I Led 3 Lives: A Painting’s Tale

Hi there. No, this isn’t a spy story. It’s a life story, my life as a painting; well, my lives actually. Here you see me in my first life, all bright and brand new and rarin’ to go…Volcanic Action 2002-10

What’s that? You don’t think I can talk because I’m just a painting? Or that you can hear me. Well, now, you know that’s not true. I bet you don’t see any painting without hearing its voice. Oh, maybe you don’t recognize it or understand it. But you hear it all the same.

It calls out to you to smile. Or cry. Or ponder the world. Or remember your childhood. Or remind you of a friend. Or maybe it’s sometimes silent, and you just go on your way. Or it shouts at you when you don’t want to be shouted at. Sometimes it might even say, “Take me home with you, right now! You’ll be glad you did.”

So, yes, here I’m am, talking to you. “Volcanic Action” is my name here in my first life. Pretty fitting, don’t you think? All those great bright colors coming together. Purple and red-orange and a kind of chartreuse. That’s an igniting combo if I do say so myself, and I thought I was pretty hot stuff back then. But I’m glad for those black accents. I felt like they kinda held me together. That if they weren’t there I might just have totally erupted and flowed right off the canvas. And then where would I be? Not here talking to you, that’s for sure.

I was pretty happy in that life, but I was getting a little older, and my painter, RMQ, was moving into a different phase. Still, I was surprised when one day she just plucked me off the wall and onto her easel and started slathering white paint all over me. What the….! It’s okay for the Beatles to have a “White Album.” But I didn’t want to change from being “volcanic” to being just a white blot.

Scattergram 5-03I shoulda known I wasn’t in danger of being drowned in a vat of Titanium White. I was just being prepared for a new life. And what a life that was! Whee! That was some ride! You can see just from my picture. There’s a lot of the old me in there and underneath. Same bright colors plus some yellow and darker green and a bit of purple, one of my favorites. Dioxazine Purple–don’t you just love the sound of that color? Whoop-de-doo!

Here those black accents weren’t holding me in place. They were pushing me around, up and up, till I was floating. “Scattergram” was my name then. And that’s how I felt–I was just scattering all over sending out happy messages.

I shared those good times with a batch of brothers and sisters. Once all of us hung around at a nice restaurant with some other different RMQ paintings. We were there for maybe a month before our show ended, and it was kind of sad that we all had to go back home to the studio, leaving the restaurant walls bare.

But the day after we left (so we heard later), a man rushed in, looked around, and frantically accosted the owner, “What happened to those paintings that were here a couple of days ago? My wife fell in love with one of them, and tomorrow is her birthday! I really must have that painting for her special present!

“No problem,” said the owner, who dug around under the counter and came up with one of one of RMQ’s cards with her phone number on it. Which the frantic guy immediately dialed.

In just a few minutes he was ringing our doorbell.

He practically ran inside the studio, gasping out his dilemma and relief at finding us. “That’s the one,” he said, pointing his finger. I thought he was pointing to me, but no, his finger stopped at my sister, “Freefall,” right next to me. Then he pulled out his checkbook and asked RMQ, “How much?” I confess, I was a little jealous.

While he was writing out the check, I heard him say, “When we first saw this, we were reminded of Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain.’ My wife is going to be ecstatic when I give it to her!”

RMQ thought for a minute, then I heard her answer: “Well, I guess I can see that. But now that I think about it, I know these paintings all came into my head and out of my fingers after I’d seen a performance of Cirque de Soleil. All those bright colors and spirited music and people flying around on long stretchy strips of colored silk! That’s what made these paintings!”

Well, that pleased me too. So when he walked out happily with my sister under his arm, my jealousy disappeared, and I went on with my second life, which was filled with fun and frolic. It lasted a good long time, and I was content to be “Scattergram” forever.

But, wouldn’t you know. RMQ had other ideas. So there I was back on the easel. By now she’d gone through some changes and moved into yet another phase. And I got another big surprise. No white paint this time. Un-uh. That wouldn’t do. Suddenly I was turning black–not just in spots. All over! This did not look good for me!

But was I ever wrong!

I didn’t stay plain black for very long. I’ve got some Yellow Orange Azo (another of my favorite colors), Cadmium Red Light–the main color and the one that seems to be kind of red-orange. Even a touch of Hot Pink. Who woulda guessed? All rubbed over my other selves and my new black coat.

You know, the bright and dark of my new life brings out some of the special underlying parts of my previous lives. You can see the swirls and ridges made by RMQ’s paint brush in my early lives, before she started massaging her paintings into life with her hands. I like this. It’s like all the parts of myself have finally come together and made a whole.RMQabstracts-desk-space-Slash-and-Burn-2015.jpg

When she was giving me this new life, RMQ spent a lot of time listening to Leonard Cohen singing “Who By Fire?” And I feel this in myself–both the light and dark, the pain and the joy. I think, finally, this is my last life. I am what I was meant to be back when I first was born.

“Slash and Burn” is my name now. Though I have shadows and dark places, I still glow. In this, my third life, my voice has become deeper and more mellow.

Can you hear it? One person who’s been to see me already has. Still…he’s not ready for me yet. Maybe won’t ever be.

But now I know my voice is ready to be heard.

Perhaps you’ll be the one.

16 Responses to “I Led 3 Lives: A Painting’s Tale”

  1. Deb Breton

    Guess what, I had already connected Instagram! At least I’m doing something right😊 Cheers, have a great weekend Rennie!


  2. RMQ

    You’re welcome. I haven’t looked at it yet myself, but it seems like a good idea. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deb Breton

    Wow Rennie, thank you for the link, I’ll check it out in the morning! I don’t know groups like these even existed on fb, good to know. So, you don’t like twitter either, sheez, I thought it was just me. Thanks again for the link, I appreciate it. Have a great one~


  4. RMQ

    Alyson? I don’t know. The groups I’m in are The Abundant Artist mastermind group (because of the FB marketing class I took) and the Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing (a course offered by Creative Live. Any strategy I know comes from these sources, though I haven’t begun to tap into all of them. I won’t even go near Twitter! It drives me nuts. If you don’t already know this, here’s a link about how you can share IG content to FB that came from Tricia Bertrand in the Double Your Followers group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgd2ayiOzJ8&feature=youtu.be

    Thanks for your encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Deb Breton

    You’re very kind. I’m so happy to hear that Facebook has worked for you, I would love to discuss strategies! Are you part of Alyson’s group on FB? If I can help with Instagram, let me know. I’m kinda lost on Twitter, so counterintuitive for me! Anyways, thank you for visiting, looking forward to more of your work Rennie – talk about inspiration!


  6. RMQ

    FB has worked for me before. But I think I tried to do too much with one thing. I’ve yet to dip my toes in Instagram, though it’s on my list. It takes me a long time to get things done, and I can only deal with one at a time. But the two private FB groups I’m in from online classes I took this year are a great source of new people and ideas and support! As are you! Oddly enough, I always sign my letters “Cheers” too. Rennie

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deb Breton

    Yeah, I’m not sure about promoting via FB like that- sadly… Especially when this is so well written. I love how you anthropomorphized the painting! I totally get it – they’re our babies! Twitter and Instagram are beginning to work for me, have you tried that? I have met some very cool people this way as well. Cheers, Deb


  8. RMQ

    You’ve made my day, Deb! Thanks for reading and resonating with this tale. I was really excited about it and made it the cornerstone of a plan. Started with a Facebook ad that linked to a teaser post on my page, which linked to this post to get the whole story. But I discovered that very few people of the hundreds who saw the the ad and/or the opening teaser post actually clicked on the link to finish the story. There’s a lesson in there somewhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Deb Breton

    This was a fun and fascinating read Rennie. I love how you gave your paintings a voice, such a great story. I’m glad Slash and Burn’s sister found a new home, won’t be long till Slash finds a new home as well!


  10. RMQ

    Thanks, Rosa! It was fun to get back into a writing groove with this post, and I’m glad to have your response! You’re right about the family writing business and can read more at Who Am I? Rennie


  11. Rosa

    Rennie, what a great story, it seems to me that Dan is not the only writer in the family. Rosa


  12. Paula Wohnoutka



  13. RMQ

    Thanks, Wendy. I woke up one morning with this idea for a blog post, and it was such fun to write!


  14. Wendy Haardt

    Rennie, I love this description of how your painting came to life! Thank you for sharing! :) Wendy


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