Mike is an awesome painter. He is also a great practical joker. Getting one-up on him isn't easy, either. As is typical for practical jokers, once you DO find a way to get even, it just opens the door for more.
His palette is holy. Sacred. He he he. Yeah.
I find bags of used paint rags on the front seat of my truck. A cememt Budda that I had sitting in the bed, on its way to my garden, became a hood ornament. A snowball in my hoodie. Like that.
We are painting near a boat launch. The rental row-boats are all stacked neatly, piles of life preservers at the ready, weathered oars. Some paddle boats. Lots of sailboats. A sunny Saturday. The light is playing with all these images.
Everyone is complaining about the goose shit. The piles are like gooshey Tootsie Rolls, scattered all over the grass and sidewalks like a sickening Easter Egg Hunt gone horribly awry. Finding a safe place to put an easel, without coating the bottoms of our shoes is almost impossible.
Like the troopers we are, we endure. It doesn't stop the whining, but we deal with it. Jokes are made. Recipes for goose dinners are discussed. How to dress a goose, if anyone would miss one, egg shaking, poisoning them with bad things, how nasty they are if you try to chase them, if snapping turtles really eat the goslings while they swim, what to do with the feathers, what part of the goose would have the softest down for our pillows.... Nothing remotely nostalgic about how, once upon a time, they were rare things to see. Mostly a lot of pondering about how if you were to kill, cook, and eat one in front of all their Canada Goose buddies, that perhaps it would serve as an example to the rest of them. Like that.
My painting is turning out good. Tammy does a loose portrait of me with the last of her paints. I look like Michael Jackson. We are singing "Thriller" and doing the dance moves from the video. Mike says something Mike-ish. My favorite is when he looks at my painting and tells me: Don't Fuck It Up. This is a real compliment, I get excited that I'm on to something decent - a few more brush strokes! I'll be done.
I look at his painting while he's away from his easel. It looks beautiful. Mike's stuff is consistently awesome. I look down at the goose shit, and notice it looks like Burnt Umber. I notice the paint on Mike's palette is very organized. The colors have that toothpaste-tube look to it. Perfectly squeezed lines on a perfect palette, under a perfect painting. Looks like he's a little short on Burnt Umber.
It took Mike ten minutes to find out. It was such a perfect color match.
He he he.