Polyester Flop-Sweat

Pundits say you should do one thing every day that scares you, to prevent yourself from stagnating.

Fasten your seatbelt, ’cause I’m digressing already:

I have issues with the word ‘pundit’ – my brain concatenates ‘pun’ with ‘bandit’, and I get a mental image of a chortling masked villain who barges into conversations to drop a vile pun and then flee, leaving behind shock, awe, and a punny stench.

Anyway, back to ‘doing the thing that scares you’:

I’m not up for a scare du jour, but I do think it’s good to step outside my comfort zone every now and then. So last week I started a 6-week watercolour class.

You may recall a post where I mentioned I’ve dabbled in oil painting; but I’ve never posted anything about watercolour. That’s not because I haven’t tried it. I’ve been trying it since the early ’80s. I haven’t mentioned it before because I completely suck at it.

But I’ve kept all my watercolour paints and brushes, and every decade or so, I think, “Jeez, how bad could I actually be? I should give it another try. Surely I don’t suck as badly as I remember.”

Then I try it again, and yes; yes, I do suck that badly.

So I’m doing what scares me and seizing watercolour by the brushes. With the help of the supremely talented Peggy Burkosky, I will figure it out. I hope.


But even if I don’t, I’m still getting a private giggle… because the classroom has black plastic chairs, and therein lies a story.

Back in the dark days when I had to dress up and attend excruciating business networking events, polyester pants were in style. If you’ve never worn old-school polyester pants, think ‘pant-shaped plastic bag’. Now add ‘hot summer day’. Plus ‘black plastic chairs’:

After sweating through a lengthy business presentation, I rose with relief… which was short-lived when I turned to pick up my briefcase and discovered that I’d left a butt-print clearly outlined in condensation on the black plastic seat of the chair.

I froze.

Should I just walk away, hoping the evidence would evaporate before anyone else noticed?

Or should I wipe off the chair?

But if I got caught in the act, what would I say? “Oh, ’scuse me while I clean up my sweaty butt-print. Hey, would you like one of my business cards? I’ve got them right here in my back pocket…”

Fast-forward to my first watercolour class last week. Blissfully unaware, I wore yoga pants made from spandex, which is basically a stretchy form of polyester. Fortunately the weather is cool now; but you can bet I did a quick little shimmy in my chair before standing up at the end of the class… just in case.

I won’t reveal my watercolour attempts yet; mainly because even after six hours of instruction, I still haven’t completed a painting. (And I might not ever admit that I’ve completed a painting. My crimes against art might go straight from the easel to the campfire.)

But hey, at least I’m not stagnating… unless you count the puddle of flop-sweat in my black plastic chair.

P.S. Remember those awful old polyester pants? What were we thinking?!?

32 thoughts on “Polyester Flop-Sweat

  1. My “scare du jour” equals “looking in the mirror first thing in the morning.”

    Here is my suggestion for combining watercolor art with polyester flop-sweat:
    • First, prepare a canvass by laying it on a flat surface like a bench.
    • Second, choose a bunch of watercolors and dab them generously on the canvass.
    • Third, apply butt dressed in polyester pants to said canvass.

    Voila! Instant abstract. (This method also works with oil paints.)


  2. My, oh my! What memories this week’s blog brings up. I had my share of polyester clothing nightmares too. You either are sweating to death or freezing when it is cold. I had a blouse that was polyester gaberdine. I constantly sent the wrong message to men since I was always freezing cold in that blouse. I should have worn a vest with that blouse.

    Don’t feel badly that your watercolors aren’t up to your standards, whatever that may mean. I think watercolor is the most difficult medium of all painting mediums to do well. If you utilize the Old English method of doing watercolors (using them a bit like oil paints), it’s not so difficult. I think it is because you must have bipolar skills- you must simultaniously be able to have wonderful drawing skills that include a lot of planning ahead, encyclopedic knowledge on how each color at your disposal reacts to all the other colors at various levels of wetness, and yet be able to balance all that control with an ability to let what happens happen- let ‘er rip!

    I personally have the “Throw Control to the Wind and Let ‘er Rip” in great quantity, a good knowledge of the paint handling properties of all the watercolors I’ve owned, but I don’t seem to have the genetics to PLAN AHEAD! A watercolor will be going well until I realize I needed to leave space for the white lawn chair in the picture, and where it should have gone is now dark green. I’m of the opinion that people who hold oil paintings as the most valuable painting medium in which to work should compare the difficulty level between the two. Well done watercolor paintings would suddenly become the most expensive, sought after painting medium in the world -well, except after fresco and egg tempera, perhaps.


    • Laughing over your gaberdine blouse sending the wrong message!

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one with issues planning ahead for my paintings – it makes me feel better knowing that a talented artist like you still struggles with it! Maybe there’s hope for me yet… or maybe I should just stick to oils, where I can just keep glomming paint on the canvas until it looks the way I want; and if it doesn’t turn out the way I want I can scrape it off and try again. 😉

      But I’m going to keep trying with the watercolour – I still have four more classes, so who knows? Peggy’s paintings are so luminous – if I could only capture just a tiny bit of that…


  3. I didn’t realize how much I disliked polyester until I didn’t have to wear it anymore, but I was lucky; I don’t sweat all that much except on my face. But I loved your comment about doing the shimmy before you got up from the chair at your painting class. Who says we don’t get smarter as we age? Good luck with the watercolours! It’s just a matter of time before you get it right! Well, time and lessons and practice 🙂


  4. To this day I hate polyester pants. Polyester tops are just as bad. Same sweat sticking to the back of the chair or trickling down your body to add to the butt sweat.

    I can understand the attempts at artist expression. Every few years I dig out my dyes and tools for making pysanki, Ukrainian Easter eggs. One year my mother asked why I bothered. “So I don’t forget my artistic ineptitude.”


    • Ooh, yeah; I had a few polyester tops, too. Some days I wondered if I’d have been better off just making clothes out of black plastic garbage bags. (And wouldn’t that have been a fashion statement?) 😉

      I have huge respect for you if you’ve even attempted pysanki – what an amazing art! I tried it… once. The result was not pretty. The harder I tried to make those delicate little lines, the worse my hands shook; and trying to draw on an egg’s curved surface? Nope. I just admire pysanki (and pysanki artists) from afar.


  5. Good luck with your art, I don’t really have any talent when it comes to paint unless it’s on a wall in one colour.

    I was out for lunch last week with my mum and we were having lunch in a cafe with plastic chairs, and when I got up there was the telltale patch of bumsweat, thing is these days I don’t care


  6. I’m sure your watercolours will be fine, Diane.
    The ‘water mark’ you mention, however, is far from fine and overflows excruciatingly into mortified territory. Yes… I’ve been there, done that, and wafted the chair around nonchalantly to dry it off. It seems to take an age to dry as well…


  7. Arrgh! Polyester! (Scrubs eyes and thinks, “Where did I put that barrel of brain bleach…?”)

    I tried college briefly in the early 70s. A math instructor at the junior college I attended wore BRIGHT polyester every day. But then so did most people, so that’s not really a big deal, right?

    So, fast-forward to the late 80s. I’m back in school again and studying engineering. I’d hit the wall in some part of a math class and tried the Tutoring Tapes section of the library to see if I could find some cheap help. Bingo! A whole series on video tape that would take me through the rough spots step by step! Yay! So I checked out all the videos, took them home, and plugged them into the VCR.

    Yep, that same math instructor I’d had years before IN THE SAME RED PANTS,

    Liked by 1 person

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