Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where the magic happens

While chatting with a rural artist at a trade show, I remarked that he must have a glorious studio. I imagined a deluxe set-up in an old refurbished garage or an unused barn or heck even a yurt. I was salivating at the possibilities.

Where the magic happens.
But nope - it was quite the opposite. This established Canadian artist, whose work has appeared in galleries across North America and Europe, works at his kitchen table. Where he eats his morning cereal.

He must have noticed the look on my face.

"You can make art anywhere," he shrugged. "Why do you need a big studio?"

I can think of a few good reasons - but here's the biggest: domestic harmony. I may not work on huge canvases, or use fancy tools, like a kiln, but making art makes a mess. And, frankly, my spouse isn't thrilled with my junk all over the living room.

But, he's not wrong. There are ways to integrate an art space into almost any home. In our home, I've set-up my easel etc. in a sneaky little area between the couch and the fireplace. 

Sometimes, I'll drag the easel back to my office, at the back of the house. Thanks to my handy-dandy tool box, I can shut the lid and haul my paints and brushes down the hall to tuck it away. I keep my paint palette in a very portable cake caddy, as well, so the paint stays wet longer (and prevents colourful cat footprints everywhere). Sometimes, I even use the removal cupcake-holder as a palette.

But I love the bright light in the living room and since it shares the space with a TV, my mini-art studio is a more social place to be.  Most of the time, that's what I prefer.
Favourite shows include: Damages and Intervention (don't judge me).

Eventually, I'd love to have an entire room just for my art and I've got designs on a big room in our basement. It was recently re-done after a flood this spring, which destroyed the carpet and a lot of the drywall. Now, it's got this fancy, mold-resistant lino that looks like slate (it's not tacky, I swear!), a huge closet with mirrored sliding doors, and a brand-new window that opens like a dream. It's strangely bright in our basement, so I have no doubt I'd be comfy.

Problem is, the room is currently the office of our very lovely tenant. We're eager to pay down our mortgage quickly, and Natalie is the quietest, most considerate human I've ever met, so I hope she stays a long, loooong time. I'm happy to settle with the dream tenant and wait a little longer for the dream studio!

This big toolbox has a top storage area as well as three drawers that slide out. A great place for brushes/pencils/tape/etc.
Found at Canadian Tire: A cake caddy. It's air-tight and keeps paint wet for longer.

Inside, a removal 'cupcake tray' has become a large-but-functional palette.

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