I have a couple of paintings in the queue right now, but I’m just not feeling it yet. That is to say, my studio is a mess and I can’t concentrate on anything until I get rid of the kids artwork (sorry kids!) and the dust bunnies and everything else (old printer) that gets shoved into that room because “studio” is also code for “dumping ground.”
So today I set about cleaning and organizing and mostly throwing out a bunch of art detritus. And as the horizontal surfaces started to re-emerge I remembered why I like this room so much and why it makes me happy to have my own little creative space. I also made a new commitment to direct the kids’ – uhh, creative energy – to other parts of the house.
To call my studio a studio is really just to make me feel more official-like as an artist. The truth is, it is formerly the formal living room (what my grandma calls The Front Room) and a couple of years ago I realized that my idea of having a pristine room “for company” didn’t really jive with the way we live. Firstly, I have two kids and I’m not one of those parents who is successful at getting their kids to play “in their rooms.” My kids want to be ON ME at all times, which is mildly annoying, but also pretty cute. Secondly, we never have company.
So when I decided to claim the front room for myself we sold the second couch on Craigslist, I bought an old oak teacher’s desk from a garage sale across the street and moved in. I love watching those HGTV shows when someone goes to The Container Store and spends thousands of dollars on workstations and organization. But since my style is more eclectic and I have the budget to match, I’ve had to be a little more creative. There’s the teacher’s desk, of course, which is solid oak
and weighs about a million pounds. The same neighbor had another garage sale about a year later and I bought an antique high boy dresser to use as flat storage. Someday I’ll refinish it, but in the meantime, I like the dings and scratches. I was visiting my grandma many years ago and found an art deco armoire at a yard sale for $40 and hauled it all the way back from Washington; now it holds canvases, inks and candles for the fireplace mantle. An old beer crock is great for holding rolled paper and mailing tubes. One of my favorites is my drafting table, which spent time in my room as a kid and also in my dad’s den; it’s made from an antique embalming table.
The studio is a work in progress. It doesn’t have good lighting, matching furniture or attractive shelving. Or curtains. But it does have an iPod dock, usually a cat or two curled up on my chair, my kids working on their “projects” in the corner – and potential.