When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Paint in the Kitchen

How Deep Is the Ocean?
©2019, Molly Larson Cook
8 x 22
Acrylic on canvas


My studio closed this week when someone in the building became exposed to the terror sweeping the world.  Nobody wanted to take chances, so we all packed up and headed home – me, the tech guys down the hall, the marriage counselor next door, and the nonprofit at the other end of the hall.

I filled a bag with tubes of paint and tools and grabbed some unfinished canvases in the event I could figure out where in our smallish townhouse I might paint.  “Not painting” was not a good possibility.  Everybody’s looking for things to do during the lockdown to keep themselves sane and away from the media as much as possible.  Painting is my ultimate “staying sane” answer, but our rooms in the townhouse are pretty full.

Fortunately, my SO is an avid fisherman and is able to continue that these days (following all the rules), so while he was gone one morning, I commandeered the kitchen counter which turned out to be pretty darned good for my purposes.  It’s just the right height (I work standing up), there’s room for my tubes and tools, and the cookies are very handy!  Writing and painting make me hungry.

So I’ve now finished one of the canvases (above) and have two getting close.  I’m not used to stashing everything away every day, but a small price to pay.

And isn’t problem-solving exactly what art is about?  What any creative activity is about?  If there were no problems, it wouldn’t be creativity.  Which word do I want here?  What’s the right next note?   Should my left foot move here or here?  What feather do I want for this fish fly? How can I play this character?  What color do I need in this painting?  What are the proportions I want for this wooden cabinet?  Does E really equal mc²? The list of creative problems is thankfully long.

Painting on the kitchen counter is not the most elegant solution, but I can think of worse.

One day things may get back to the way they were before the pandemic.  Every day there’s more evidence  against that.  We may all be making surprising adjustments. But in the meantime, I have one new and useful solution and I’m holding on to that for now.  If I can figure out a way to paint on the kitchen counter, the sky just really might be the limit.

If we wait for every circumstance to be right, we might wait a long time and all the while life is slipping away.  John Kenneth Galbraith, an economist had this to say thirty years ago or so, and it’s darned good advice for artists as well as economists:

“Do not wait for the golden moment. It may well be worse.”

Create your art where you can, when you can, with whatever tools you have at hand.  A kitchen counter can be a wonderful thing.

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