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Play to Your Strengths

This is just one of the many piles of pieces I cut, sanded, and polyurethaned THREE times.

I am the lucky one who will be showing my work in a small solo exhibit at a bank downtown, coming up in November. Woohoo!! I’m planning to hang my acrylic abstract paintings–a new-ish medium for me–and I have been working very hard towards getting them done.

I have 24-25 paintings finished! That is, they are painted. Many have even been varnished. So I set out to frame them. Because of the cost, I had decided to frame them myself, with simple slat board frames. Simple, she says. So very funny!

But I measured! The replacement pair were 1/4″ too long.

Measuring, cutting, and any kind of precision work are skills that do not live in either my body or my personality, are not found within my skill set, and frankly, are not even things I aspire to cultivating. I do not like power tools that could take off part or all of a finger. I like my fingers! I dislike sawdust and sanding. I abhor getting sticky polyurethane on my hands and do not like breathing in the fumes of mineral spirits. I have Essential Tremor, i.e., my hands are not particularly steady. I am currently in need of new glasses. I am clearly unfit for this type of work! And yet I set out to do it. So, bully for me, right?

First mistake: going into production mode before seeing one frame all the way through. I take that back. First mistake: thinking this would be an easy project or even doable by me. But had I put together one, before cutting so many pieces, I might have seen the error of my ways much sooner. Second (third?) mistake: failing to ask anyone exactly where to lower the blade of the chop saw in regard to my (clearly poorly marked) line until I had cut half the pieces. I could go on, but why? The only joy I had in this project was riding to Menard’s for wood with my friend who has a truck. But why agonize over this any longer? Suffice it to say, I am regrouping. I shall buy frames and use the many pieces of slat board cluttering my studio to build yet another funky Christmas tree for our house. Stay tuned.

Hmm . . . What are these three pieces for??

One simply must consider one’s strengths and weaknesses before taking on a project. Ask yourself, Who am I? and answer carefully, before beginning. Am I precise and meticulous by nature? No!! One must not go off willy-nilly without doing any research beyond watching an overly simplistic YouTube video of a man working in his well-appointed wood shop with exceptionally fine tools. Remind yourself that the man in question does not show himself measuring and cutting the boards. Nor does he ever address the issues of clear eyesight and perfectly steady hands.

Ugh. This project seriously disrupted my studio and prevented me from doing the thing I love, which is painting. Many bad words were uttered. But I have learned some things about myself and about life, one more of which is: Pay others for work at which you suck.

“Always remember, your weakness is somebody else’s strength.”― Vinaya Panicker

“Knowing your weakness is a strength.” ― Dr Toyin Omofoye

“Not necessarily what’s tough for you is tough for everyone.” ― Sarvesh Jain, The Awakening Wisdom of Life

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

1 thought on “Play to Your Strengths

  1. Well this shows you can always learn lessons, even if you thought you had it figured out. I’m sure that when it’s over your pieces will be fantastic!! You do great work in a variety of mediums. As you know I am a fan!!

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