I have a dysfunctional relationship with words. I’m infatuated… or maybe even obsessed. I love words without reason or reservation. I’m delighted to spend all day with them: hour after hour of reading or writing; placing and replacing and tweaking them until they’re arranged in a way that delights my soul.
And in return, they fail me. Over and over.
The little bastards got me again this week. I’ve joined an art group to force myself to make time for activities other than reading or writing; so every Friday afternoon I take my watercolour paints down to the group studio for yet another three hours of humiliation.
I don’t know why I’m so determined to paint in watercolour. I suck at it. In oils and acrylics I’m actually capable of producing something that resembles art, but my watercolours always resemble shit. Maybe I just have psychological issues that impel me to seek out destructive relationships.
Fortunately, I paint with a wonderful group. Everyone is supportive, tactful, and happy to help a poor beginner any way they can; lending materials and advice and encouragement in equal measure. And they all have a great sense of humour.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with frisket – a substance that goes onto the paper as a liquid but dries to a rubbery waterproof coating. It’s used to mask out sections of a painting before applying colour, so that when it’s removed the background colour is revealed. But it turns my brush into a rubbery pellet no matter how assiduously I rinse, so Hubby bought me a set of silicone brush-like tools instead.
The new tools work wonderfully. So, pleased to be able to offer something to the rest of the group instead of always being on the receiving end of their generosity, I showed off my new acquisitions last Friday.
We were standing around talking about the tools, and I explained that I’d been looking for a way to mask fine lines. But when I turned back to demonstrate, the fine-line tool wasn’t on my table. I glanced around the group of women chatting beside me and spotted one of them holding the tool I had in mind.
I didn’t want to interrupt their conversation, so I held out my hand.
She didn’t seem to get my meaning, so I wiggled my fingers. A faint wrinkle appeared between her brows. I wiggled my fingers some more, miming holding a brush between them.
She drew back a step, beginning to look concerned.
At that point all conversations ceased while everybody took in the sight of me apparently making pinching motions in the general direction of another woman’s boob.
When I finally managed to sputter, “My brush…” and point at her hand, a roar of laughter nearly raised the roof.
“Use your words, Diane,” another woman prompted, still giggling. “You’re a writer. You can do this. Use your words.”
Well, I would have… but as usual, the little buggers skipped out on me when I needed them the most.
I wonder if there’s such a thing as lexical relationship counselling…?