Any thought of painting today evaporated. Then, as the windows rattled, I started to think about it. It might have been a great day to paint on yupo paper with watercolours. As you know, yupo does not absorb water, so the pigment dries in place and can be easily lifted if needed; most of us consider this a huge plus. On the other hand, if you move that new painting before it has dried, your new creation might repaint itself as you are driving home. Had I only thought of it in time, I could have painted a dog today and ended up with a jungle. Or vice versa. Or an egg beater. The possibilities are endless. So many missed opportunities in this short life.
I was, however, relieved not to have been painting in oil today. Especially during the final glazes when the proportion of oil to pigment is higher, a freshly painted section can sag and harden that way if left in a vertical position. This time of the year when the angle of light is almost flat and a painting on the easel is completely reflective and blinding in the late afternoon, I have a hard time judging how much oil is too much. Sags are a permanent disaster unless you are prepared to wait a couple of years to sand them out.
Mary Pratt has a practical solution to this problem. After a day of painting, she places the painting flat on the floor to dry. Mind you, I doubt she has a dog. With Theodore in mind, I manoeuvre the wet canvas past the cream wing chairs by the fireplace and try to drop it in front of the pilot light. And there it lies today, safely protected from sagging yet free to recreate itself with abandon. After all, it is not quite finished and may have some opinions of its own.
Come to think of it, maybe I should have stretched out in front of the fireplace myself.