One piece of background information that you should probably know before trying to understand that which follows: over the weekend Mrs. Meteechart and I went apple picking at an orchard just past the uber-rich part of DC Metro Maryland.
So, here’s a thing about me and making art: I’ve long admired the manner in which woodworking sculptors and cabinet makers et al. go about their work. I hesitate to say “craft” on a blog with “art” in the title for fear of being burned by steam flowing from the ears of all the “Art as Idea as Idea” oriented among you. But… I am impressed to no end with working processes in which an artist will spend an hour contriving and setting a rig to control a table saw cut that itself only takes five seconds to complete. It’s so precise, replicable, circumvents mistakes, prevents the unanticipated removal of fingers, and reliably produces the desired result.
It is the diametric, diabolic, antithesis of “painting”.
I studied painting.
In painting, as you know, the use of a ruler to produce a straight line is a sign of unforgivable weakness.
It’s the reason wood shop managers everywhere tremble with anxiety when painting grads come down to cut stretcher bars. (Just ask one.)
Alas, let me confess: I use paint like a wood worker. I incorporate printmaking techniques. I use stencils, and a computer too. Because of the way I’ve taken to combining digital prints with paint media and because of the impossibility of fixing mistakes through the process and in the images I make, I exercise a high degree of control.
It is the reason, I know, why “Painters” don’t consider me a painter.
So, I also know what the culinarily inclined among you are thinking. “Baker”.
And I feel like maybe I should be.
But, I swear if the next pie crust I make entails anything like what I went through today, someone is going to die. It could just be me. But, I think you’d be well advised to stay out of my kitchen in case it’s not.
“Roll it out between two sheets of wax paper?” Huh…? You just make the @*&%$*&ing thing yourself then.
I suppose I also have a good idea why the cats are hiding.
And I love to cook. C-O-O-K cook. I’ll drink wine or beer while I do it and suspend myself in an hour-long delusion that I’m affluent − because I can cook well enough to turn my meager budget into food I could rarely afford in a restaurant. It’s one of a handful of skills that has made my life as an artist appear less difficult than it actually is. A pinch there. A pan toss there. Flambé if you want to frighten your wife with something that would have impressed her before you were married.
But, oh, my has one measly attempt at an apple pie made me want to break things.
So, what I’m left to ask here is, if I paint like a baker why can’t I bake like one?
It all portends ill for a guy who’s trying to make a career shift. It does.
At least, as I write, I’m consoled by the wafting aroma of baked Americana goodness − if only I had set the timer…