It’s been a few times now that I’ve witnessed my friend Patty create beautiful art rather quickly, and unexpectedly, and in front of a room full of people. And every single time there is a moment I have to turn away because I think she is wrecking her own creation.
There she is, set up in the corner of the room. She bends, reaches, sways, hops from foot to foot, smacks the canvas with her gloved hand or her brushes, sprays water, pushes paint around with her hands and rubs and blurs hard edges. Often there is live music and speakers and dancers. Patty is set up with an easel, canvas, paints and brushes and the task to create live art. Her hair is pinned up, and her glasses slide down her nose. Her black smock is splattered and gorgeous and a little bit oversized, what every artist should wear.
This last time she began by smearing her pure white canvas with a muddy brown that made me wonder what she was up to. It was a Simpsons Sears sweater colour, from grade 3. It was the shade of terrible haircuts, and recess after it became awkward. It was just the bleak base though, everything else was built on top of that. She added blues and greens and oranges, and things looked up. She kept adding and swirling and doing that thumping thing with her palm. Trees emerged out of purple fog. Then they were gone again. I looked away. I questioned her judgement. There was a pathway, and sun. The trees were back, better. Relief. I thought of her paintings hanging on our own walls, and how beautiful they are. I remembered the art I’ve seen her do before, those complete and lovely stories and I trusted her all over again.