So I started an art project. Some people would call it redecoration. It was an intentional plan to distract myself, and to give myself something that I could focus on and see progress. I can’t fix what is going on with my parents-in-law, so I wanted something that I could fix.
It started off as a need to fix a problem. We had some ugly grout-tape in the bathroom. Instead of caulk to bridge the area between the shower surround and the tub, we had this stuff that was in a long strip and it stuck to both things. It kind of worked, until it didn’t. It was peeling apart from the shower surround, and mold was developing.
I was a little afraid to deal with it. I was concerned that it meant that there was water damage behind it, and this was going to result in a really expensive remodeling project. Water is as destructive as fire, but slower. I kept trying to stick it back on the wall, and it kind of worked. I asked my spouse to fix it and as usual it got put on the back burner. And as usual, I slowly worried about it more.
So I did what I do when I worry. I got books. Knowledge is power. I got every book on bathroom remodeling that my library branch had. I decided that this was now a Project. We’d save up our money and then we could do this right.
Fortunately, when my spouse got around to pulling the weird tape off, there was no evidence of water damage. There was a lot of mold, though, so I’m glad that it came down. He put caulk in there instead. It looks a lot better.
But by then I’d gotten the bug. Thankfully it wasn’t an expensive project, but it could still be a Project. We didn’t have to rip out the entire bathtub and shower and re-frame and put new tile. That would involve hiring professionals. There are things we can do, and that kind of stuff isn’t on the list.
But I saw a picture while I was looking through the books.
It was beautiful Tromp l’oeil. It is a koi’s eye-view of a pond. I went running with it. But I like goldfish and aquariums. So that is what I’m doing instead. But you can’t do that to start off with. Remember – paint the background first.
So then there had to be a trip to Lowe’s hardware. I went on my lunch break and picked up a few paint samples that were in the neighborhood of what I wanted. I brought them home and gave the spouse a choice.
It isn’t really a choice. I had already decided on what to let him look at. So no matter what he picked, I would be happy with it. This is straight out of working with kindergartners. Too many choices is a sure way to stop any work from going forward.
Then came time to paint. The room is too small for two people to work, and he doesn’t really “get” painting. He more than makes up for it in being able to fix minor plumbing and electrical problems, so I was OK with that. But it took three hours.
I’d forgotten that we had a dinner date with friends on Saturday night, so that meant I had to get this done on Friday to give it time to dry so we could take showers. That meant I got started on actually painting this project around nine, because we had to have supper first and there is always the prep work to do for painting.
I decided to do this without any music. I figured that it would disturb him. I don’t play my music around him, nor do I sing around him. That is something to write about for another day.
So I was stuck, painting, by myself, in a small room, for three hours, in silence. It was a new kind of hell.
Instead of getting away from my problems, I was right up in them. Everything I was trying to not think about was right there with me in that tiny room that smelled of latex paint.
I meditated on Jonah, one of my favorite characters who teaches me how to deal with problems. And I remembered that he was stuck in that whale for three days. So was Jesus – he was dead for three days. You can praise God all you want, but you are still going to have to wait until it is time for it to be over.
That helped. I was still in a foul mood, but at least I knew there was going to be an end to it. It reminds me of the person who had a ring made that said “This too shall pass” as a reminder for the bad times as well as the good times.
The next day I painted the leaves on the walls, because that had to be done before the fixtures could be put back. Scott was out of the house, so I put on music and sang along. It helped my mood a lot. It was also good that I started with something simple like long twisty leaves.
The next day I painted some fish. I didn’t think I could. I was planning on drawing them on watercolor paper and then gluing them on, or printing some out on inkjet paper and doing the same. I’m glad I gave painting them a try, because I surprised myself.
I had gone online for some reference pictures and printed them out on my printer. The resolution wasn’t that great, but it was a good start. I transferred the outline of the fish to the wall by holding the paper to the wall and tracing the lines Really Hard with a pencil, so it made a dent in the wall. Ideally, I’d have used carbon paper. I didn’t have any, and I didn’t feel like slowing down by going and getting some. Inspiration shouldn’t be messed with. If I slow down, the whole thing could have come to a complete stop.
The transfer of the lines worked. I mixed up some paint in a small plastic dish and went at it. I learned as I went. I used a dry brush technique for the fins. I painted seven goldfish. I plan to paint a castle, an old-time deep sea diver, a treasure chest, and a sunken galleon too. Later.
Today’s the third day, and I feel better. The room looks brighter. I’m still not finished with the fish (they need eyes) but I’m OK with that. The problems with the parents-in-law continue, but I’ve realized that isn’t my project. I’m sticking with the stuff that is my responsibility and leaving that to their sons.
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