OCAD: Based on “Girl”, By Jamaica Kincaid

Wash your brushes immediately and put them to dry hanging upside down; wash the acrylic ones separately and never mix them with oils; don’t leave your paintings to dry in the hot sun; they’ll cook and crack; wash your palettes as soon as you’re done using them; when buying yourself an apron, be sure that you don’t spend too much money on it, because that way you won’t feel guilty when you spill wax and paint all over; prime your canvases overnight before you paint on them; is it true that you sing while you paint?; always eat  your food before you start painting; don’t want toxics inside there; on Sundays take a break, unbend and spend some time with your family; don’t sing while you work; don’t need to socialize so much, not even on Sundays; don’t eat outside so much to avoid the snotty slacker that you’re becoming– you’re wasting good money; but I barely ever get time to socialize and never on Sundays; this is how to build a stretcher; this is how to stretch a canvas on the stretcher you have just built; this is how to use an easel when you’re painting something too large and don’t want to be spread out all over the floor, painting like the stuck-up artist you are fast becoming; this is how you keep an agenda so your schedule runs smoothly; this is how to keep an agenda so that you have enough time left over for me; this is how you make egg tempera – store it in the fridge, because the eggs will rot outside and make the entire house stink; when you are doing encaustics, make sure there is plenty of ventilation otherwise the beeswax will make the entire house stink; this is how to sculpt a pot; this is how to sculpt a whole face; this is how to sculpt a body; this is how you smile to a professor you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to a professor you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to a professor you like completely; this is how you set a work on display; this is how to behave in front of figure painting models who you’re unable to look at very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the lazy I’m-too-pure-for-this I have warned you against becoming; be sure to wash every day; the smell of your paint is better than the smell of your sweat; don’t squat down to photograph shoes; you are not a street person you know; don’t look at too many flowers – they can make your work boring; don’t throw stones to hear the pattern of sound they make; you waste too much time day dreaming; this is how to knead red clay; this is how to knead white clay; this is how to start up a kiln; this is how to get the maximum amount of work done in the minimum amount of time; this is how to save a painting before it becomes an inconceivable mess; this is how to treat old rags; this is how to burn old rags; and that way your room won’t look dirtier than it is already; this is how to control your work; and this is how your grades control you; this is how to love what you do; and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad about giving up; this is how to splash paint in the studio if you feel like it; and this is how to move quick so no one finds out that the mess has been made by you; this is how to make old supplies last; this is how to squeeze out each thumbnail for more ideas and mistakes to make sure your painting turns out looking unclogged and fresh; but what if I like the thumbnails and don’t find anything to ‘squeeze out’?; you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of artist who thinks everything that comes out of her snot is becoming?


Published on: May 3, 2011

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