back again

reserved for p. senter
well, it's official: i'm back in the saddle.  after seventy-two days of painting watercolor, and a near year reprieve from oil painting, today i did it.  i pulled out the oils to start work on a couple of commissioned pieces.  i dug out the proper ingredients from their respective boxes, poured the seductively smooth and golden galkyd light together with the linseed oil and mineral spirits into my trusty tapatio hot sauce bottle. i wiped the rubbery hardened medium off of the threads and screwed on the red cap, turning it upside down and around like mixing a bottle of salad dressing.  i opened the window;  the odor was strangely familiar, and strikingly pungent, ventilation a must.  i examined my old oil paint tubes:  capless, encrusted, thrown haphazardly into boxes, wrinkled up impatiently after working themselves too hard.  i picked out the salvageable ones, wiped the hardened globs into a rag, and squeezed up from the bottom until the pure soft pigment arose from a long slumber.  i flipped my glass palette, revealing the underside of a million mixtures from paintings long gone, and  smudged a station for each color onto the slick surface: raw umber, burnt sienna, pthalo blue, yellow ochre, titanium white.  i know what these names mean, and how they blend, what they can do for me, and how to make them dance.  i poured the medium over the tiny worms of saturated color, and picked the largest, squarest, softest brush from the line of my and my mother's brush-filled jars.  roughing in the shapes, me and the canvas reacquainted, touching the water where it meets the land and the fish below the surface, the silhouette of trees and where they kiss the sky, the shadows of the eyes of the two boys and their dog.  i am home again, just like the bald eagles, in the valley again for the first time since spring, perched in their old familiar perches.  returning from a long journey,  it feels good to be back.