Friday, August 22, 2008

Low-Tech Moments

Everyday something happens to make me appreciate painting even more. Early this morning, while sewing, my machine gave out a high pitched squeal. I got out my manual (only 20 pages long and in one language – English), and quickly found the page with instructions on cleaning and oiling the inner parts. The page had a full photograph of the inside of my machine. Removing only 2 screws, I opened the top, got out my needle nose oiling bottle, and dropped some oil into the holes indicated by arrows on the photo. Ten minutes later my machine was oiled and sounded just like new. “Wow,” I thought, “this was more fun than I’ve had in weeks.” Let’s compare this with yesterday’s saga - electric mayhem at home. In one day (I’m not kidding) our TV cable box blew, the house alarm’s 5 year battery went dead, and my computer refused to work properly. I needed to call the cable guy and the alarm company to send a repair person. Fortunately the computer got working after a small amount of my own prodding. This got me thinking about how appreciative I am that painting is low-tech. No repair man is necessary to help me with my painting. I feel a certain pang of pride when I whip out my drill to wire the backs of my paintings, or haul out the electric sander for smoothing surfaces. I do like machines. But now everything is so high-tech, manuals are incomprehensible volumes of worthless garble. Gone are those prideful “do-it-yourself” moments. My sewing machine and drill are both made of metal, are both over 22 years old, and still function wonderfully. Well, it’s a long shot that brushes and tubes of paint will ever get high-tech. I like my job. And just to celebrate my low-tech appreciation day, I ignored my car and walked to the neighborhood market for groceries.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Nancy;

Thanks so much for your always informative posts.

I didn't know you could sand acrylic mediums. What grit sand paper do you use? I sometimes work on dried joint compound and a flat electric sander really does a job on it! Messy, but fun.


August 23, 2008 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Nancy Reyner said...

In my comment about using my electric sander I was referring to sanding the wood panel before I paint. But, yes, you can sand acrylic. Wait a week after painting so it is fully dry. Use wet sanding techniques, or if using a dry sanding make sure you wear proper ventilation - like gloves and a mask. It is not good to breathe in acrylic dust (or any dust for that matter).

August 23, 2008 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Let's hear it for low tech moments! Thanks Nancy for making a point of this. And it's easy to forget the sheer joy of laying paint to canvas with a brush, much the way it's been done for hundreds of years. Even if we're working with acrylic we're still using those time honored skills. Okay, well maybe a little bit more abstract! ;-)

August 27, 2008 at 9:26 PM  

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