Today I did my laundry.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to visit a laundry mat. Even though it’s a hassle, I was reminded of some its simple pleasures.  I feel there are few places in the world where I can sit and not think about anything, or just simply observe the moment.  On that list are subways, trains, train stations, air ports and laundry mats. There’s something about these places that allows me to relax because I’m given a set amount of time that I have to wait.  So today, while in the laundry mat I brought a book, but I didn’t get very far reading.  A mother with two children came in to do their laundry and I started watching the kids. They were brother and sister.  The girl, who was three kept coming over to me to talk, show me her ballet moves, and to tell me how fast and strong she was.  At one point she went back to her mother and said “I’m going to go be with my man” and then came back to tell me that there were letters and numbers in the book I was reading.  She also introduced me to her younger brother, who was probably only a little over a year old, and had me shake his hand.  They were both pretty adorable. Soft, blond heads.  I like kids, but feel a little bit terrified of the prospects of being a parent.  It just seems frightening that they change so quickly, that you have to let them change, and then they leave your world.

I got in a fight with my mother today on the phone – a difference of opinion I guess… perhaps it’s more than that.  Anyway, I think about my family and I can’t understand why they seem to be the only people, out of everyone I know, whom I end up fighting with. I look at the children playing happily in the laundry mat and think that used to be me and my little brother when my mom would take us to the park.  Today my brother and I barely speak to each other, and although I know this row between my mother and I will heal over, I don’t understand why it has to escalate to such moments.

I started some fresh paintings recently.  My friend Giordanne Salley and I were talking and agreed how nice it is to start new paintings.  I go for a long time reworking old canvases and forget how open and free a clean surface can feel.  I’ve been using an oil ground which makes the surface very smooth and slick, it makes it very easy and enjoyable to move the paint around.  These two images are of a piece I’ve been working on over a couple of painting sessions.  I think it’s interesting to show how it progresses.

It’s hard to believe that this residency is more than half way over.  The good news is that they offered me a job so I’ll be staying here through the summer and should be able to get a lot of new work done in that time. Right now I have about fifteen new paintings in the works, and am feeling very productive and excited about what I’m working on.

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3 Responses to Laundry

  1. Jennifer V says:

    Dear Austin,
    Nice to read about your experiences and thoughts. Families can have interesting and strange dynamics, ALL families. We love them but sometimes can’t stand them. I often wonder if the reason I strongly disagree or get emotional
    with a family member is because I have something in myself I need to resolve. I know you will always do well in your life. Love, Jennifer.

  2. Congratulations on the job, Austin! These paintings you’ve been working on are great. Glad you can keep going in the same space.

  3. Pingback: Laundry | Kids say :

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