Painting Is Life

We were at the painting stage on Saturday. Or, at least, so I thought. I figured I could get a few hours in and get a head start on Monday.

It didn’t work out that way. When I took a closer look, I realized that I had a lot of work to do before I could start painting. The walls, for example, had been spray painted. While they looked smooth, they were actually rough.

Really rough. I mean, they need to have something for the top coat to bite into, but they shouldn’t be so rough that your shirt snags on it if you walk too close. So, out came the sanding pole, and I sanded all the walls down.

While I was sanding, I noticed that there were a few gouges that had developed. A few nicks. A couple of blemishes. So I grabbed the spackle and set about making the holes disappear.

I never did get around to painting, that day.

A few days ago, somebody came to spray texture on the ceiling. He came in in the morning. It was quiet for a number of hours. When I went down to see how things were going, the guy (the texturizer?) said that he had almost taped everything off and covered everything up. He was almost ready to spray.

It took him about an hour to spray the whole ceiling. About a third of the time it took to prepare everything.

Isn’t that how it goes? Once the paint is on, people will either not notice it or say how nice it looks. Likely, people won’t even notice that the ceiling is texturized, although they might notice if it isn’t.

People generally just see the finished product. They really have no idea how much blood, sweat, tears and time went into something.

There’s a story about Picasso. You know, the painter dude who was on acid. Or whatever caused him to see the world the way he did.

The story goes that he was sitting in a restaurant when a fan of his work recognized him.

“Won’t you please draw me a picture?” she asked.

Picasso grabbed his pencil and sketched something on the back of a napkin. He handed it over to the woman. After she had oohed and aahed, she said, “Oh, I insist that I pay you for it. How much would you charge me?”

Picasso said, “$50,000”.

The woman was shocked. “But it only took you five minutes to create it,” she said.

“No,” said Picasso. “40 years and five minutes.”

You know that people have no idea what goes on under the surface of what you do or who you are. Artists spend thousands of hours, learning how to mix paints just so, learning a quicker and better way to move from chord to chord, or learning a new trick to get the finish on a freshly built armoire to pop.

I say artists, but I mean it in the way we are all artists when we create. We work like crazy. We put in hours of thankless work. Work that no one but us – and the ones that love us – knows about.

We do it because we know that the finished product requires it. If we want to do our best work, we need to put in the time and effort.

If we do, no one notices. If we don’t, though, everyone notices. And not in a nice way. No, it’s not fair, but it is the way it is.

In the end, we get to choose. We decide. Do we take shortcuts and have our work suffer? Or do we put in the thankless hours and create the very best we can at that moment?

I think I know your answer.

Keep working, my friends.

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