Sunday, February 22, 2009

Painting the Ceiling


my beard turns up to heaven; my nape falls in,
fixed on my spine: my breastbone visibly
grows like a harp: a rich embroidery
bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin.

from Michelangelo's Poem: On the Painting of the Sistine Chapel.

I know how he felt. I've just finished the second coat of paint on the kitchen ceiling. Thankfully with modern ceiling paint there are fewer brush drops to bedew the face.

The colour is white, brilliant white as it says on the tin, not angels or hands touching hands just plain white. Someone gave me great advice about painting once he said "Always paint away from the light" or was it "towards the light" I forget. I just get lost on the ceiling, miss bits, paint different parts in different directions then have difficulty figuring out which bits I've painted, which bits have not been painted and which bits have been but have dried.

Remember these great lines by Franz Liebkind in The Producers: "Churchill! With his cigars, with his brandy. And his ROTTEN painting! Rotten! Hitler, THERE was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! TWO COATS!"

Poetry while painting? Hardly though there is a great view of my sycamore tree from the kitchen window. I began to wonder if it could be used to make a coffin, mine actually. Not immediately you understand but whenever. Wouldn't it be nice to bring some of the tree with me. Then I began to think of coffins I have helped to carry. I must look up sycamore wood on the internet.

Well you do need some light relief when painting ceilings.
Wonder what Michelangelo thought about day after day.

Sistine Chapel here. More on Michelangelo here.

5 comments:

Paddy Smith said...

Re coffin and sycamore: OR you could send your query to the Editor of a magazine I've heard of: it's called Crann, and it's the national tree magazine, a quarterly. High editorial and production values very evident throughout. Not sure how to pronounce it, though. I would say Cron, others Crown. They're doing an alphabet of trees but they're only at M for the forthcoming issue so it will be a while before they reach sycamore. Would you settle for a coffin made from maple? Oak, maybe?

Michael Farry said...

Thanks Paddy. Does this magazine, possibly also pronounced cran as in cran of herrings (krăn), publish poems on trees? Perhaps it might initiate a tree poetry competition with tree prizes.

Dubois said...

Hello, I liked your description of ceiling painting. I have many examples of such painting on my ceilings, different brush marks, corners I have missed, places I have touched up and stains. Stains everywhere from roofs that have leaked, a sauce bottle that opened suddenly and other things unmentionable.

Fiona colgan said...

Dad! Don't be so macarbre (did I spell that right?!)

BarbaraS said...

Did you know that you can get ceiling paint that's pink that dries to a white. So you can see where you've been...