When I pioneered the process of skainting[TM] (applying paint to flat surfaces by using roller skates), I knew I was taking a gamble. I have major back problems, and I suspected that even though movement for me is far superior to sedentary inaction, skating would be the wrong type of movement, even though I was fairly proficient on skates in my earlier days.
I was right: it was wrong. The type of exercise that most benefits my back is bicycling. So why not modify the process to employ a bike? I did just that, and "bainting"[TM] was born.
Wind whips across the abandoned, crumbling stretch of roadway that has become the province of bicyclists and walkers. And of asphalt artists who have painted patterns, runes, and zoomorphic shapes along the way.
My son, Sean, and I prepare to ride half the length of the stretch. We have two bikes: one an old Schwinn mountain bike that will apply the paint; the other will tow six gallons of heavy latex and related equipment: plastic bottles, funnels, water, etc. The Bob trailer is loaded with about 50 pounds of materials. In a little more than a mile, we reach our spot: a section of slightly sloping pavement.
We put up signs to warn approaching hikers and bikers of wet paint ahead and then get ready.
I have fabricated a rack for the bike that will hold four half-gallon bottles, each of which has one large and one small hole drilled in the base. The holes are covered with duct tape. We fill two bottles--one with shocking pink, the other with fluorescent green. I prepare to ride; my assistant rips off the tape.
Paint starts to flow in thin streams; I ride in patterns around the pavement. Whipping winds send paint streams sideways before they settle on the asphalt and on the rear tire and derailleur, which are soon colorfully caked. I should have thinned the house paint, as the flow is phlegmatic. But it enables us to make numerous passes before the latex is expended.
We pour blue into the green bottle and orange into the pink. Residual pink and green initially mix with the preceding colors until blue and orange are flowing. We add water to the bottles, thinning the paint, quickening the outpour, and creating amoebalike blotches of color. Sean pours paint into a funnel and runs around the area as paint falls Pollock-style. We then affix the funnel to the rear of the rack and pour in deep purple, which pulses out in fat, fast flows.
The finished product is a rough semicircle of hues, some left over from an earlier test run and an even earlier skainting session. A section of the "canvas" can be seen in the accompanying film photo taken by Sean and cross-processed.
Plans are in the works to demolish the old roadway and create a two-mile gravel path in its place, in which case, our bainting will vanish, except in photographic memory. (A youtube video and showing bainting in action is available at Web Link; a skainting video is at Web Link)
Before demolition day, I'll likely be adding some more bicycle/bottle-dispensed hues to my work in progress.
John A. Barry is a writer and process artist. To share anything art-related or to pitch a story idea, call him at 314-9528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This story contains 600 words.
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