I remember when a friend of mine was in the process of building his restaurant. I stopped by three days prior to opening night and, quite frankly, I was in shock. There was restaurant stuff everywhere; booths needed assembling, kitchen equipment was sitting in the middle of the main dining room, boxes of glassware were heaped in the corner, bits were over there, and stuff was over here. Some items had yet arrived. I actually felt sorry for him. I recollect thinking to myself he would never pull it off because the place was disassembled and in pure chaos.

I also recall glancing to the far corner of the main dining room. There sat one table that was properly set—replete with a full setting for two. The table included the salt and pepper shakers, and white linen napkins, pressed and laid immaculately inside their fine rings. It was beautiful. The most important thing to me was that I was placated, thinking, “If the whole restaurant ends up to that table as its standard, this place is going to be wonderful.” That vignette actually eased my fears for him.

When I arrived opening night, I was overcome with relief. Nothing was out of place. Nothing was unkempt. Nothing was disassembled or stacked. The staff was buzzing about the floor, breezing in and out of the swinging doors to a kitchen that was bustling. Drinks were flowing to all the immaculately set tables. Customers knew nothing of the controlled panic from two days prior that likely lasted until the very moment the front doors opened. I was wowed.

The only remaining sign of how fast it all came together were the dark rings under my friend’s eyes.

As I describe this story of that restaurant, I also describe the current condition of my painting. It looks, now, exactly as did that restaurant when I stopped by and had such little confidence my friend could pull it off.

I’ve got all of my color swatches properly laid onto the water, ripples chosen and ready for the all important transitions. So, I know what colors are to be where. The sun’s almost finished. I’ve left empty the hunter and Labrador because they’re the last to arrive. And, I have the boat ready to be filled in as soon as the water’s complete—that must frame the boat, dog, and hunter in full shadow.

And, as was with the finished vignette I saw in the corner of my friend’s restaurant, I see the same within a small portion of the marsh. If this small section of the marsh sets a standard for the rest of the painting and it’s met, well then maybe you will be placated.

I understand you may find this painting in pure chaos right now. But, I’m quite happy with the individual pieces laying about—the swatches if you will. And, it’s okay if metaphorically, the dishes are in boxes because I’ve every confidence it will all snap together quickly, and neatly. Therefore, I’m quite happy with the chaos found inside this painting’s current condition.