My Father’s Shirt

I was sorting through some items stored in a little used corner of the studio when I came across a bundle of paint rags.  I usually air out rags after a few paintings, letting them dry outdoors so the turpentine and oil fumes don’t create a fun little science experiment called spontaneous combustion.  All the rags were dry and stiff and pretty useless.  I wondered why I was even keeping them when out of the pile this little beauty rolled out.

20140912_094455Believe it or not, this old shirt belonged to my dad, circa 1972.  He probably doesn’t even know I have it or that I kept it all this time.  It predates every brush I have.  (The ones I started with were worn out ages ago.)  Somehow I got a hold of my dad’s old shirt and used it to clean my brushes and went on to clean every brush I used for the next few decades.  This shirt has a dollop of paint on it from every painting I made during that time.  I guess I kept it as a good luck charm or something.  After awhile, I made sure I swiped a brush across it even if I had another rag by my easel, you know, for luck.

One day, I aired it out and never put it back where I could use it.  And then I forgot all about it.  Until it was unearthed in an archeological dig of sorts.  I smoothed it out and thought about all the projects we had worked on together.  The trip down memory lane made me smile.  There are a lot of crappy paintings wiped on that shirt, and some that are still pretty good.  Here’s one from the pretty good list:

Full Moon Song Oil on canvas board 18"x24"

Full Moon Song
Oil on canvas board

I have a bit of a rocky history with my dad.  However, through all the years of ups and downs, I still had his shirt to help me clean up my creative mess.   Eventually, we managed to persevere and develop a better “grown up” relationship.  So I guess it really was a lucky shirt after all.


One thought on “My Father’s Shirt

  1. Very sweet. Your father’s old shirt is a valuable heirloom. Heirlooms are valuable for their memories and the history we connect with them. I’m glad you shared this with us. If it was my shirt I would feel honored.


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