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Art Supplies, Books, Yarn and Mental Illness

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Last weekend I went for a walk to Utrecht. Utrecht is an art supply store and therefore, a very dangerous place for me. I had a specific thing to buy and I needed to be clear about my intentions before I stepped through the door.

Because, you see, I am an uncontrollable dork for art supplies. Even with a limited budget and a well planned, clearly delineated list of items to buy, I can still find a way to spend too much money in an art supply store.

Not that I use the art supplies, mind you. Because then buying them would make sense, wouldn’t it? If you bought something then used it, it seems as though you’ve completed the consumerist cycle and also, incidentally, you are being a good American.

No, I see art supplies in the store and get inspired to do a project, so I buy them on the spot. I’m really creative! I’m always thinking of fun projects! Art stuff is so bright and shiny at the store! Then I bring the art supplies home and put them away. And then I don’t use them.

All of this pertains also to books and yarn. Bookstores and yarn stores also throw this same zombie-switch in my brain. I lose my mind. Do you know how many books I have that I haven’t read yet? Many. But there are so many more at the bookstore! I should own those too! Do you know how much yarn I have waiting for projects that seemed so cute and urgent in the store? Lots.

If I have the space and excessive cash, it’s not a big deal. I don’t ever consider art supplies a regretful purchase. I’m rarely sorry about the money I’ve spent on these items. Because one day or another, I will actually use them.

The problem is that when I’m home, and I have a little down time on my hands, I feel the pressure of all those projects waiting for me. I could relax and veg out on the internet for 2 or 3 or 9 hours, but all those creative projects that I haven’t started call out to me in their creepy art-supply-voices. Ghosts of Projects Undone. And who can relax with that racket?

So I went to Utrecht and I got the item I went for. But they had canvases on sale. On sale! Buy one, get one free! Earlier in the day, I puffed and wheezed to my mom that I couldn’t afford curtain rods. But here were canvases on sale!

So I promised, PROMISED myself that I needed to use the canvasses IMMEDIATELY, with no delay in the usage of the art supplies that I’m not supposed to buy right now. Promise.

So I went home and broke out the acrylic paints that’s I’ve had since high school (did I mention I don’t really use my art supplies?) I got a broken down box, leftover from moving, and covered the floor with it. I was pleasantly surprised that my 15 year old set of hand-me-down Bose speakers still worked after being shipped all over the fricken country. I put those on. I sat on the floor and started to paint.

Now. I’m not a painter. I’m not an artist, really, in any sort of academic sense. I won art awards in high school. Which went hand-in-hand with the “Art Nerd” Trophy and the “Huge Dork” Trophy. But I can’t say I’ve done any real art in my adult life. However, I’ll still win any dork contest out there.

I bought four canvasses, 12 inches x 12 inches each. I like squares. I spread around big globs of talentless paint, right out of the tube. I wanted something bright and juvenile and silly to hang in the kitchen. I wanted something fun and brainless. I started them last weekend. Turns out they were fun, brainless and tedious. I finished them today.

Not A Painter
I told you I’m not a painter. Perhaps you didn’t believe me. But now it’s pretty evident, isn’t it? Perhaps you should listen to me next time.


  1. Those paintings are cute. I like the chef hat on the orange one.

    ps – I think this post should also be tagged “neurosis”

  2. Those are cute!! People would pay money for something like that! And they are bright! I like the concept of flowers floating in the sky.

  3. You should cover your windows with these. They are very cheery, and that way you don’t need to buy curtain rods.

  4. Neurosis added. Thanks for the reminder that I’m crazy. :-)

  5. i sold art for 13 years. just say lichtenstein painted them in his “formative years” and you’ll get millions for them. i swear.

    not so different really.

  6. Apart from brightening up the place, you will probably feel a sense of achievement when you look at them as you started painting straight away

    … makes me feel guilty as there’s a huge canvas propped on my easel winking blindly at me right now

  7. Georgia O’Keefe meets Shigeru Miyamoto.

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