Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Part of my activity in the weeks since the Telluride workshop has been to clear out space in my studio. Most of this was the usual semiannual clean-up of accumulated stuff of no real value, and the organization of what remained. (The space is almost too clean at the moment, but I know that is only temporary!) I went a little farther, though, than in the past. I wanted to create a space whose openness reflects and enhances the receptivity that I seek in myself as I paint. I also wanted it to reflect the present clarity of purpose and mind, and the new connection with values and priorities, that are pulling me forward in my life. I got rid of more "stuff" than in the past -- a whole box of interesting, now very dusty bottles that I had accumulated over the years, for example. I also put a new shelf along the south side of the room above the windows, to hold the smaller paintings-in-process that need space to dry but also need to be accessible. This freed up counter space and made the whole room seem larger, oddly enough. The photo above shows the new addition.

By getting rid of a lot of detritus, the purpose of the room seems clearer. For whatever reason, it is a more welcoming space now, a space that encourages immersion into the painting process. My tools and materials are more easily at hand, and my notes to myself are  pinned to the bulletin board for easy consideration. Also, I threw away a lot of old work, keeping only a very few pieces that still seem to speak in a relevant way. A large step was getting rid of drawings and exercises that for years have constituted a kind of back-up justification for seeing myself as an artist: see, I can draw the human figure, I do know linear perspective. That past work had perhaps become a crutch that that I thought I needed to support my creativity, but that also had come to feel almost like an albatross about my neck. Getting rid of it was very freeing.

All this was also a prelude to being gone for a few weeks: Jerome and I are about to leave for an exploration of northwestern Spain that I know will bring new perceptions and thoughts. This house cleaning was in part to create room for that new input after we get home.

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