Wheelchair party (I liked the alliteration and syllabic similarity of fête and faut’ in the French translation). My associates Bill Carmel, Barbara Johnson, and Lisa Nicolini showed up at my house on 2/21 with food and drink in hand and a burning desire to paint with the wheelchair. At that point I had laid down 4-5 layers of paint on a 9 x 12-foot canvas with the chair. The leisurely pace at which I’d worked over several days enabled each layer to dry, showing the wheel patterns of each pass distinctly. Today, three people had a couple of hours to try their hands at cranking the wheels’ rails.
Before the neophytes started, I gave them a little tutorial, emphasizing safety aspects and demonstrating possible techniques, such as holding one wheel in place as a pivot and creating a circle with the other. I suggested doing wheelies, but no one wanted to go there. With that, they were ready to roll.
Bill was first, depositing blue and white with the rear wheels. In concert with the lethargically flowing hues, his pace was slow and methodical. (A less viscous paint mix would have required faster wheeling to keep up with the accelerated pulse of paint onto the wheels and resulting in greater wheel-spinning.)
I quickly saw an error I’d made: choosing half-gallon paint bottles. The bottles’ handles fit handily over the chair push handles. But the bottles were too wide, necessitating too much paint in the container and too much left over in the slim space beneath the tube’s exit from the bottle (paint feeds from the bottle through tubes to the wheel). Slim bike bottles would be the solution in the future.
Lisa was next, with yellow and purple. At least we’d hoped for purple after dumping red into the blue bottle. Initially red continued to flow, followed by concurrent trails of red and blue, with an eventual blend into purple. Barbara finished the painting with light pastel red and orange.
With no drying time and so many colors in the mix, we risked making mud if we continued, so we stopped short of Mudville. Because we’d gone from colors to colors so quickly, we ended up with less noticeable wheel tracks. Parts of the painting looked almost brushed—a new effect in my experience with this art form. Because of limited work space, we hadn’t been able to cover the canvas all the way to the edges, so I trimmed it down to approximately 7 x 10.
In the next Faut’ fête, we’ll start with a slightly smaller canvas and spend more time watching paint dry.