The walls in the studio are white and it’s not hard for me to leave them bare. The space is clean, nicely lit, but it’s nothing special. It’s a spare bedroom, for goodness sake, in a boxy apartment.
On the weekend of a recent Artists Studio Show, I had the opportunity to see the studio spaces of ‘real’ artists. People painted in their basements, in the attic, off the kitchen in old mud rooms. One had taken over what looked like a family room. Even with that space, the room was filled with shelving and storage bins, a long strip of corkboard on which ideas were pinned. A work table took up the centre of the room. Another artist, working with fibres and textiles, had moved her sewing machine and materials storage structure into a storefront art gallery. That woman had the best, albeit temporary, space.
I’ve worked in the window of a dry cleaners, hemming slacks and putting in half-pockets and new zippers. I’ve painted in the studios of Zavitz Hall on the campus at University of Guelph, in the underground mall at Lakehead University. I’ve gone into my daughter’s school and drawn the classrooms, and picked up drawing lessons at in the old rooms above London’s The Arts Project. All public spaces with a purpose.
With a studio in my home, the space remains private for the most part. One doesn’t invite strangers in, or have them peering through a window. The room has been reclaimed from being a mere storage area, filled with clutter. It’s clean and I have space in there to think. Yet I find more distractions. It’s a little too easy to leave a project and start lunch early. The dressmaker Judy has more presence in there than I. And she can be intimidating.
Yet, it feels like summer with the weeks of unseasonably warm weather we’ve had. Maybe it’s time to wander and gather ideas?