Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Trash or Treasure

There’s one in every house, maybe it’s the laundry room or the mud room, (A curious expression used often by the Long Suffering and apparently indigenous to the North East), the hall closet or the garage, maybe you have a shed, it doesn’t matter, it is where all of the junk that should get thrown out collects.

You know it does anything to avoid a trip to the recycle center. They are nice folks at the recycle center, but the trip is one more thing in a painfully overcrowded life and you just don’t have time and it takes time away from the stuff you’d rather be doing.

And that is where the answer lies. It takes time away from the stuff you’d rather be doing. Not the stuff you ought to be doing or the stuff you were assigned to do or even the stuff you’re curious about, its stuff you rather be doing, anything but attend to chores.

So there it sits while the trash gets taken out and the house gets painted and the roof gets fixed and the car gets serviced and before you know it there’s a huge pile of stuff, most of which you don’t even recognize anymore and the Long Suffering is threatening to change your way of living with the pinking shears if you don’t get rid of all of it, right this very moment.

So you dig out the work gloves hitch up the trailer or back up the SUV and try to figure a way to load all of this cock-a-doodle-dodo.

Stop! Don’t move another muscle. You are throwing away a golden opportunity. Before you trash that trash take another look.

Ever wanted to try your hand at sculpture? There’s a lot to be said for recycled trash as a medium. Look at what Angela Pozzi has been able to do with the beach trash she collects. If you don’t know about Angela, you need to make a trip down to Bandon and the big, purple yurt and see what a creative artist can do with discarded junk.

But maybe that’s setting the bar too high? You can start smaller and have just as much fun, avoid a trip to the recycle center and get the Long Suffering off your back all at the same time and while you are at it make some cute and saleable stuff out of all of the free junk.

Yeah I said free. You were just going to take it to the recycle center or try to pass it off at Goodwill or the Salvation Army, you know you were and it hurts your soul to lie to folks trying their best to do good with your cast offs so why not just save the sin for something important and use the junk?

I have on my desk a crane made from a pulley, hook and some bent spoons for feet. My pal the Good Doctor made it when he wasn’t doctoring the hurt heads of the over-stressed worker bees in the big hive of Dallas. Now if a Doctor person can be that creative or you saying you can’t find something in that pile of trash that would work with just a bit of effort?

Like this which came around a box of Neiman Marcus tea cakes, whcih are not on my meal plan but I ate them anyway and then noticed the box and said, "By gad! I think I've got it!"
But you aren’t a sculpture, you’re a painter. So paint. Junk piles make a good still life and if they happen to have some interesting background stuff that’s all to the good.

Every weekend in this depression burdened land there are garage sales. People trying to sell off enough of their household goods to make the next week’s grocery bill, no, I don’t think you should add to the pile at home by buying their junk although if you see something that might come up later you might just want to whip out the phone and snap a picture of it. Don’t even go there, every phone in this country has at least a camera and most of them can wash your car, compete on American Idol and whistle Dixie or some less controversial tune.

There is no excuse with a camera in every hand just there in your phone, when you see something good; you ought to have a picture. And to prove my point Shutterbug magazine has a monthly item called Picture This!


This is last month’s but some of the images are beyond beautiful and they are ordinary objects made breathtaking by a clever cameraperson.

This month the assignment is At The Flea Market. Now I know that that junk room isn’t really a flea market, but there are images to be had from a pile of junk which can look a lot like the piles of treasures at a flea market, and you know where one of those piles is, right?

This one came from a wonderful day I spent with the Charleston plein air painters at the boatyard. I found this cable head lying in the grass and trust me it isn’t a flea market item but it will be going to Shutterbug for the Picture This page. They probably won’t choose it, so what else is new? But they might and that’s what it is all about, finding new and exciting images which with the right audience will get your name and work out there.

Or would you rather just wait for the flowers to come in this spring so you’ll have something pretty to paint?

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