The Do-It-Yourself ApproachPosted: September 4, 2008
I’m a creature of habit. What this means is I usually opt for convenience and routine over bouts of spontaneity, but yesterday the stingy pragmatist in me rose up from the ranks and decided to have her say.
As luck would have it, the planets were aligned because just as the cheaper-than-yo mama in me emerged so did the fearless, driven risk-taker. The result? A rather extensive art project.
Ok, so perhaps “extensive” is an exaggeration of sorts. For months, I’ve been meaning to frame two of my brother-in-law’s paintings. It’s a task that’s been haunting and nagging on me to the point that one of the paintings has been rolled up a tube in the trunk of my car for at least 6 months now. My obstinance is blinding at times. And did I mention counter-productive?
So with my two paintings, one rolled up to the point of no hope of ever reclaiming its straightness, I walked into the custom framing shop, with every intention of just picking out a suitable frame, dropping off the paintings and getting back to some of my “pro-bono” writing assignments. They are pro-bono in much the same way, I’m “between gigs” at the moment…
Only when the lady behind the counter started estimating the cost of the paintings if the store framed it versus me framing it in the shop myself and telling me how easy it was to frame it myself, I got to thinking that maybe I might try my hand at it.
Sure, I’d never framed a painting before, but I’d put a photograph in a pre-assembled frame so how much harder could this be? Also, despite all my protests and all the way I tried to talk myself out of it, I didn’t have anywhere I really needed to be.
So off I went to make art. Thankfully one of the dudes who worked there guided me through my first painting. I was also working with metal and I was told metal was “idiot-proof,” but the litmus test (according to the store’s owner) for my imminent success as a framer was whether or not I could chew gum and walk at the same time. Or so he said. Since I could chew gum and talk at the same time, I figured I was adept enough at multi-tasking to take this on. So naturally, I turned to the owner and replied in my ever so confident tone, “Is it really idiot-proof?”
I knew the helpful dude was only a shout away if I needed assistance on the second painting. Only I didn’t. I mean I did here and there. And while I futzed around a bit cause I don’t always retain info as well as I’d like the first time around, and I sweated in the hot studio, when I was done with the second painting I felt like I’d actually done good work and was filled with pride.
It wasn’t so much that now I had two beautifully framed paintings. It was because I’d put myself in an unfamiliar situation where I inevitably set myself up to fail at something, only to succeed in spite of all my angst and concerns.
When I left the shop, the store’s owner turned to me carrying the two paintings and attempting to open the door and chew gum and walk at the same time and said, “You sure you can carry the paintings and open the door and chew gum at the same time?” And I smiled back ruefully replying, “Sure can, sir.”
When I got home I was able to harness this fearless energy into creating what I consider pretty damn spanking good copy. All because I opted for a diversion in my day and sought out the road less taken (at least by me, that is). And maybe, just maybe the next time I’m ready to jump the gun and say, “No, I can’t” to something different maybe I’ll think twice.
Maybe I’m not so
helphopeless after all.