Home > Shellie Lewis' Art, Uncategorized > The Bane of My Existence

The Bane of My Existence

July 6, 2010

While I paint, I am tormented.

Tormented by stuff that wants to get stuck in my paint while I’m working.

Sometimes it’s some mysterious fuzz or flecks of dust.  If I’m outdoors, it will be suicidal bugs that feel compelled to fly into wet paint, embed themselves and die.  But the true bane of my existence is shedding.

I adopted three large, slobbering dogs, and I love them dearly.  I just hate the shedding.  No amount of sweeping, vacuuming, brushing or cursing has ameliorated this problem.  Worse, I don’t have a snappy one-stop solution for it, although I have considered wrapping my dogs in plastic sheeting with duct tape.  My boyfriend would like it if they could be vacuumed, but I keep assuring him this would cause a violent level of panic and rebellion.

What I really need is an extra room to store my art in and to work in, but keep them out of; maybe put up a baby gate so I can see them but keep their furry hides on one side of.  I don’t have the space to do that now; I have studio space wedged into the corner of my living room.  I had to stop working for about two hours today and collect the paintings I have done since May, clean them off and wrap them in plastic because I noticed they were collecting fur.  If I were more studious, I would vacuum daily and at least hope that would help, but I suspect I can never get ahead of the multitude of hairs.

So I use my nails or the reverse end of a paintbrush, the edge of a napkin or paper towel, and continually try to keep the hairs out of my paint.  I have painted over hairs that were stuck in deeply.  I have let very fine ones alone until the paint dries then lightly scrape them away.  And I swear at these annoying fur tidbits, profoundly.

Now I look closely at works in galleries, at expos and in museums.  I have found a surprising number of hairs, sometimes long human ones, stuck in the painting’s surface.  (HA!  There’s a huge hair stuck in it!)  At least I know I’m not alone in my troubles.

When painting, I get out what hairs I can now, and try to be Zen and let the ones that I miss go.  Maybe in the future, art historians will be able to laser or MRI test the DNA of the hairs in the paint, match them to the DNA profiles of the dogs I have owned in my life time and affirm a painting as being authentically mine and not a fake.  Or I may win the lottery, hire housekeepers and buy an army of Roombas.  Or maybe I really need to vacuum every single day, but I really want the army of Roombas more.


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