I came across this work on Facebook. Isn't that where we find a million cool things in life? Anyway, someone posted a link to the photos and in poking around I found this video. Seeing these colors swirling, moving, dancing and bubbling brought me back to my early days of working at Red Swan. Before Red Swan became the main source for art supplies in Ocala it was the go to place for builders and sign painters to get supplies for their respective industries. We also sold house paint to the homeowners looking for something new and pool paint for the folks looking for relief from the summer heat.
One of my first jobs there was mixing custom colors in the gallon cans of house paint. Now I'm dating myself here but there was no digital matching of colors to people's fabric swatches or machines that automatically spit out the correct color mixtures of universal colorant. I looked up the formula of color portions and spun the dispenser around until I got the color I was looking for, then I shot the color into the gallon of base paint. As I did that I would stand there and watch the colorant bubble up from the bottom of the can where it hit with great force and then shoot back up to the top where it would swirl and create the most amazing patterns.
A few times my boss would come in to the back room and catch me watching the colors moving around on the surface of the base paint. I found it mesmerizing. I could stand there and watch it for as long as it took the colors to settle. I wasn't about to put the can in the mixer before the colors were done with their dance. For me, it's kind of like watching a fire. It's very soothing and meditative, not to mention just plain cool and artsy.
Well, my boss didn't think it was very cool and artsy. I wasn't in trouble at all but he did think I was pretty flaky. For the rest of the 18 years I worked for him I heard the occasional comment about me being one of those flaky artists. There was always a chuckle from him along with the comment so I knew he was teasing.
Thankfully, over the years, he got to know many more artists. As the computer transformed the sign painting business he carried less and less of the particular items needed for that business but fortunately many sign painters were also artists so he had a lot of requests for fine art materials. That's how Red Swan as the place for art supplies was born. As Orval used to say.... "the art supply camel got his nose in the tent and pushed everything else out" and that was the end of house, pool and sign painting supplies. The next thing he knows, Orval is dealing with a bunch of artists.
Now just so you know, Orval is definitely creative. He's a very good writer and has a wicked sense of humor. But.... I think the visual artist is a mystery to him. He spent many moments just shaking his head at the quirkiness of me and my fellow painters. Even so, at this point, I think he could appreciate the swirling, dancing hues of Mark Mawson's work. It might even bring back memories of a young mom and artist who was in need of a job and gave him a chuckle while she mixed house paint.
Watch the colors dance,