Bruce Katlin Creates And The Running Artist

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hurry Up and Watch The Paint Dry!

When I was a house painter working for contractors I was berated for not painting fast enough. Commercial painters need to move fast in order to make a profit. I was a good painter as far as quality went but not speed. Some foreman was always yelling at me, "Katlin! Hurry it up! Stop watching the paint!"  It's not that I wasn't capable of getting a job done quickly, but I couldn't help be connected to the paint, brush and surface; I liked to watch the brush dip into the bucket and the sound it made when it touched the painting surface. I was fascinated with how the brush created its own works of art with its thousands of tiny thin hairs running back and forth across endless shingles, doors and window frames. 

Needless to say, I didn't work long with the commercial painters but got a great reputation for doing extraordinary quality work for my own customers when I started my own business. People were willing to pay more even if it meant that I was camped out at their homes for extended periods of time. But there's no better feeling than standing back, looking at and taking pride in your work while appreciating all the materials both seen and unseen that went into the final project. 

Yesterday, I started a new woodcarving project and I was fascinated by the pieces that were carved away in order to create the deign. As curls and pieces of pine fell to the floor I couldn't help notice their own beauty and decided to collect them and keep them; each one its own finished work of art; together another, and after today's carving session more will be added to the collection. 

Art, the 'finished piece' is not just what lies between the frame, it's in everything: pencil shavings, eraser shreds, dried splats of colors atop a palette, rusted nails. I'm as excited today to carve away more pine as I am to see what sails to the floor in an unintended but perfectly executed work of Art.