Nicole and I were getting a drink at the Farm, which is fast becoming a sacred tradition, when I glanced up and saw a wonderful painting. Actually, it was really a painting, but more of a repetition of images of cows and stop signs that looked like they were photocopied onto a painted-red canvas. What is that, I thought.

Oh, right, it’s silkscreening, I realized. Something that many of my friend’s have done over the years but I’ve only taken a passing interest in.

How to silkscreen

But now, for whatever reason, I feel compelled to learn how to do it. How to transfer images from photographs onto a canvas and get that lived-in look. Would that make me a the kind of person who could proudly say, “I’m very handy”?

(When we were going through the process of buying our apartment last year we were thankfully aided by my mother’s cousin’s husband, a real estate lawyer who handled us at no charge. He’s a nice guy and obviously did us a big favor, but I couldn’t get over his propensity to tell us about the new house he’d recently purchased upstate, and to describe, in harrowingly boring detail, the work he’d done on the place. “I’m very handy,” he would immodestly tell us.)

So I’ve been researching how to silkscreen, and I’ve realized it’s a painfully involved process.

With words like emulsion, mesh count, and degreasing agent, I don’t know where to start. Please, give me direction. I just want to transfer photographs to painted canvas. Is that asking too much?