I sometimes get emails from students who are writing reports on artists of one style or another, and one of the common questions asked is to describe my studio/workspace. I’m not sure I understand the fascination, but here’s a photo, which I hope will help set the scene.
On the easel is a painting I started in -I think- summer of 2005. It has undergone a few changes since I began it, and here is the finished version:
On the chair is a painting I eventually finished as well, and you can see it here:
(Of course, you’ll have to scroll down to see them…I don’t know how to link to exactly the right post)
As you can see, my set-up is fairly rudimentary and mundane. My tools are simple and so, sadly, is my chair. But I have music and sunshine and trees outside the window. Beyond paint, brushes and something to work on, that’s all I really need (my family would argue food, water and rest were also kind of important, but those are details, right?
When I get stumped, or I feel like I’ve been too long pouring out the energy, I’ll try to pump some back in. I play the guitar (badly), and I go for walks (excellently), and above all, I try to keep my sense of humour intact, such as it is.
That last bit, it can throw people when they meet me. There seems to be a perception that I live in the clouds and should be either romantically serious or stolidly dour. It may come to that, but in the meantime I want to get as much happiness out of my days as possible.
There is a whole lot to get sad over. There is no shortage of sorrow or suffering in the world. Injustices can be found by opening a newspaper…or walking out the door. Somehow, I don’t think allowing anger about these things to become the pervasive response of choice is going to help anything.
In dark times, all anyone needs is light.
Sounds a little too simple? Could be…but like any family, mine has had it’s share of tragedy and disaster. Like many, my siblings and I grew up with lives of love and terror intermingled.
Do you turn a blind eye to the bad? That’s kind of a ridiculous thing to do -pretending something didn’t or doesn’t exist…crazy. And that’s where you’ll get to if you try that.
The big lessons I learned from my relatives is that laughter is what keeps you together, both as a family, and as a person. You could cry about a lot of things, but to be able to see the lesson and smile, that’s what a person who is really serious about life learns to do.
It’s what I try to do.
And most of that effort takes place in a room of sunlight and windows – a canvas on the easel, and a paintbrush in my hand.
And a smile. Don’t forget that.