Paints from my Grandfather

I hate seeing temples fall. Hate it, hate it, hate it. So it was a pretty sad experience to walk down into my grandparents’ former basement and see what ten years of my Brother and my Dad had done to it. Particularly my Brother.

Grandpa, who died ten years ago, had always kept it spotlessly clean and organized down to the last 10-penny nail. The carefully labeled drawers are still there, mostly filled with their appropriate items, but over everything is a thick layer of junk of various kinds. It’s heartbreaking. I just about cried.

Dad has left my grandfather’s jean jacket hanging from the back of the door. I smelled it–it still smells like him ten years later. A combination of motor oil, sawdust, and old man.

He left two neatly labeled boxes of paints, one oil and one acrylic. Some of the tubes are so old I think they’re made of lead. I took all the acrylics that looked usable. So much paint! Four large tubes of titanium white, four of Hansa yellow, two cadmium reds, etc. These are artist-grade paints, too, not student-grade ones like I can afford. There are a lot of paintings sitting in those tubes.

Grandpa was a wonderful painter, though I never saw him do it. He mostly worked in oils, and made dark-colored, impressionist renderings of the various places the family lived in Europe while Dad was growing up.

So I’ve taken up acrylic painting. I’m not very good at it. I don’t know if I will ever be. But I have Grandpa’s paints. I think it will be good to let them back out of their tubes, to see what will happen.

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