Rubber snake and stones on my studio desk...
A day to sink deeply into ones work is a blessing I am ever grateful for - even if its a day of cleaning the studio. Yesterday I built shelves in the new tool shed. Mountains of shovels, tarps, gardening gloves, clay pots, extension cords, rakes, scythes, seeds and sundries were hung on hooks, arranged on shelves and emptied from my studio. For years I've been dreaming of a studio not cluttered with things one would store in the garage or the basement - if one had such spaces. My house is on posts, so, nothing but a hole underneath where a basement might have been. My friend Donna suggested I add a few chicken legs to the posts to complete the Baba Yaga house transformation... (I do like skulls by the way, but they are not surrounding my house, in case you were wondering) Today, after months of waiting, I cleaned, re-organized and began to feel myself moving towards a new body of work waiting to be born. After a few years of profound transformation, I feel different, and I saw this reflected in how my studio came back to life. Its different. The lack of tools is evident,
but something else as well,
something subtle - something new.
I got rid of things, I cleaned, I covered tables with kraft paper, I found boxes for pens and paints and shells and bark and all the things I collect. I hung burlap on one wall and made an inspiration altar of sorts. I burned incense and listened to lovely Early Italian Medieval dance music and didn't mind the light rain falling on the tin roof
and the damp and puffed up Pasha cat
needing to be let in and out
a hundred times during the day
so as not to feel left out.
As a student, I remember being told, when in doubt, draw. I would add, when in serious doubt of what to draw - clean, re-organize or create an inspiring studio space. Having decided not to heat my studio last winter I have been working at a desk inside, fine for drawing or small paintings, but not for my sometimes large watercolors. My process is too messy, I work on several at a time and it just doesn't work for me in a clean space with a nice rug. Not to mention the open floor plan in the house (not many doors!)
and agile kitty curious about whatever I am working on.
(Before this winter serious weatherizing
of windows, new door and an
efficient heater are needed)
So its been months since I have used this space.
Ebbs and flows of work and tides and inspiration. I've been thinking about my particularly cyclical life and how it demands I not get too comfortable in a routine. It helps me to break out of habits in art-making, which is particularly true this winter of not heating the studio. I think it was useful, it freed me up to experiment and play and do other things that will inform my painting. I had inklings today of images and thoughts to follow and I bring the freedom of my winter exploration into my studio,
breathing new life into my process.
There are many forest stories to tell as well,
but tonight its time for dreaming,
I leave you with an image from a sketchbook
from a few years ago,
found today while cleaning.
A forest story told in ink and bamboo brush....