Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On House Cleaning

I cleaned my house, so I took photos to document the rare event.  I have a hard time cleaning, but there's lots to take from Taoist and Zen writings about it.  It's all about the moment, and not the final product.  Years ago I watched a film called Enlightenment Guaranteed about two brothers who stay at a Zen monastery for a while.  Their days are filled with meditating and chores.  The one actor was also in the film Men! which I saw decades ago.  It's about a guy who uses an alias and moves in with the guy who's having an affair with his wife.  I tried it in a philosophy class once to discuss ethics.  Reactions were mixed.

Back to Enlightenment:  One message they learn is that it doesn't matter that someone walks across the floor right after you just cleaned it.  The point was in the cleaning not in the having it cleaned.  That helps.  Because it's never over, it seems fruitless.  It helps to consider that the purpose of housecleaning is something greater than just to have the house clean.  But it is nice to actually see the rooms and not the mess.

Anyway, here's my weird house.  When I was a kid, I begged my mom to let me paint murals on my bedroom wall.  Now nobody stops me from painting them everywhere!  I have no ability to create art, just barely enough skill to copy it.  When I was in grade 3, my teacher was sick once, and a crazy supply teacher, too old to care about rules, came and did her own thing.  Instead of reading and math, she brought a slide projector full of artwork and we all just talked about art - at 8!  When she shone the Picasso's Three Musicians, the first wall below, it opened my eyes in a whole to way to the world.  I've never looked back.

When I went to a Picasso exhibit in Ottawa years ago, I saw this painting, and I was delighted that it's the exact dimensions of my basement wall.  So here it is.  It's unfortunate that the dog's hidden behind the couch, but we have to sit somewhere.  There are speakers in the wall that I painted over.  They cost a small fortune to install, and I think we only used them once.

I gutted my bathroom over Easter weekend this past spring.  This is Matisse's Dance except here it's more square-ish and about a third of the size.  Also, I painted with leftover wall paint, not oils.  But it's still a nice view when you're sitting a spell.

Some artwork of a different kind - I tiled the tub with little pebbles.  But the best part was cutting pieces of flagstone for the shelves!

I didn't do this one - I had a woodworker build me a chest of drawers to fit perfectly into my tiny bathroom, then cut a hole for a sink in the top.  I did, however, have to do the staining and finishing.

I added three bathing nudes by the toilet.

This room gave me grief for years. It was my old bedroom, but after I added a one-room addition over the mud room, it became a useless pass through to the bedroom and attic. Finally, I think I figured out what to do with it. There's a workspace in the opposite corner.

And a secret closet behind more Picasso paintings (for the cost of just the canvas).

Could there be more blue in my house?

Yes, I think so.

A bit of a colour change with the bedroom, but there's yet another Picasso over the headboard.  You don't need to see it.

And the living (more blue!) and dining room with cat.  I cleaned off the table just for him.

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