A long time ago, a customer had told me that someone gave her a roll of Arches watercolor paper and she didn’t want it. She said she wasn’t sure how to unroll it or cut it, she didn’t really do watercolors, etc… and she would much rather someone else who might use it have it. Of course I said I would take it. She said she’d be in later in the week to give it to me. The week ended. And the next. And the next. I figured she had forgotten all about it. Or maybe someone told her what it was worth and she decided to sell it instead. I figured I’d never see her again. Oh well.

Today, without warning, she walks in with roll in hand. I asked her several times if she wanted anything for it, but she insisted she did not. Just take it. So I did, and thanked her profusely. It’s 140 lb hot press, a ten yard roll. I usually prefer cold press, but considering it’s free I’m not about to complain. I looked up prices online and found that the retail is $265 and most places are selling it for anywhere between $150 and $200. And I got it for free. This is seriously one of the most amazing things that could possibly happen to an artist.

As if that wasn’t enough, I just partially restored an old painting. I did it about six years ago, and for the background I used cheap A.C. Moore brand blue acrylic, very watered down. In my old apartment back in Fayetteville I had a table near my door. I propped canvases up against it when I had nowhere else to store them. When the weather was nice I would leave the door open. Over time the sun shining in bleached the blue out of this particular piece, leaving it a dingy yellowish-green. People kept telling me that it didn’t matter, no one would know what it originally looked like, and it still looked really good in spite of its faded condition. But being a perfectionist, I couldn’t accept that answer, and I hid it in my closet in shame.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I completed a piece, using better quality acrylics, but mixed with rubbing alcohol. Over time it too started to fade. I bought a can of UV protectant and sprayed the hell out of it, but it didn’t seem to work. It’s been on display at True Blue for the past few months, and under the lights it has faded even more. I got bored the other day and decided to play around. There was a broken blue watercolor lead in the tester jar. I colored lightly and brought some darkness back to it, then gently rubbed it with a damp paper towel. The hue isn’t quite what it originally was, but it’s just about as dark as it originally was. I decided to take the watercolor lead home and try doing the same on my other painting. This time the hue is a nearly perfect match, and after half an hour or so it looks really close to its original state. A little touching up on some of the details should make it look just like it did when I first painted it. So now a painting I was very proud of will no longer have to hide in my closet. Soon it will be on a gallery wall. But more on that later…

For the time being I will sit here, contentedly sipping brandy and listening to Sonic Youth. It’s been a good day indeed.