’s not a good idea to wash oil brushes in the bathroom or kitchen sink, and it’s annoying for me to run across town to wash my brushes in my studio, so I knew I had to install a slop sink in my basement.
I realize that this is the most boring blog I have ever written. But, that’s precisely my point- being a painter is sometimes very boring, tedious work. Submitting work to competitions, applying for grants, dropping off paintings at galleries, picking up paintings from galleries, hanging paintings, getting work framed, picking up art supplies- I don’t enjoy any of this stuff, but it’s all necessary. That’s it, nothing profound, just get it done. Creating a work of art is grounded in very practical things- Monet is said to have run his house like clockwork, and would wake up every morning at four a.m. One of his contemporaries describes a scene of him working on a particular painting of women in his garden. The painting was so big that he couldn’t get the canvas close enough to the model. And so, Monet dug a trench, and lowered his painting into the ground, just to get the correct height to work at.
As for me, this pump ensures that when I mess up a painting in the future, it will owe nothing to gummy, dirty brushes.