Sometime in the middle of the night

Andrew Conti Artist

Sometimes in the middle of the night, when I don’t want to wake my sleeping daughter and wife, nothing seems to make a sound. The floor doesn’t creak and every door I open floats as if unattached to the house. Moving through the air silently. I watch my feet as I walk, aware of the cushioning of my thin socks.

Paint at this hour always seems to flow better, and always seems to reflect more light. The full-spectrum fluoresence in my studio seem to find a shattered mirror of homes on the surface of every little lump of paint I spread on my painting table. Something about the quiet of this hour also seems to ripen the smell of paints too. Even in the acrylics I often work with the smell in the early morning tells you much more about the nature of its manufacture and contents.

There is always a fear with painting at night too. Like you could wake up at some point and be left with some horrible shit-strewn joke that you would quickly move to scrape and douse with turpentine. You can get into states when you are painting instead of sleeping when you see the glow of lights and aren’t quite sure you are seeing right. Perhaps you are working without any kind of actual clear focus – as though your eyes have gone dizzy alone.

But the quiet reassures. You hear your breath, and the scratch of a brush, and the bass-y muddle of knocks against a jar when you clean your brush.There is a soft thump and stride of the brush on the canvas, like a far-off taiko drum, or a heart and body moving on its own.

But other than that, its all quietness. Paint, your body, and the canvas, all that stirs, and around it a kind of soft stifling pillow of calm and silent night. Melding together into a quiet rhythm of work.

During the day though, everything screams.