Brush, brush, brush, brush. The sound of a paintbrush on cardboard is soothing. A song from the Wizard of Oz is playing in my head. "Brush, brush here, brush, brush there, la la la la la..."
The green glitter paint--around $4 a bottle at Cliffs Variety--is more transparent that I had hoped. One stroke leaves a dark green, two makes it a lighter green and spreads the color out, and a third exposes the brown of the cardboard. As it dries, the brown from the cardboard begins to resurface. How frustrating. Rather than continuing feel frustrated, an opportunity is taken to zen out and let my body go on autopilot. The green will cover the cardboard eventually. Just be patient and keep trying. The only sounds in existence besides traffic are the sounds of the wind and an occasional cough from an unseen neighbor I an unknown backyard. I listen for the wind, waiting to hold my art piece still when a large gust of wind picks up. The cardboard bush I am working on has cardboard glued to it to make it stand up, but it is still no match for this wind. I am afraid to run further into the garage to find something to prop it up. The last time I left this art piece alone--in order to let my partner into the apartment complex--I returned to find it face down. The green paint had smeared all over the small parking area I share with other tenants. Even worse, leaves and parts of nature stick to my piece of imitation nature. Luckily, the paint is cheap and washable. I just don't want to repeat the cleanup process.
I wonder when the washing machine will end, and the owner will pop down to pick up his laundry. I think of what to say when he comes downstairs, seeing this silly blonde boy sitting on the floor while painting in a parking space. Oh no. My heart jumps. The garage door is opening! I am against the wall, but I am still in a parking spot. I rush--grabbing my paintbrush, paint bottle, napkins, garbage bags (which prevent paint from getting on the ground), and my still wet faux shrubbery. Crap crap crap! I manage to get to the other side, protected by the heap of clutter my landlord leaves in our garage. Green paint is all over my arms. I'm pissed when the neighbor pulls into a parking spot nowhere near where I had just moved from. I try to sound cheerful as we exchange niceties. He is amused that I am painting stage props in the community garage. I tease back that I would rather do it in the garage than on the carpeting in my home. I also mention that my art piece is a glittery mess. He laughs, and we ignore each other as he looks through his trunk and goes upstairs. When I have finished, about half an hour later, I pick up my creation and head towards the stairway. The door opens before me and another neighbor jumps back as if he has seen a ghost. I would jump too if I saw an unexpected person behind a door, holding a paintbrush like a weapon as well as carrying a piece of cardboard half his size. I apologize several times for scaring him. "It's okay" he mutters as he quickly shuffles past me, eager to get his laundry and remove himself from this madness.