Who knows what artists are thinking?
I should have paid slightly more attention.
“I’m going to paint the closet door,” she said, sitting in her favorite blue easy chair in the corner of our living room.
“Good idea,” was my less-than-interested reply as I went back to thumb-scrolling my Instagram feed.
A few days later, she repeated her thought. I gave it as much attention as the first time. Perhaps less. I’d already heard it before.
As you learned in The Second Coat, I have as much interest in household painting projects as I do in watching paint dry.
If she wanted to whitewash the front-hall closet door, go for it, I thought silently. It would be a small, mid-summer project.
And, with that thought, I was about to find out what artists think about.
She wanted to paint it; not simply paint it.
After all, my particular artist creates brilliantly colored pieces that stretch to huge sizes — oftentimes reaching six feet wide or larger. So, a closet door? Well, it makes for a pristine canvas. A canvas that would be permanently on display in our home.
Of course, I was completely oblivious to her thinking.
She grabbed her tools, removed the door, and carried it to her basement studio.
Her basement studio seemed like a great place to whitewash the door. She can make all the mess she wants down there, let it dry, and put it back up by the end of the day.
Nothing too unusual to alert me to what was coming. Her basement studio seemed like a great place to whitewash the door. She can make all the mess she wants down there, let it dry, and put it back up by the end of the day.
After a week of walking past the door-less closet eight times per day, I started to get annoyed.
You see, I have this idiosyncrasy where I need all closet doors to be closed. Closets, inherently, are a visual mess. They store clothes, cleaning supplies, whatever. And I really dislike visual clutter.
After a week without a closet door on one of the higher profile closets in our home, I started to inquire about when she would be done.
“Soon,” she told me. “I have to add a few more coats and finish up a few details.”
Now, I was paying slightly more attention to what she was thinking.
A few more coats? How many coats does a whitewash need? Details? What details?
Then it dawned on me.
You could hear it dawning on me like you can hear the roar of a jumbo jet rumbling down the runway before take-off.
Unequivocally, I understood.
Without saying a word, I continued with whatever it was I had been doing when I asked my annoyed question. I didn’t want to alert her to my jumbo-jet-sized epiphany.
Within the hour, however, I was downstairs alone in her studio staring at a massive 7-foot by 3-foot diptych canvas that was once our front-hall closet door.
It was covered in a base layer of blue and yellow with white stripes running haphazardly across and bursts of white, blue and goldenrod brushstrokes clustered together across large swaths.
“Holy smokes. So that’s what she was thinking,” I reflected quietly to myself.
“What a brilliant idea,” I also thought to myself.
Being the more business-minded of the two of us my thoughts quickly moved to: “I wonder if anyone would pay her to do their closet doors?”
The fleeting thought passed and nothing has come of it (not sure it’s even occurred to her), but the closet door was put back in its place a couple of days later and really makes a statement in our front hall.
For many reasons, it’s a good thing I don’t know what artists think about. I might have shut down the idea in the first place and been deprived of this amazing piece in an unorthodox but inobtrusive location.
Come to think of it, as I retell this story, I’m remembering her mentioning recently she wanted to paint the garage door. ?
I’m not going to ask.