Now this car's paint job was totally out of the world of my experience. Jill wanted it to be a home-school project, and that meant having her, her husband, and their six-year-old daughter in my house, my space, my ... ah ... Muse Room.
I don't even like my best friends to be in my house, so you can imagine the trauma. Plus: a kid. What do I know from kids?
And that's all I can say politely, but I will add that it wasn't exactly as horrid as I had feared, and Jill and I have met for social purposes only and it's been quite lovely. I still don't know about kids, but I do know I enjoy Riva's company. So there.
We decided to paint rough color blocks in checkerboard fashion on this white van, and then decorate in the colored and white boxes. It got to looking pretty chaotic, though, which is a reasonable result when two people who don't know what they're doing start doing it anyhow. The downbeat theory that Buddy Helm (http://www.buddyhelm.com/) was teaching me during drumming sessions at The Longhouse (http://www.longhouse.info/) saved the day.
As long as the downbeat is smacked out loud and clear and a tempo, anything goes. If you get lost while you're out there between downbeats, it's okay, because the whole group will beat the down. It's kind of like North on a compass.
So we got the idea to put my traditional "tribals" -- very basic mudcloth markings from Mali -- in black (as opposed to the very cheerful colors we were otherwise using) on the first, third, and fifth of five lines. That held everything together -- just like it does in music -- and the van looks pretty cool.
I rarely want to paint the wheels or rims or hubcaps or whatever those blasted things are called, but it worked really well on this car. We even took turns riding in my car next to their car so we could all see what the wheels look like at about 40mph. Faster than that, we think you should keep your eyes on the road.
I'm a solitary sort of person. I live alone. I work alone. My favorite pastimes are one-person gigs -- reading and writing -- so collaboration was a challenge. I told Jill that I wrote to Buddy about the downbeat working in paint, and she wanted to offer him photos of the car in exchange for drumming sessions. Oh. Apparently she thought the car was hers. Um, and apparently I thought the paint job was mine. So yeah. I learned a lot with this car, too.