It’s On the List

Organization is not the strong suit of artists, or so I have been told. A cluttered work space is, allegedly, indicative of a highly creative mind. If this is true, I should be an artistic genius.

This is what my studio normally looks like:

This is what my studio looks like when a journalist is coming over to interview me.


To counteract my natural tendency towards chaos, I am a compulsive maker of lists. I make a list each week of all the things I need to get done, although I admit certain items do seem to carry over for weeks on end. Those are the things I really don’t WANT to do, but which also aren’t urgent.  At a certain point the annoyance of having to transcribe these items from list to list becomes more annoying than actually doing the things. That is when I actually do them.

Also, it is worth noting, if something isn’t on the list, it doesn’t officially exist. This is a scientific fact.


Still Life of To Do Lists with Highlighter and Coffee Stains

So if you are thinking that Write a Blog Post  was on this week’s list – YOU’RE RIGHT!

Another thing on my list was to make an animation of my collage process. I often photograph my work at various stages of its development, so I have a collection of Work in Progress photos.  I have put together some of these images in chronological order to give you a sense of how I work and how the work develops. This is an animation of the creation of Duck Day Afternoon, a 24 x 30 inch painted paper collage on panel. It begins, as all my large works do, with a drawing, and proceeds from there. Let me know what you think.


Spaced Out

I’ve been dreaming about having a proper studio for a long time, so when my husband and I were looking at properties a few years back, one of the requirements I had for a place to live was that there also had to be adequate work space for me.
We bought the Funny Farm in part for its beautiful garage- yes, I know most people are hooked on kitchens and bathrooms. The kitchen and bathrooms in this house were great, too. But it was that 15 by 30 foot garage with a north facing wall, already wired AND with running water that really sold me on the place. No more tiny spare bedrooms or poorly lit basement studios for me! All the garage needed was insulation, some new windows, finished walls and a floor, and it would be a perfect studio. I could so easily imagine myself working away in my own little haven, teaching classes comfortably. I would finally be able to use my big French easel, get a drafting table! I would be so productive! Oh the possibilities! It’s a good thing I have an imagination, because imagining my perfect studio was pretty much as far as it got. For three years the studio remained unfinished.
Since moving here, I have been working in a small upstairs bedroom, where the glare is so terrible I have to contort myself to see what is on my easel. When I started making collages, I found I needed even more room to spread out, so I shifted some of my work space to the ground floor, into the room where I teach music, a space where I also wound up teaching art classes. Once in a while, my art has taken over the kitchen when I needed extra room to paint, or to build a box to ship artwork, or to pack something. Even the living room wasn’t immune, as I sometimes went in there to work on drawings. Forget the problems of urban sprawl. In our house the problem was definitely one of art sprawl: easels everywhere, paintings and collages stacked up against the walls, empty frames, boxes of art supplies, packing materials and two separate studio spaces, both woefully inadequate. Fortunately this house hasn’t got much of a basement, or I surely would have found myself down there as well.

Lucky for me, my wait for a studio is now almost over. My kindhearted husband, who is a carpenter and a masterful maker of fine furniture, was able to find the time to get the studio almost finished- finished enough to make it a usable space, and for the past three weeks I have been able to work in it and teach in it.

Funny farm studio from the front. Photo by the artist.

You can’t imagine the happiness I feel whenever I open the door and see all that space, the perfect light, the beautiful north facing window, the peace and quiet …

Studio interior. Photo by the artist.

OK, the walls aren’t finished and the sink drains into a bucket, but still….