Seven Day Painting: The Making of a Crime Scene

Added on by Denise Gasser.

Some mornings when I’m feeling extra motivated I throw the kids in the car and head down to Stanley Park to walk the Sea Wall. So gorgeous! It’s a great way to clear my head and there are lot’s of amazing trees along the way. It’s outings like this that make me feel like a great mom…someone who has it all together. If you want to keep that impression of me, please stop reading now. If you want the ugly truth, please continue:) 

The other day while we were out I found this amazing gem just off the path! I stopped and took at least a dozen photos, then decided on this one to inspire a new piece.

I had recently decided to have a bunch of my work professionally photographed, and the photographer was coming exactly one week from last Saturday. I still had two small paintings to finish before then, but was really hoping to crank out one more piece before she came. So I determined that I would attempt to start and finish a painting in exactly one week! (I am usually SUPER slow…like taking months to finish one piece.)

My husband, Dan, was great and took my three year old, Liam, out for a hike for most of the day on Saturday. Sweet! Now I just needed my three month old, Grey, to sleep all day:) Things started out just fine. He slept for quite a while and what started out as a simple blue background turned into this in just a couple of hours.

That’s when I heard him cry…the beginning of what would shortly become my worst mom moment yet. I was right in the middle of something with a brush full of paint so I nestled him into his carseat and bounced him with the crook of my elbow while I continued painting…something I have done MANY times before. But this fateful day something terrible happened!!! It was so awful I don’t even want to write it. As I went to adjust the seat to a more comfortable bouncing position he slipped straight out of the carseat and landed with a thud on the tile floor! I just about vomited. I dropped my brush on the floor and grabbed my poor screaming baby. I was so worried that he might be permanently damaged and ran through all of the worst, most dramatic possibilities in my mind. In that moment I wondered…‘Is this what it takes to keep painting while raising kids?’ It felt like a metaphor for my life. I sheepishly typed 'dropped my baby’ into google and was only somewhat comforted to see hundreds of similar searches by other terrible mothers out there. After quite a but of research and some happy/normal behavior from my baby I determined that he was probably fine. But I was disgusted by the sight of my studio area that read like a crime scene…a full paintbrush and trail of paint on the tile where I dropped my brush, a carseat thrown aside, the spot on my painting where I stopped mid-stroke. I was not about to return. 

After several hours had passed, and Grey seemed like he had made a full recovery I figured it would be safe to get back to work. But I adopted a much safer approach to bouncing a baby while painting...at my feet in a bouncer while I panted at the table:)

Here is the finished product. I literally finished adding the gold leafing and painting the hexagons super late on Friday night, just in time for the photo session on Saturday morning. It was a CRAZY week! Dan had an 80 hour work week so I was pretty much on my own…but somehow I pulled it all together. (somehow=Liam watching a LOT of T.V.) Not great mothering, but as you know it could be worse.

So far this piece is still untitled, though I will probably name it after my poor baby Grey who really sacrificed the most to make it happen.