When I read the biography of an artist I often find that the studio they worked in is a subject of great importance, a chapter of its own. There will be pictures of the space, the easel, the brushes (if they survived), perhaps the artist working away on one of their masterpieces. A muse or a model or two (hopefully dressed).
I love to examine these to the most minute detail. Seeing what they surrounded themselves with gives me the illusion that I get a bit closer to knowing what they were like, what inspired that artist. And that is the reason why I am reading the book in the first place… well perhaps also to satisfy the little spy in me.
Recently I’ve been going through some of my art books. Discovering the paper mache skeletons in Frida Kahlo’s studio, or the utter chaos in Tibor Jankay‘s house – he even kept his putrid dead bird in his closet! – or seeing the puritan esthetics of Mark Chagall’s surroundings – he used a stool just like my grandpa’s to keep his brushes on while working. And all of these filled me with longing. Not for a mummified dead birds mind you, but for a place I could call my own.
I have these dreams of having a little house by the lake like Grieg did in Bergen. Or a little wooden structure in a lofty garden where I’d drink tea and sketch away the afternoon. But the reality is, that our home is not going to get bigger and we don’t have a separate space for any of our hobbies. I have to make do with what we have.
So I’ll sometimes use our gaming table and set it up next to our terrace doors to have lots of light and a nice big surface to work on.
Or if the weather permits, I’ll go out and work from there.
Sometimes I’ll just sit on our bed while Mr.AP is reading the news on his computer.
Recently I’ve started using my easel to prop up a drawing board because it is so convenient. I can move it to random places in our apartment easily following the route of the sun just like a happy sunflower.
At the end I always realize that it is not the separate room that matters. If I don’t have inspiration it is not going to come from a studio. And if I do have it, I will be able to put it on paper even if I sit cross-legged on the floor. And the thing is, our apartment is filled with the creatures I’ve sewn, the paintings I painted and everything that makes us happy. So my inspiration is already all around me. And to get really practical about it, the smaller the place, the less there is to dust and clean. And with all the time I saved I’ll have even more to enjoy that wonderful lemon and ginger tea.
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