How Many People Does it Take?
How many people does it take to hang a large commissioned oil painting?
Let me explain.
There are certain things that we modern people accept as truth:
Electricity magically pours out of the 3-holed portals in our walls to drive our vacuum cleaners, e-readers and lightbulbs.
Water comes from a spout, refrigerator, or a washing machine with just a touch of a hand.
Hamburger, vegetables and mashed potatoes originate from the grocery store.
And behind the last coat on your beautifully painted wall is plaster in the guise of drywall. Behind that a stud, that beacon of strength that holds up the house. It is always exactly 16 inches from another stud, which is exactly 16 inches from another until it reaches a corner and starts all over again.
That is the myth. No one knows for certain where that 16 inches starts. And whether the individual who hammered the stud in was using a tape measure or merely eyeballing, or maybe trying to stretch a dollar just a bit by saving that one 12-foot stud for the next job.
So, five people are required to hang a painting. Four people to offer suggestions and opinions, who will hold, balance or otherwise get in the way, and who believe the certainty that houses are built on studs 16 inches apart.
The fifth is one who is willing to operate a drill like a brain surgeon, carefully exploring the mysteries that lay beneath the paint on the wall. The first four people are fairly expendable. That last one must have the patience of Job, cat-like reflexes to balance a drill, tape measure, pencil, and to juggle questions from the audience.
Another myth is that this job will only take a few minutes.
Yet five people putting the totality of their skills together can accomplish much, and commissioned paintings of cabin views can be hung with certainty in lovely homes.
And that is a fact.
I've been sharing the odds and ends of my art life for the last 8 years.