“Things I am thankful for…” aaahh yes…the stereotypical “Thanksgiving” homework assignment you get every year until you reach high-school. To be honest, I kept putting off this blog post because I felt like I was back in 5th grade trying to figure out what to write that would be different from everybody else’s paper. Oh Jaya, still striving for that “A” are we? Maybe it’s just me but I find that when the holidays come around people get a little bit wack-a-doo. Perhaps my jaded attitude comes from working retail for 15 years and what I get to look forward to is counting how many times the radio plays “Last Christmas” by Wham. FYI: It begins playing the day after Thanksgiving until the morning after Christmas. Ergo, the holidays are pretty low-key for me. I get excited when Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s come around because it’s an extra day off to paint. As this week passed I thought about today’s blog post and how I could really make it stand out. I do some of my best brainstorming during my commute to work and I kept coming back to one thing: I need more time to paint. I love to paint. I love painting in my studio. I love my studio. Thank goodness for my studio. Huzzah! Blog post!
I’ve always had some sort of art studio/room/allocated creative space but it’s never been extremely effective. My so-called “studio” was actually the “catch-all” room in the house where I dumped my art supplies and anything else I didn’t want to look at for the next year. I had to root around for brushes, paint color, or whatever tool I was looking for all the while wiping off whatever film of dust had accumulated. Why on earth would I want to go in there? I actually hated going into my studio. This year I got fed up and finally decided I’d do something about it so I marched into my studio and began straightening. And cleaning. And throwing things away. And organizing. And labeling. I could see the floor. I made a deal with myself: on my days off I’d spend an hour organizing the studio so it becomes an effective workspace. My studio became a member’s only club: only the most inspiring implements of creativity allowed in here. If it’s something I hadn’t used in a while I’d pack it up, label it, and get it out. It wasn’t too long until my workspace was beginning to look ship-shape and I could find what I was looking for when I walked in the room. Sheesh, I was actually able to walk into the room without tripping over boxes or canvases or knocking over frames – this was a feat unto itself! Eventually I began painting the walls, hanging art and feathering my nest. Not bad! I might actually get some work done in here…
As the months passed I grew obsessed with making my studio the best workspace it could possibly be. ”What do I need to do to make the next time I sit down to create easy and welcoming?” This is the question I ask myself when I stand in the doorway looking inside. For example, sometimes I’ll leave paint or tools strewn about the place. Before I get rolling on another project I’ll put those items back where they’re supposed to go and not in a box, not shoved off to the side. I know that good studio space is like gold to an artist and not everybody has the perfect set-up of their dreams. I’m fortunate to have a tiled room that I can dedicate to art and I try not to take that for granted. This entails respecting the room by using it and keeping it functional. For the first time in years I’ve spent entire days painting in my studio, relishing in the space I’ve created. Sometimes my umbrella cockatoo, Angel, will sit on a chair and keep me company. Usually my girls will roost on my area rug and I will work around them. When I am in my studio I am focused and the hours pass quickly.
I am learning that a studio is a work-in-progress, like a garden. It is something to be nourished, loved and cared for. It’s easy to let the weeds grow but you have to keep after them. It also helps when you have a strong support system which is something else that mustn’t be taken for granted. I know I do this sometimes, especially with my husband. Thank you to my family for their continual encouragement in my artistic life, thank you for believing in me, thank you to my patient husband who lets me and my art supplies take over the house. Thank you for letting me interrupt your movies or televised sporting event to show you some microscopic detail I changed that couldn’t wait until a commercial. Thank you for being my cameraman, sherpa, fan club, punching bag, personal chef, and technical support. This studio wouldn’t be the same without the strength of my family and especially my husband. Ok, enough gooeyness, now pass me a turkey leg!