Tags: Barton Cutter, creative play, disability, disability and arts, disability and humor, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability and visual arts, fun, inclusive arts, inclusive visual arts, play, vision, wheelchairs
Yesterday, Megan and I got bitten by the bug of our own- inner-playfulness. A beautifully bright November Day, we couldn’t help but be outside, and we got the urge to finally pull out an art project, which had been mulling around in the back of our minds for several months.
The ingredients: two tubes of acrylic paint, one roll of brown construction paper, eight heavy-duty 3’x4’ sheets of paper doubling as canvases, one paint pan, one paintbrush, and most importantly, my power chair.
We cleared off a flat spot in our driveway, taped down the construction paper, and proceeded to paint my front tire, which then, served as my painting instrument of choice as I rolled, paint-filled, across the naked white.
It was a blast!
All those years of my childhood, when I drove through water puddle after water puddle and drew designs on the pavement with the wet of my tracks at once exploded into life with new Technicolor intent. My goal- a perfectly straight track mark impeccably placed upon the white canvas. I would roll into position, tire poised at the edge of the canvas as Megan slapped fresh paint onto my newly retreaded tires. And once adequately covered, I would grab my joystick and mimicking a Zen master drawing an enso circle, let out a deep breath and drew back crossing the crisp white canvas blindly.
Canvas after canvas, Megan and I repeated the process like two kindergartners enthralled with their own finger-painting. How wonderful it is to be married to someone who can throw culture to the wind, and get down and dirty with some good, clean fun!
Tags: disability, disability and humor, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability and visual arts, inclusive arts, inclusive visual arts, Megan Cutter, play, wheelchairs
Our art project actually began several months ago as more of a creative and inspirational art project. We decided to go to the craft store together, and adding on a few more errands, I drove while Barton walked. Once arriving and hearing the “I was almost hit by a semi who jumped the sidewalk” story, I was just a little hesitant at whether or not this was worth it. And I was a little hesitant about whether or not we would find what we needed.
It’s not everyday you hear a customer ask, “If we wanted to paint his wheels to create an imprint- what kind of paper and paint would we use?”
While we relaxed over the Thanksgiving holiday and seeped into the fall sun and leaves, we were both inspired yesterday. As Barton mentioned, we hauled out all our supplies to the driveway, picking the square with the least number of cracks and set out everything we needed. As we prepared our canvas, I saw Barton’s excitement rise to the occasion. He was figuring out the perfect angle, timing and method as I was setting everything off to the side.
We did a test run on brown construction paper, and adjusted our methods accordingly. With each print, we scoured over what was the best section and how it fared in comparison with the others. The wind was blowing, and more than once the canvas blew into me- I had paint on my hands, jeans, and feet. Emerging from setting the print down inside the house, I found Barton, giddy over what the next one would produce.
After a while, we created this dance- Barton would move into his exact spot, I would paint the treads, and he would roll backwards by just a fraction. I could complete the splattering. In one movement, he rolled backwards, we assessed the outcome, I would pull of the tape and hold it so it wouldn’t fly into me, find a spot in the house where the dogs couldn’t reach, and emerge to begin the process again. It was a perfect dance.
On the last print, Barton painted the bottom of my foot with the Indigo ink to include a footprint. He held the paintbrush in his mouth, and I sat on the concrete holding my foot in his lap while he brushed on the ink, cold to my toes. As I added my footprint, I felt the same giddiness as Barton.
This was such a different feeling for me. So much of my life has been serious and in some ways I had been unconsciously taught for it to be filled with work- get a job, manage life and deadlines, it should be serious and feel like work. Blah, blah, bah humbug.
But this was amazing- it felt free, and I felt inspired to write and create. I began to shed the adult shackles of crankiness and live into the play I had so much resisted.
Sunday was our seventh anniversary! And- we both crashed! The past few weeks have been exceptionally busy. We’ve had a variety of projects, meetings, workshops, and ended with Barton’s conference in Wilmington. Of course there were jokes about the weather- no hurricanes this year (although apparently there was a tropical storm that never made it to shore).
Since we do not have a van, I went along to make sure Barton was where he needed to be during the day, and snuck away during the day to get some of my own work and writing done. And, discovering that One Tree Hill was filming a block from the hotel, I admit I played hooky for a day to watch production set up.
When Barton’s conference ended on Thursday afternoon, we made a beeline for the beach, any time for a moment of rest & relaxation. As we watched the ocean waves from the hotel room balcony, we couldn’t help to smile and be amazed at the past year, full of adventure, excitement and a rollercoaster ride of events (from returning to a tornado-torn Tuscaloosa, removing a backyard tree only to realize that the floor of our house is sinking in, and transforming our business).
That evening, we enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant, taking time out to celebrate where we are in our lives, how close we have felt to each other the past year, and dreams and goals we have for this next year. It’s easy when there is a lot going on to run into the next project, skipping over the celebration. And taking the evening to celebrate was just what we needed.
I couldn’t help waking up just before sunrise to greet the sun from our hotel room- taking a moment to feel the gratitude of where we are in our crazy lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way- and in all of the events this past year, to feel as close to Barton as I do now, is just amazing. What a phenomenal life!
Even while we were relaxing on the patio Friday morning, we were working on an article together, weaving our stories and work. Before we left, it was warm enough to sit in rocking chairs on the veranda, and we watched dolphins play in the water.
By the time we made it to the weekend- home and unpacked, we were exhausted, and while we had all of this exciting and fun stuff planned for Saturday and Sunday, we just crashed.
And you know what, it’s perfectly okay. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because tomorrow we will wake up, grab a cup of coffee, enjoy the day (and work)– together.