How to Paint

I can see clearly now...

W.O.Mitchell a narcissist who taught me my fav art-making technique, cloned a daughter, Willa, after estranging his two sons probably with the typical chaos and no-win situations narcissists love. Think of Donald Trump with a typewriter. He yelled ALL the time. Sound and fury.

I helped the abused helpless wife Myrna do the family taxes, I was 12. Willa adopted me in junior high, she was always taking home strays trying to win her Dad’s affection by virtue signalling. He hated me, he thought I was poking his kid. Myrna! Look at what the boy has done now! Later in life, John Eastland spoke to me the same way when he discovered his wife was also participating in their open relationship. He seduced everyone, even his son’s girlfriend. Nancy his wife was pregnant and he said to abort Jerald’s kid or he was throwing her out. So she did. He recently died and the world is a better place.

The Welfare had sent me to the rich kid’s school because I was smart, broken and abandoned. The drunken tradesman’s abused kids at the working-class school were stalking me and beating me so that I was terrorized and didn’t leave the house. Sort of like the strategy of Twitter conservative bots these days.

Seriously depressed from abuse at school and abandonment at home, I failed a grade, straight A’s to straight D’s, the school reported this to The Welfare which made my widowed often hospitalized Mom move houses. I had got her in trouble with The Welfare, more guilt and shame. But along with depression, I was becoming disillusioned and hard, I seriously didn’t give a fuck, I only existed to pump her welfare income. It was around then that she taught me to roll my own cigarettes as I was ‘stealing’ her tailor-made smokes. The only life skill she passed on to me. Lung cancer.

At the new school, we became buddies Willa and me. Being an extrovert she got me out of the house, and I worshipped her for her talent with voice and keyboard. I helped her finish projects because like her Dad she was a narcissist, always lying, therefore, overvaluing me initially so that I was smitten and when she couldn’t finish anything, she got bored and moved on. So she used me to get through school.

We were having coffee at Barney Google’s ice cream parlour across from our high school, I played guitar there in a 12 bar blues band and Willa sang, where I was struggling to write a research paper, which no one had ever taught me how to do, conservative schools prefer maths and science. I loath being a calculator. “Oh. That’s easy, just write the way you talk, that’s what my Dad always says.” University-level advice on being creative. Right there with my banana split. Well, nobody is all bad.

A few years later she developed an interest in screwing everything in pants and took a run at me, the romance flowers one true love kind of guy, and I rejected her premise. She never spoke to me again putting me in the undervalue dump and smear part of the narcissist cycle. I was devastated at the loss of my friend, it was all a lie.

I had been volunteering at the Drug Crisis Centre living in a lonely room and board on a student loan after quitting my useless high school, and attending college when the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission which ran the volunteers, offered me a job and training to work with street kids. They trained me in spotting narcissist sociopaths and to use REBT to manage my mental health and teach others to do the same. I eventually ended up working at the prison with inmates similar to the conservatives’ kids that used to terrorize me for amusement. Hence when Willa cycled back into my life in our small town all the fire alarms went off in my head. Her overvalue seduction was convincing but I smelled a rat. I left her half-naked and horny, I wanted to think about this. It was like being pressured to buy a used car when you know deep down this is a clunker.

I once did my Myers Briggs thingy, a hundred questions about my preferences, classifying me as an INFJ, the rarest of all types, same as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa which is odd for an atheist like me but at one time I was cult recruited when vulnerable, so I see the draw.

They say INFJ’s like to have someone to write to, which is true in my case. I write to me. I crack myself up telling my most intimate secrets to myself, writing the way I talk in my head to me ever since I became healthy, my best friend. When I was dependant on others to accept me because I had been programmed with conditions on my acceptance of self, of others and of the universe, and most people I am sad to report are self-serving charming used car salesmen, conning me out of my resources for their benefit, I was left lonely broke anxious and hostile. A self-made clunker.

Once I got healthy and started to like myself, a process that took years, disputing one cognitive distortion after another, it seemed endless, with rational responses, I really started to enjoy my life and my process in art.

I was programmed to think I was a failure in visual art because the painting had to be representational, hard-edged and a perfect replica of the thing I was trying to paint. Hitler had the same distortion, a typical distortion of perfectionists. His art school threw him out. Mine did the same, only 100 of us graduated in all areas combined out of 800 first-year applicants.
Debra, my first painting major prof actually hit me. I was struggling to do a portrait from a photo in my first professional studio at art school, and it was not very good. It was my first professional crit and I was anxious as hell as I was painting garbage. As she didn’t hesitate to point out. “What about that stuff on the floor?” I had painted a bunch of 2-minute abstract compositions exploring line, shape, tone, colour, and rhythm in a design class. “oh that, that’s easy, just fucking around” That’s when she hit me. Hard. “When it’s easy it’s called a talent, you idiot.” So I got to stay in art school.

Turns out almost nobody has talent in areas they admire, “I really want to be a realist figure painter but I don’t HAVE to.” Especially when your genius, such as it is, is laying in other areas. It’s the therapy of art therapy. Dr. David Burns in his book Feeling Good talks about the studies at Stanford that show when a person says I highly prefer to have what I demand but I don’t have to, the brain chemistry changes with as much effect as Prozac. Talk therapy. Artists have been training each other for centuries with this.

So I gradually began to accept myself in art school without that condition of ‘perfection’. I mean, it’s insanity, since it doesn’t exist so I learned to chuck that perfectionist art concept in the art garbage and focus on my satisfaction instead. Years later when my dying wife threw me out of our home, a decision applauded by her ultra-conservative farmer father who owned the house, her brain turned into hamburger by Huntington’s disease, I read Albert Ellis, the Myth of Self Esteem. Not surprisingly it said the same thing, throw the perfectionist notion of self-esteem in the garbage and focus on creating satisfaction instead. I must have a healthy wife and a house and a studio or I’m no good = a lot of non-stop pain largely self-created or I could do as Wassily Kandinsky did, sit in your micro 1 bedroom apartment and create unconditionally, works that bring huge satisfaction. He changed the entire art world by doing just exactly that. Oh.

So I created a method of teaching painting called Painting From Start to Finish in 45 Minutes. I marketed it to art school and the University and began to teach it. I mean those drawn to painting are impatient to start with, we just are. Those that like long process do something else.

Paint, if you fuck with it, turns to overworked mud really quick. So if you paint for more than 45 min you just created expensive garbage as you need to use highly pigmented artist quality paint or you create mud in like 5 min. If you paint over what you just did because you are hoping by some magic, you became a genius in the last few minutes and you did, fine, otherwise, you made more expensive mud. If you don’t agree with W.O. Mitchell that the first thought is the best thought, and you go painting, you embark on a frustrating self-hating mud making odyssey.

Or you can say pretty much all there is to say using a stick with hairs tied to the end squishing it around in glue that has ground up coloured rocks thrown in, and when it looks like grass or whatever, stop, grab the model, drink the wine, make love and call it a day. That is what we call painting, an intense experience of satisfaction and the residue is a record of that satisfaction. If you want something pretty to go over your couch there are lots of charming seducers that were thrown out of art school running art galleries to sell you that shit, then, you know, fuck your wife.

Or you could just enjoy the beauty of the handmade mark. Way more satisfying.