Where am I gonna get paint now?

This is a story about the first time I walked out of a store and cried... I was fairly emotional for a while. Dick Blick art store closed at 5:00 last Saturday for good. The thing about Blick was that I loved going in there because it ignited a certain response from me; a sense of familiarity from mixed smells of paper, brushes, paint, canvas, pastels. I also knew the staff there pretty well. Yesterday I turned a corner and Bruce, the store owner, turned from the opposite direction and all I could say was, "Bruce! I'm speechless". He's a very dry and thoughtful man with wonderfully crazy hair and he responded in his sort of whispery voice, "You need a hug" - seriously, he did.

The day things went poorly with my house around Christmastime, I went there because I needed to be around something that made me feel at home. Bruce offered me a cup of coffee... in a retail store... I was offered a cup of coffee.

They were so good at what they did and I always found what I needed. I got advice on pieces I was working on, good thoughts as they related to arts and life and always a very hearty welcome when walking through the door. It really was an extension of home for me. It is no longer there.

I know this all sounds just ridiculous, but I'm quite broken up about it. Someone saw me after my hour and a half final roam of the store and stock-up of 50% off meterials and asked how my day was. I said, "It sucked and I'm a little sad." And then I started tearing up, and then laughing because it was a ridiculous story to tell. And yet, quite a few who know me, who knew the store was to be no more, have seriously come up to me and with every depth of sincerity have said, "I'm sorry for your loss." - I know it's not a person, but it was a personal entitiy that really brought something specific to our community. *sigh*

Thanks for letting me get that out.


kate said...

perhaps you will do what many families who live out of the way of places like grocery stores do and "stock up". i can see you organizing a once a month sojourn to welty's old stomping grounds to visit dick blick and get all of your necessities. it's funny because while most large families spend a large portion of their budget on food that feeds them, i can only assume that you spend a significant portion of your budget on art supplies that feed you.
the only thing missing in this master plan of mine is bruce...maybe he can be your co-pilot. a road trip with him would be fun. though, if you left him behind, you might walk away with what you brought up to the counter.
sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name...

Scottie said...

Kates got a point. But maybe, just maybe, the Dick Blick in Iowa City can help with the whole insprirational side of art shopping. They are too big to offer you hugs. But, the city and student atmosphere might just soothe that pain a little.

Jess when from all smiles to sad face as soon as I told her you weren't taking the Dick Blick loss so well. We will be dedicating the next paint stain on our garage floor to you.

Sorry for your loss.

Trisha Miller said...

jenny lane swift.

i think you should take all this emotion and single handly craft a piece dedicated to this.

i would call it something like "dick blick - its not dirty, it was an art store"

...but thats just me.
...and why i am not a painter.

Bekah said...

I had a dick blick card, but I've only been in there twice.

(and I'm staying with my Aunt)

Holly said...

Oh Jen...that seriously sucks. Glad you could be honest and open with all of us here in blogland. Thanks for your comment on the blog, I needed to hear what you had to stay as I'm suffering from some pretty serious stress. Thanks!

frecklejess said...

I'm really sad for you! I can feel your pain! I know exactly what you mean about the smells of home, and how there is so much comfort in the an art store. And not just any art store. You had friends there. you drank coffee there.

I flick a tear for you, and for the deceased dick blick.
Jess (who finds comfort in oil paints between her nails, and turpentine on her hands)