It is what it is…

Cartoon for an oil painting of Dr. Bernard Plansky removing my surgical staples.

By the time you read this, I will be snoring softly under a general anesthetic while the very gifted Dr. Eugene P. Toy takes a sharp knife to my innards.

This is my sixth surgery in fourteen years. If a stranger told me that, I’d think either he was suffering from Münchausen syndrome or had had so much plastic surgery that he ought to look as good as Michael Jackson.  But neither is true here. Nor am I particularly worried. This is a horrible clanger in my schedule, but I’m confident that I’m in God’s hands.

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. That includes not just nail polish, but greyscale markers, drawing paper, and a sketchbook. And my list of paintings.
I did the above cartoon after a memorable day with our family doctor, Dr. Bernard Plansky, in 2000. (He’s the guy responsible for catching my first cancer after an internist and gastroenterologist missed it; if you object to my presence here, take it up with him.) Rather than drive back to Roswell Park to have my staples removed, I asked him to do it.

He had a resident with him whose job was basically to hold my hand to stop me from whining. Dr. Plansky asked if the resident could pull a few staples for the experience. I’m all for apprenticeship, so of course I said yes. But my deal was that I got to remove one myself. The great blessing of my life is that even the darkest times end up being a little absurd, and thus filled with laughter.

I  made canvases for my spring show before my hospitalization. That’s nine large linen canvases in the back, and bunch of sketch boards in the front. They’ll be totally dry by the time I get home. I plan just to draw in hospital, but if they don’t spring me fast enough, I’ll bring in contraband art supplies.
I never painted this self-portrait, but I still like the idea. However, it has to wait until I’m done with my current project. To that end, I’ve made nine beautiful big linen canvases. I’ve toned them and my sketch boards. They’ll be thoroughly dry when I get home. I’ve packed my sketchbook and my greyscale markers. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in Maine in 2014 or Rochester at any time. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops!