If an object could be a self portrait or reflection of someone, this old mason jar would certainly qualify. It is in a perpetually murky state of usage, sitting on my desk or at Suzanne’s studio. It’s the reminder I’m a lousy brush caregiver, a promise of creative juiciness, and an icon of one of the things I love. An artist’s talisman. Sometimes (all the time?) art supplies and the detritus of art making brings me as much joy as the act of creating. It’s like browsing a great bookstore. It makes you feel connected, inspired, lit up with the possibility of all the yumminess there is to read in the world. Or in this case, paint.
It’s why I decided last fall to bring my studio into my living room. Is it ideal? Not if Martha Stewart is coming over. But does it work for me? Yes. It’s cozy and functional, occasionally cramped and probably has an expiration date because I can’t work too big in the space but there is lots I CAN do and that’s what I stay focused on. Many typewriters, tea tins and pugs have been born from this creative nook, the trusty mason jar of brushes by my side. Somewhere along the line, I realized that the perfect space, like the illusion of perfect timing, did not exist. Now is the time. The kitchen table is the space. Or coffee shop. Or friends studio. Or backyard or garage. I lived in a cute 2 bedroom bungalow for a couple of years and the second bedroom was my “studio”. Or art space. Or Room With My Crap That I’m Going to Organize This Weekend. It had large windows, hardwood floors, decent closet space and a view of the garden. Guess how many paintings I worked on in that room…in two years? ZERO!!! Sad, embarrassing but honest truth. What that room taught me, and even more honestly, other rooms just like it in my years of varied homes, is that I need to create in a space that is private but connected to the house activity. Even if “house activity” is limited to endless episodes of “Scandal” in the background, that is enough. I don’t do well in a Room of My Own. A space of my own? Yes. Absolutely. The beauty of this discovery is that I know myself, what I can and can’t do, where I shine and not to beat myself up. I can write, doodle, sketch, paint in a large open room with lots of people or alone, as long as I’m connected to the action of life. How a TV or podcast can stand in as “life” is another story but hey, anyone who’s walked into a hotel room and clicked on the TV knows what I’m talking about.
Here’s to whatever our space is today, jars of paint water, stacks of art books and the hum of life around us. xo
“Paint Brushes”, 8×10″ available at ElizabethW, Carmel, CA. 831.626.3892