Shiny Object Saturday: van Dyck and a Squeegee

I’m not sure why I’m so surprised to find that my second Shiny Object Saturday subject is another home labor-saving device.  It probably has much to do with my being born under the sun sign Cancer. (Did anyone else devour this book as a teenager?) We’re reputed to be homebodies, and I think I am, essentially, the mold. When I’m away from home, I can’t wait to get back. It’s not even so much that I need all of my things around me (though I do get very attached).  It has more to do with being centered, I think. I need my own kitchen. I need my family. I even need to be surrounded by our obstreperous but sweet dogs and naughty, fearless cat. I need a stationary place from which I can safely ponder the world’s beauties and vagaries.

So here’s my Shiny Object. It’s definitely appropriate for seeing the world more clearly, don’t you think?

Yes, it’s a squeegee. Technically, it’s called a Window Wand, and I don’t know why I haven’t already owned one for decades.  The fluffy white side soaks up cleaning solution (ammonia and water). The other side squeegees the window dry after one has slopped solution all over the grubby window. What a satisfying process! Dip. Splat. Scrape. Repeat all the way down the window. Oh, and wipe the blade clean/dry after each scrape to avoid lines and streaks.

In the past, I’ve been a Windex girl. But it takes a whole lot of Windex and paper towels to clean our windows–particularly the ones that look out on our dusty oil-and-chip driveway. Not to mention the interior doggy nose prints that run in a smudgy line across the glass about 18″ off the floor. Having discovered how wonderfully ammonia and water work on glass, I can’t wait for one of the Windex spray bottles to empty so I can fill in with the ammonia/water mixture. Maybe I’ll squirt in some blue food coloring for old times’ sake.

It all started with my office-painting project. A window is a part of a wall, so it was only natural that it get spruced up, too. Of course, having the outdoors framed in a sparkle-bright window leads one to thinking about other things on the walls. And so after doing such a killer job on the windows yesterday afternoon, today I turned to hanging up artwork and arranging photos.

Which leads me to the van Dyke:

Rinaldo and Armida is one of my favorite van Dyke paintings. I love the circular movement in it, the urgent way the figures press to one side of the frame as though they can’t resist the forces coming at them from the right. The work screams tragedy. Drama. Plus, it has a mermaid.

I have a framed, poster version of this painting from a 1991 National Gallery show of van Dyck’s work. For years it has hung on various walls of our various houses, most recently in our common room just above the family computer. But I gathered it into my freshly-painted office today because I want it closer to me. I’ll kind of miss the frank, innocent stares from my son’s friends–I’d be willing to bet that not one of them has a classical naked mermaid hanging on a wall at home. But I want it for its energy and sumptuous colors. I know it will make my office an even more pleasant place to be.

As I wiped down the picture’s outer glass (Windex–my fab squeegee wasn’t the tool for the job), I realized that I had taken my office’s entire new color scheme directly from the painting. It’s all there: the reds, the varied shades of blue, and a shade of gold that’s very similar to what I put on my office walls. (Buttercup, is what a Twitter friend called it. I can live with that.) I was momentarily alarmed, but now I’m comforted. I mean, why wouldn’t I want van Dyke to design my office? I’m always willing to learn from my elders.

I’ll be finishing up a few projects around here over the next week and will post some new office pics. Pinckney, the hubby and erstwhile Chekhov of Appalachia has promised me a blog about publishing his latest book with Press 53, the nice folks who also publish our Surreal South series. And we’ll both be reading at the Delmar Lounge (St. Louis, U-City Loop Area)  Noir at the Bar event  this coming Thursday night. We never, ever get to read together–can’t wait!

Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend!

2 thoughts on “Shiny Object Saturday: van Dyck and a Squeegee”

  1. Hey beautiful,

    That’s so cool about you and Pinckney reading together! As for washing windows, I love it. I love cleaning for some reason. And YES on the great Linda Goodman. Taurus — homebody deluxe!

  2. carmar76 says:

    I love squeegeeing (word?) my car windows, but any kind of cleaning at home gives me hives. *laugh*
    That’s so neat, you two getting to read together! Makes me wish I was closer & could pop in to St. Louis!

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