I am in the check-out line at the grocery store. I take my wallet from my bag and notice the big swath of paint on my hand that I missed when I washed up. Sometimes it is gel medium that makes it look like I have some kind of skin disease. Other times it might be a strange colored blob of paint that found itself on my shirt, my pants or even my handbag. I am amazed at how sneaky it is. The common person would probably freak out especially at the ruined clothing. I just laugh. I can’t escape. I am an artist.
My professor of light and color at Pratt Institute of Art was Mary Buckley. Miss Buckley, we called her. She was somewhat prim and proper but also charming. One Monday morning she arrived to class exclaiming; “I hope that was not anyone in this class pulled over to the side of the BQE last night watching that spectacular sunset!”
It may well have been some of my classmates pulled over in weekend traffic to capture the sunset. While Miss Buckley recognized our enthusiasm she did not want us risking our lives for it. We could capture it when we returned to the dorm instead of pulling over in the midst of danger she reminded us.
It is ingrained in us as artists, the need to capture inspiration while it is fresh. Last week it was the snow. The moisture of late winter snow made it stick to the branches in blobs almost like giant cotton balls. As I was enjoying that view from my kitchen window, this cardinal sat in the middle of them. All this white dobbed branchiness and now, a brilliant red bird. I was supposed to be off to a class but it was too good to pass up. I ran outside with my camera. The cardinal moved from his prime spot when he saw me. This made me laugh and think of Miss Buckley. No, there was nothing dangerous in this attempt to capture an image of the cardinal. But there was the reminder of how fleeting inspiration is and how we are not in control despite it all.