Thursday, August 9, 2018

Down to the Studs

I have a favorite story from our recent bathroom renovation.

One weekend morning, Dave and I were companionably engaged in parallel play across the upstairs landing from each other, I in the study at my laptop, Dave in the bathroom tearing walls down to the studs.

I heard him pause and say, "Huh."

Then, more construction noise, another pause, another "Huh."

Then, more construction noise, another pause, and, "Dotty, come here for a sec."

He pointed, I scrutinized.

"Oyster crackers," I pronounced.

Indeed, about two dozen intact oyster crackers nestled in fiberglass insulation in the space between the wall of the bathroom and the wall of the adjacent bedroom.

Defies imagination, but there you have it.

I think of those oyster crackers every now and then when I paint. In the end, most of my paintings have more layers on them than we had layers on our bathroom studs. Usually, well over half of what lies beneath the surface of my completed pieces isn't visible.

Defies imagination sometimes, but there you have it.

Those of you who follow my blog or my Instagram page, however, often get to see the oyster crackers as I tuck them into place.

where I left off yesterday
rotated my paper end-to-end,
added yellows, orange-pink, and orange-red on top of India ink

rotated my paper every which way, flung some drops of India ink, and dribbled yellow latex


  1. Your oyster crackers were so embedded that they didn't attract some unwanted insects! Your layers always feed upon the previous and some times manage to show through!

    1. I'm still laughing at the bathroom oyster crackers. We immediately sent out a text to our long-grown "kids" asking who was stashing oyster crackers in the walls!!!

      Regarding my layers, I do like it when they show through in a variety of ways, although sometimes, like the oysters, out of sight out of mind. And that is just fine.

  2. What well-sealed walls you had! Nary an insect nor mouse nor flying squirrel got in there and had that snack...and now I will forever think of hidden layers as oyster crackers. ha ha!

    Viewing your progression photos is magical. It teaches us all to never EVER give up on a painting, because anything can happen!

    1. 1. Well, but most likely 'twas a mouse running through 100+ year old walls (halfway across the house from where those crackers would have been located and then all the way to the second story) who stashed those oyster crackers. Did it forget where the stash was???

      2. Sometimes the progression feels less magical and more like bad voo-doo targeted at my well-being! Thank you for letting ME unwittingly remind YOU to wisely remind ME to never EVER give up on a painting. Almost gave up after I got going again after these photos.

  3. You are the best dribbler Dotty! Love your funny story :) Love what is emerging here. Pretty and pleasing :)
    BTW, I see three faces. One is worried, one is"OH WOW!" and one has its eyes closed. Funny to think they might mirror your moods while painting.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Sheila—I do like dribbling, when all else fails!

      Those faces! Until you mentioned those faces, I'd forgotten about them temporarily.