First Painting I sold


My neighbour saw one of my paintings through the window and wanted to buy it. The one above the couch facing the hefty 4 leg easel.

The painting he wants is product of my student days. A late night effort during months of 12+ hour days in the lab. I didn’t have a easel than. Just a cheap plastic drop cloth taped to the wall of my one room apartment. Painted on two sheets of large sketch book paper tapped at the back and lathered with gesso to form a single surface. Thickened by the acrylics and gel medium which made those colours glow.

I loved the texture of that painting, not just the colours and the shapes. There was something inspiring about the touch of it – the groves of left by the old paint loaded brush. Painting it blessed me with a vague intuitive understanding of colour. Stepping back brush in hand from those orange reds amidst the blue greens was an eureka moment.

The painting followed me to other cities. When Mr neighbour came knocking, I had a 9 to 9 job that I loved. Came home and painted madly while food whirled and went cold in the microwave. Paper paint oil pastel stains in my fingernail. It was fun, and I liked the stuff that came off that easel. The painting on the wall approved and inspired.

Now Mr neighbour wants to buy it. I say yes. I’m flattered. I ask how much. He suggests an eye brow raising price. Cash (though I declared it in that year’s taxes). I feel a bit of a swindler to sell paper with paint on it for that amount. He already has his wallet out and money in hand. I roll up the painting (it has never been framed – just taped to the wall). We shake on the sale. He asks me to let him know when ever I paint anything new and walks home across the court yard.

I went back to the easel feeling something I can’t describe or remember. Perhaps it was positive. Of course I have a slide of that painting (professionally done like the others). The slide feels like a picture of dear friend who was killed in a silly careless accident for which I was responsible.

Of course the sinking feeling kicked in years later. After I had moved to another continent. The easel was left behind – as with any heavy furniture involved in any intercontinental move. There were times I felt a terrible sense of loss. Eventually other priorities sucked me away from regular painting. Illogically, when in less than positive moods, it feels like some karmic consequence of selling that painting.

So this is good bye to you (where ever you are). Hope you finally got a nice frame, decent room to look at, and a circle of admirers. You might like to know that a few weeks back I bought some oil pastels, a tube of Titanium white, a small tube of gel, and a sketch book with detachable sheets. Even a stack of old newspaper to use as drop cloth. Mrs C approves. Now I’m saving up the time to use all that. A Sunday painter. What ever comes out, you are still the best most meaningful thing I ever created. Sorry.

Yes I do anthropomorphise too much for my own good – one of many flaws. And this is one of my sillier and soppier posts but its needs to be said. I guess you found that out too late. Vhut to du kno?

12 comments

  1. would love to see the slide. If you and Mrs. C. do not have any plans wednesday 14th evening, you should really come to the opening of an exhibition at Barefoot.

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  2. Yow 3 requests – the pressure is on. Will sniff around my ye olde archived files to see if I got a scan of it.

    Nazreen The tyranny of logistics mean we’ll miss the opening but I always snoop over to the gallery during quieter hours to get my dosage of art🙂 Keeps the voices in the head happy.

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  3. […] The cause of all this activity was the realisation that not drawing or painting will actually make me unhappy. Which is not a good thing. I seem to regard material things with a rather ruthless utilitarian view. The less stuff I have to buy or own – the less hassle I have to deal with. Yet there’s no running away from the almost biological instinct to work shapes and colours until some internal ding in the head tells me its done. Resist and a tidal way of nameless shame washes over me. It has nothing to do with paintings I left with friends in other continents. I’ve certainly made peace with the misery of the first painting I ever sold. […]

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