I love the cool, shady colour of early morning, just before sunrise. Everything looks so calm. One morning while I was at my neighbour’s house to steal her newspaper, I noticed a flower bush in her garden looking especially pretty in that gentle light, so I decided to paint it. Oh, don’t worry, I gave the newspaper back in perfect condition. It’s kind of a prank, or experiment.
The early morning light gave a lovely blueish tinge to the garden, in the wooden fence, the pebbles and the leaves of the plants. I tried to capture it in the painting. What happened was, one morning my neighbour’s newspaper wasn’t delivered to her front door as usual. She couldn’t find it. She told me about it that afternoon when I stopped for a chat as I was walking past. She was furious. Her thick Hungarian accent makes her swear words hilarious, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her expletive-laden rant. As I left, I noticed the newspaper just under her car in the driveway. I took the newspaper. The next morning, I got up early and switched that day’s newspaper on her doorstep for the one I took the previous day. I thought it would be a good laugh.
The flowers—chrysanthemums I think—stood out against the dim light, with their bright petals. The smaller flowers had a fiery orange glow. They were beautiful. So anyway, my neighbour had another funny rant to me about newspaper delivery, and I decided to continue my game of switcheroo. The thing was though, for the first four days she was baffled by the apparent late deliveries, and her anger seemed based on the possible motives behind them: a mistake at the printing press, careless negligence, or simple cruelty. But after that, she didn’t seem to care why it was happening, just that it was happening. And while she remained as angry as ever, she stopped wondering aloud to me if she would get the correct newspaper the following day. I think she liked having a reason to be upset.
I used loose strokes for the painting. Up close you can see them but when you step back it looks kind of cool. It also took the pressure off having to make the painting lifelike. I like that about art. “I can’t paint flowers very well. Can I just do them rough?”
“Can I make these trees purple?”
“Go for it.”
“I taped a banana to a wall. Is that okay?”
I bought a few copies of the same newspaper one day and then left them one by one on my neighbour’s doorstep three days running. She swore and shouted and shook her fist about it, but I could tell she enjoyed it. I’ve done that twice now; she’s a week behind with the news. Every day she complains about it, and I think having something to complain about comforts her. Tomorrow I’m not going to take her newspaper. I’m curious as to how she’ll react getting the correct one. I can’t wait.
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