My Dog Ate My Homework

I paint. I’ve painted my whole life. Some people think I’m pretty good. I think I’m mediocre at best, but I enjoy doing it and that’s that.

Now that the preamble is out of the way, let me explain something to you about the creative temperament. I don’t know what it is.

Anyone who speaks about groups of people as if they’re amorphous blobs of groupthink is a fool or a liar. Every person, even if they’re not “a creative,” is unique. There are as many creative temperaments as there are people who are creative.

I just know my temperament, and it drives me up the wall when people claim that they know about “creative temperaments” because they know themselves. But I digress.

I create in fits and spurts. Sometimes I blog for 30, 60, or more days in a row. (That’s a funny story how that got started, too, and the jackass who prompted it is snickering somewhere as well.)

At one point I was on four different regularly-occurring weekly podcasts and still appearing on friends’ shows. I’ve composed in a journal every day for years, and gone months without writing a single thing.

But one thing that really keeps the momentum going is when I start experimenting with media or techniques that are outside the norm. I love to experiment and mix.

I’d started using candle wax to build a textured, layered, multi-colored abstract on canvas, just starting to see where I’d lay on the paint. I had a vision in my head and could see it clearly. I’d nurtured it along for days, seeing that vision come together in my mind’s eye.

Given that melted wax can run, I’d decided to leave it on the floor to let it dry and set. I went to bed.

The following morning, the canvas was devoid of anything but a shadow of the composition I’d been building. There were tears in the canvas, as if someone had dragged a blade or some sort of tool like a pencil across the canvas and worn holes in it. Not jabbed, but worn through in patches like denim in the 1980s.

The dog, smelling the candle wax, had decided that I must have left a treat out. That lovable dope ate it by scraping it and licking it off the canvas. The dog then made a new composition called “vomit on the carpet,” but it’s not been preserved for the art crowd.

Too experimental.

And so that beautiful vision in my mind’s eye has to be reset, and I have to soldier forward in hopes I can recapture it somehow. I’ve churned out 11 paintings in the last three months, I’m sure I’ve got the momentum to find that inspiration again.

I’m sure there’s a lesson about life in there somewhere, but all I can think is that finally I experienced one of the most clichéd moments a boy can have.

My dog at my homework.