Opening a new can of Gamblin cold wax, my preferred medium for oil paints, is like opening a new can of hope. It's full of potential for learning, creating, experiencing the ebbs and flows of artistic endeavor.
You pry off the top and almost hesitate to mar the surface, all smooth and peaceful there. It's like a new container of ice cream or peanut butter, like it's perfect as is, and now you're going to stick a knife in and ruin it? What's wrong with you?!
But you do ruin it, scooping out a bit to match the paint on the palette, and you mix it together into a delightful paste.
Let me digress here for a minute and reminisce about the mess my father could make on a dinner plate. He used to pour on some sorghum, glop on some honey, and heap on some butter, and he'd stir it and stir it, talking all the while about how good that nasty goop was going to be on a biscuit, and darned if he wasn't right.
Back to the wax—I just opened this can yesterday afternoon and stopped to think about all the things that have happened while I worked with the now empty can, which I opened right after finishing pieces for a gallery showing. It seems like years ago, but it hasn't been that long—we got a puppy, we lived through a pandemic, we moved twice, we retired early (I like to clarify "early" to point out we are still youngish), and I've amassed a lovely collection of paintings in all that time.
Now, this new can can only provide potential to keep going and to keep creating, to keep learning from each experience, and to worry less and less about digging in with the knife and making a big mess.