"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Studio Dreams

Like all artists, I dream of the perfect studio. You know, one of those romantic, airy, high-ceilinged lofts, with plenty of space for all your artistic endeavors. Tall windows would face north, naturally, for that special North Light so important to getting colors just right. The floors would be wood, stained with decades of use (maybe the building had been an old factory in its previous life). There would be tables of different sizes and heights, one for wet painting, one for dry work. A separate station for working jewelry, with all supplies handy. An easel for larger works, oh, and a sewing station for doing costumes and refashioning pre-bought clothing. Well, you get the idea. A space for everything, and everything in its space. Oh, and just downstairs would be a coffee house, where I could nip down for a nice cup of hot Chai Tea (Sorry, I don’t do coffee).

Dream on, girl.

What I have is a far cry from anything remotely like that dream. I have a room. A small room. It is the darkest, coldest room in the house, hence the mango wall color—my attempt to warm up the place and think tropical. This room is also the computer room, writing room, accounting room, costume room, floral supply/storage room, and the pirate den. The walls are lined with various storage units, and the closet—doors removed—is full of storage units and costumes.

My “studio” is a table in this room. When I do jewelry, it is cluttered with tools, wire, beads, findings, etc. When I work in my art journals, it is littered with stamps, pencils, paper, watercolor Crayons, clip art, glue sticks and rolls of double-sided tape. If I could do any sewing (currently my sewing machine is out of commission), then said table would hold my portable machine, patterns, pins, material and possibly sketches of what the finished garment might look like. And many, many times, it is littered with bits and pieces of all of the above, which is its current state—well, except for the sewing stuff.

However, I am grateful that I have my little multipurpose room. At least I can leave stuff out on the table, walk away, and come back to it later. If I had to work on the dining room table, or anywhere else in the house, I’d have to put everything away, come back later, and dig it all out again. Big pain in the butt. Also, having the computer, scanner and printer in the same room is very handy, as I use all of them in my artwork.

So, I turn on the Probe-Droid (my portable CD/radio/tape player, which looks like something out of Star Wars, hence the name), pop in some music or a book on tape, and I play away at whatever I’m working on at the time, very grateful for this small, but “all mine” space.

Do I continue to dream of that romantic loft with unlimited space and perfect light? Sure. What artist doesn’t? It’s why I still have the big, tilt-top drafting table my husband bought for me at an auction. There is no way it would fit anywhere in our house. But it stands for the dream, so I hang on to it. Hmmm, maybe I’ll set it up in the garage, which since its remodel last summer is now insulated, and has tons of bright lighting, and two large windows—even if they do face south instead of north. Yeah, then I could at least move my bigger projects out there, not worry about spilling paint on the floor, and pretend there is a coffeehouse just around the block, instead of eleven miles away in town.

Now, if I could just get my husband to park his truck out in the driveway.... Ah well, there is still the dream.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wardrobe Analysis=Morticia Picks Out My Clothes

Have you ever stood back and really looked at the wardrobe hanging in your closet? I had occasion to do so the other day, and an obvious fact became apparent. If a total stranger looked in my closet, they would think the only reason I get dressed is to attend funerals.

Most of the items hanging there are black, brown, gray, dark blue, or dark purple. A few bright spots of turquoise or green might sneak in, or maybe a hint of red, but they are overshadowed by the overpowering “noir” theme of everything else. In summer this dark palette lightens up a little with T-shirts and tank tops, but summer doesn’t last very long in the Pacific Northwest. The lights stay hibernating most of the year.

I live in sweatpants and sweatshirts. Or jeans and sweatshirts. Or cargo pants and sweatshirts. You see the trend. Occasionally I do “clean up” and wear jeans and a nice sweater. Until recently, other than the two fancy dresses I bought five years ago to wear on formal evenings while on a cruise, I owned only one dress—a loose, sleeveless summer floral my husband bought for me at the Orange Co., Calif. swap meet, the weekend of Princess Diana’s funeral. To remedy that, a few months ago I bought a nice simple day dress, in muted shades of blues and browns, with a charcoal python pattern overlaid. This sounds hideous, but is actually quite lovely. But again, colors that are subdued...funereal.

I also rarely wear prints. There are a few lurking within the darker ranks, but they are mainly black designs on white, or the reverse, or black on gray. This is probably because I am a jewelry nut, and prefer my jewelry to stand out against a plain background. But in all honesty, I have never been a big fan of prints, unless it’s a discrete one. Giant red poppies would never make it into my closet, let alone onto my body.

As a rule, I never wear white. I do own two white blouses, bought for the aforementioned cruise, which I have hardly worn since. I NEVER wear white pants. It’s a disaster. Always. Dirt will fly from all directions to land on my white pants. Also, I’m so used to wearing jeans that I have a habit of wiping my hands on the rear-pockets. Do that in white pants, and it either looks like you brushed up against something really nasty, or looks like someone has grabbed your butt and left their hand print behind...literally.

So, since I have declared this to be a year of challenges, maybe I should challenge myself to get out of the Morticia Adams mode, and pick some clothes with a bit more color. That will not include yellow, peach, or orange, which make my skin tone go pasty, and has me looking like I’m dressed for my own funeral. But I’ve developed a penchant for lime green lately, so maybe a new sweatshirt in that? And I’ve always liked red, so there is another option. More turquoise, perhaps? Maybe I’ll get really rash and buy a new dress...in pale blue? Then again, I saw this really lovely one the other day in black, with panels in the skirt of white dots on black...  Hmmm, I wonder how much it costs?

Drat, maybe there is more of Morticia in me than I care to admit.

Oh, and yes, the walls of my bedroom really are red, although they are not so bright as this flash photo makes them appear. And I don’t have closet doors, I have lovely velvet curtains, that match the curtains over the window on the opposite wall. It’s all very romantic.