What species of fish is that?


I spend a lot of time in areas that seem like wilderness, although they are only minutes from civilization.  Nature inspires me, as you may have noticed if you’ve ever read my poetry.  I think it’s very important for the human spirit to acknowledge what is beautiful in the spaces we see every day, taking time to explore new spaces as well.

I don’t consider myself an artist but am moved to paint from time to time.  The last art class I took was in 8th grade, but don’t quote me on that.  It was whenever the last mandatory art class was in school.  My problem with art is that I rarely ever finish a piece – much like my old “novels” written in notebooks.  The creative process goes like this: oh!  I have an idea for a painting.  It’s going to be really cool and fun and people will want to hang it over their toilets.  I sit down at the canvas.  I arrange my blobs of paint on a palette (I dislike using anything other than acrylic, which either makes me a snob or talentless…maybe both).  I splash some lines and swirls on said canvas.  I am intensely engaged for a few hours, not eating or drinking and barely breathing.  I eventually decide I must eat and shower and sleep.  Next day, all of the inspiration and gusto has left me.  Canvas dries.  I stash it between the wall and a bookshelf.  Or in the back of a closet.  I become very busy with the dozens of other things going on in my life.

Each time I have moved residence, I carry these unfinished canvases with me.  I guess I have a tiny bit of hope that I will go back to them one day.  I try to keep them hidden from the people helping me move.  If they happen to see the paintings, I make lame excuses about why they are half finishedThat?  Oh, that’s just something I did when I was bored.  I usually follow with nervous laughter and snatch the painting away.

So it is with pride that I announce, in the past two weeks, I have finished not one but TWO artsy things.  Victorious!  I have to give credit to a good friend of mine, who first dragged me to “Wine & Canvas,” where an instructor forces you to complete a painting in an allotted amount of time.  But it’s supposed to be relaxing and fun because there are adult beverages and good food.  Most everyone there is a novice painter, and the idea is that you will have a beautiful finished product by the end of the session, no matter how terrible you are at art.  I had a lot of fun and felt more accomplished than I should probably admit without embarrassment.

The second artistic thing I completed was thanks to the same friend.  Two years ago, at a spring festival, there was a vendor selling fish art.  This friend expressed some interest in purchasing one, but they started out at $45 and went up with size.  I said, offhandedly, “I can make that for free.”  In typical Noony fashion, two years later, I came through.  I am notoriously bad at gifting, especially this time of year.  For one thing, I don’t like spending money.  Secondly, I never know what to get, and I have ridiculously high standards for making the other person happy with whatever I buy.  Is there even such a thing as a “perfect” gift?  But it’s true what they say – give from the heart.  My friend loved her fish.

DW would like everyone to know he helped in the making of this palm bark fish.  I found the wood months ago, near the beach.  I cleaned and scrubbed it with a wire brush.  DW spray painted it with primer, and I did the rest.  I used acrylic paint, of course.  My friend is going to hang it over her toilet.  Dreams do come true.

***

Epilogue:

A day after I gave my friend her present, I was at my company Christmas luncheon at Olive Garden.  Our server walked by as I was showing my coworkers a picture of the fish, since none of them had any idea what I was talking about when I said, “I stayed up until midnight painting this fish out of wood.”  She asked how much I would charge for a smaller version; she wanted it for one of her son’s Christmas presents.  I have no idea how much I would charge, since I’m not a professional artist.  I said I would give her a call once I figured out if I could get it done before Christmas.  Afterwards, I realized a very important lesson – the type of palm bark (which I guess is technically a stem or petiole) needed doesn’t occur everywhere.  And actually, the one I found was in rare condition.  I will probably end up telling the nice lady it can’t be done in time, but to keep me in mind for his birthday.

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7 thoughts on “What species of fish is that?”

  1. Ha! . . you and I must be related in the spirit . . . I do the same thing with painting. I love to paint and write, but both must come fast and furious, because my interest level tilts really quick . . . spontaneity is the spice of life . . . I wouldn’t copy a painting for anything other than a whole LOT of money . . . then it might be worth the effort. ….

    PS I love your paintings

    1. It is true that I, too, feel an unexpected kinship between us. How you describe the process (“fast and furious”) is exactly what I was trying to get across. I go through creative dry spells, until I get so bored that I have to get out and do something that inspires me.

  2. I do many things at once . . . build/paint/sculpt/finally finished the dojo in my woods/making a clay oven/ computer stuff/read . . . all this and I am really a laid back personality . . . it seems as if I am constantly running ahead of boredom . . . and the sad thing is I f—ing LOVE it! .. .

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