I left through the side door of my studio, and I carried my palette to the parking lot. Under my arm, I had a bottle of turpentine, and a few pieces of steel wool. As I crouched beneath the streetlamp, at eleven thirty at night, I furiously scrubbed the paint off of the rim of the palette. I poured more turpentine, freeing up the dried paint, then continued to scour the surface of the wood with the steel wool. I kept scrubbing. Then I paused, and thought to myself, “I’m tired.”
You know, dear reader, as any young man might feel towards a girl with a curious eyes, I always want to present you with my finest foot forward. But, tonight, I just want to say that I’ve worked so hard, I’ve painted all day, for weeks on end, I’ve pursued innumerable leads to their final end, I’ve completed large portrait commissions, I’ve traveled to prisons, I’ve painted the things I care about most… and I am tired. Please don’t mistake this as meaning “I give up.” No, just the opposite. I’m excited to paint. I’m just exhausted.
Tomorrow, Margaret and the boys and I leave for two weeks, for a portrait commission in Minnesota. A couple is flying us out to a remote town, to their cabin on a lake, where I will paint the portrait commission. I am thrilled to turn my phone off, to watch my boys play on the lake, and to paint a portrait of a person who I have a lot of respect for. And, I’m looking forward to resting.
When I was a little kid, my mother used to listen to some musician, whose name I can’t recall, some singer from the eighties. She used to sing “They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down, they don’t know who picks me up when no one is around, I drop my sword and cry for just a while, because deep inside this someone, the warrior is a child.” Yes, yes, I know, it is very, very corny. But, the woman who sang it was sincere, and the words still stay with me.