The Last Brush Stroke

Sunlight-changes-softly-webLaureen Marchand, “Sunlight Changes Everything: Softly” (oil/board)

The last brush stroke on the last painting headed for an exhibition of my newest work. 27 hours before the exhibition opens. The gallery hosting the exhibition is 390 km/235 miles from here. You can’t ask for finer cutting than that.

In January of this year I began an association with the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, SK. I’m really happy with it. Late that month the gallery invited me to participate in an exhibition that will introduce three artists newly represented there, of which I’m one. Also happy. Welcoming BIGOUDI, MIKE KEEPNESS, and LAUREEN MARCHAND. New Artists, New Work. The exhibition invitation is lovely.

assiniboia-invite-apr-2015Then there was the making of the work. Three months for six new pieces. Shouldn’t be that hard.

The first paintings were so slow. A new light, a new colour, a different look at my subject. Sometimes I’d spend three days painting a leaf. Eventually it got a little faster. I waited for easier to arrive as well. It didn’t.

This is an odd job. You’re your own boss. No one to report to. No one to tell you when you’re doing it right, either. Or wrong. Or how to do it better. You set your own hours. Lots of them. You conceptualize, produce, construct, manage, plan, promote, cook the meals and wash the bottles. You make things that never existed before, on deadline. You never for a minute feel like you know how.

Eventually, and maybe inevitably, given the long shifts you’re working and the isolation that goes with them, you lose perspective. Perhaps a little madness sets in. You feel alone in a strange land. Lost. Even frightened. Sometimes you feel as though you must be missing a layer of skin. You wish for understanding. Help. Something to make this end. You could stop, I guess. But you promised, and your word is all you are.

Then, all of a sudden, you’re done. The last brush stroke on the last painting, 27 hours before the exhibition opens. I can’t tell you how different I feel. It was immediate. I’m in love with the light on my dusty house, the stray cats in the street, everyone I know. The tiredness that’s been dragging along with me for three weeks? Gone. Uncertainty? Gone. Who was that crazy person? She’s gone too.

The sunny, sane person who has taken her place, even if just until next time, is going to a party. Friday, April 24, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan. Won’t you join me there if you can?

New Artists, New Work, at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, opening April 24. I’ll be there for the reception. Please do drop by and say hello!

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4 Responses to The Last Brush Stroke

  1. Stede Bar April 24, 2015 at 8:03 am #

    SO BEAUTIFULLY SAID! Congratulations, may the beauty that has poured out of you touch and lift others…and your paintings move out to grace homes and lives with all the heart you’ve poured into them. Enjoy!

    • Laureen April 24, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      What a wonderful blessing. Thank you so much.

  2. Penelope Marshall April 24, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    Laureen, enjoy your party you deserve it after all those hours of work. Where is the Assiniboia Gallery located now? Wish I could join you!

  3. Laureen April 25, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    Thank you so much for the good wishes. Very much appreciated. The Assiniboia Gallery is in a beautifully restored old home at 2220 Smith Street in Regina. And it was a great party! The gallery did such a lovely job of hanging the work, and so many great people were there. Worth every minute 🙂