Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dear after the retreat,

I am feeling a little blue. It's to be expected, after a retreat, but somehow I never do expect it--after this kind of intense, focused experience, a little exhilarating, I come back to my life and I have questions like these to answer:

  • what kind of writer am I, anyway?
  • have I squandered all or just most of my opportunities?
  • will I ever make anything worthwhile?
etcetera, questions I think we can agree are not particularly productive when asked in an after-the-retreat blue period.

So I did the sensible thing: I carried out a crafts-imperative. And no, I am not speaking of my writing craft, I am speaking of going to Michael's to buy gesso, acrylic paints, and a fixative so that I could turn a pair of uninspiring loafers into gold loafers. As in: I painted my shoes.

I bought the shoes below online. They are perfect in every way except the color which I somehow thought would be creamier, more delicious, more go-with-everything. Instead they were simultaneously mobster-in-Miami and grungy:

Practically, this means that I almost never wore these shoes. Yet I hesitated to give them away. They were--and this is meaningful in my shoe wardrobe--comfortable. Would the color grow on me? Would I fall in love with them over time? Could I somehow change their color? Could I paint them?

I looked it up on the internet, after having inquired of my daughter (who had spray painted some pumpkins in a brilliant and very shiny fashion at Halloween) as to whether she advised spray paint for shoes. She said I should look it up on the internet, which I did (see above). I found these instructions, which is what sent me up to Michael's.

Before I started, though, the historian called me out to see this in the front garden:

"I think it might be safer in the other flower bed," he said.

"I don't know if I like being married to a snake handler," I said, as he picked the snake up and put it in the ivy, where it flipped its tail in an insouciant manner as it disappeared.

Back to the shoes:

These (above) are gessoed. Gesso prepares the surface so it will take the paint.

I was going for a rose gold thing, so I bought bronze paint (iridescent) and some pink paint. No dice. This led to a dull bronze color. Lovely, but not quite gleam-y enough. So I added another coat of bronze:

I let it dry. Then I sprayed it with a fixative:

I know. I had mobster-in-Miami, now I have whatever this is. Which I am, honestly, in love with. Gold shoes! The best! 

After the retreat, I think wearing gold shoes will put me in a better position for considering my artistic future.




  1. Gold beats the hell out of blue.

  2. You know the jazz ballad "Blue Moon"? It is always a good sign when blue turns gold. Maybe you should run your own retreat -- including a final workshop on the restorative effects of gesso.



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