Monday, July 5, 2010

The Yellow Wall

"The Yellow Wall", c 2010, Sukie Curtis, acrylic on sheetrock

A few days ago I started to beautify a really gross, never-been-painted sheetrock wall inside our garage, one that we and visitors to our house pass by numerous times a day going in and out our back door. From the start I decided that I wasn't going to worry about the "rules" of proper wall-painting (things like taping and "mudding" over the sheetrock seams, for example). Since it was just a wall in our garage, and since it was seriously grubby, stained, gross, and ugly, I felt totally exempt from having to do things really well, because no matter what I did, it was going to look better than it had.  A perfect project--no fail!

I did scrub the wall, twice even, and primed it--even that was a huge step in the direction of attractiveness. I added bits of sample yellow paints to the primer to tint the wall so that I might need fewer coats of paint. And it worked.

So first there was a somewhat mottled yellow wall of various hues. Then I decided on which of the yellows I liked the best for the primary color and got a pint sample made. It was way more than enough to cover the wall, so now I'm looking around for something else that wants to be yellow!.

When I first dipped the roller in the pan of yellow paint (Benjamin Moore's "Amarillo") and started to roll it on, I felt a surge of elation! It was so much fun spreading that deliciously happy color on the gross garage wall. I found myself imagining being a therapist recommending yellow paint as a cure for melancholia, and a shrink taking out her script pad and actually writing out Benjamin Moore "Amarillo" ("Sunshine" would work well too, and "Yellow Rain Coat," and ...), perhaps even with the pigment codes. Finding a grubby old wall might have to be part of the prescribed therapy, too.

The second day I painted on some large and small rectangles of other colors, adapting a design I had seen in a book but not really feeling excited about what it looked like. Plus I didn't really know why I was copying someone else's design rather than trusting myself to come up with one that I liked. So day two ended with me feeling not so excited and elated about my yellow wall project, and day three I didn't try to do any more to it. I suppose it was something of a furlough day. I did think off and on about painting over the rectangles from the day before--reverting to solid yellow.

Yesterday, being the Fourth of July, I opted out of some of our neighborhood's traditional Independence Day activities and chose instead to stay home and paint. I wasn't sure if I was going to paint the yellow wall or a smaller painting on canvas. But when I found myself alone in the house, the wall beckoned. The wall and a small flower arrangement that David and I had bought at the Farmers Market on Saturday.

With a combination of impish delight and a noticeable confidence in my drawing abilities (as if all the sketch book drawing I've done has led me to feel pretty "sure-footed" with a drawing implement--at least when I'm in the right frame of mind), I took out one of the new Sharpies I bought recently.

"I can draw on the wall with a Sharpie, a permanent marker!" I noted to myself. (And I could have added, "And there's no one to tell me not to!"

I don't remember if I ever drew on a wall when I was little. I think I did some unauthorized scribbling in books, but walls? I doubt it. To take out a permanent marker with the clear intention of drawing on a wall gave me another burst of delightful energy! Like a second childhood, or the childhood I never dared to have!

I held the vase of flowers in my left hand and drew quickly with my right hand--not every single stem and leaf and bloom in the arrangement, but enough to give the sense of a bunch of flowers. Sometimes the lines were mere squiggles, not really flower-shaped at all, but I could feel the flowers, leaves, and stems none the less.

When I'd finished drawing, I took a short break, then returned with colors of paint and some smaller brushes to jazz things up a bit more. I stopped when I felt I was finished (and I might do one or two small things, but for the most part, I do think I was finished yesterday). So I took up the blue Sharpie again and signed my name (deliberately largely) and dated the wall, July 4, 2010.

I had such fun, I think I'm ready to do another wall.


Anonymous said...

How wonderful - both the process and the result! Thanks for writing about it.

Meredith said...

Such fun! Kind of like the Sock Lady's socks. Lots of color; nothing matches, or at least HAS to match. I too have a yellow room in my FL home and love it! Such a cheerful yellow makes me happy every time I go into or leave that room.

Yellow rules!

Jan said...

I love it! I think it will be especially wonderful in winter.

Janice said...

Wow,I love this wall, it looks so fun!