I'm not a good, not even a decent, painter. I suck, actually. And yet the idea of painting holds me spellbound.
The idea of painting conjures up childhood memories of my dad and of brightly-colored gobs of paint, the outer shells hardened with time, though still soft and malleable inside, waiting to create. My dad's paint palette usually held the remnants of past works: that smudge of near-crimson flame that emboldened the sun, that circle of azalea blue that filled the ocean. It all lay there, at his fingertips, the expanse of possibilities. And, with nothing more than a quick stroke of his brush, the world was within reach.
As a child, I would peer up and over his drawing board, at the discards of woodwork, the etch or two of a building designed, and often the skeleton of a new painting or drawing, most fledgling forms. I spent hours staring at--no, meticulously examining--these items. I learned the beauty of things not complete.
Nowadays, my dad rarely paints. In his retirement, he has pursued his love of gardening instead, spending his mornings or afternoons caring for the thousands of orchids that threaten to consume his home.
A friend and I once joked that I would have to keep an eye on him, that, left to his own devices, he would surely become an orchid-loving recluse . . . or an orchid, himself.