Sep 21, 2014

Shoe Box Studio

I’ve been organizing my studio today, aka one side of my bedroom where I have two tables a bookshelf and a closet. Sometimes I think a need a whole room before I can really work. I do think it’s important to take my art seriously enough to give it the space it needs to flourish but I have a hunch that making do with what I have is the express route to a bigger space in the future. Right now I feel obligated to cherish the space I have, so many people work harder with less. 

There was a time in my own life when I lived in a tiny bedroom in New Mexico and my studio was a shoe box under the table next to my bed. Inside was a sketch book, pencil, pen, colored pencils, and set of oil pastels. I treasured that shoe box more than any material thing before or since. My situation in New Mexico is a whole different story but imagine that it was intense and not exactly positive. Every time I got that box out it was magical, it was the place where I got to be myself and hold my sanity. It was so nourishing I remember that time of my life as a very soulful one and am still puzzled at the paradox.

I love the image of a much treasured shoebox under the bedside table as an inspiration for my current work space. There are plenty of pictures out in the world of amazing, charming, quaint, and glamorous studio spaces but it’s the practice that makes the space. Instead of waiting for the day I have a separate room dedicated to art I work at making a dedicated practice, dedicating time to paint, to sketch, to look for opportunities to share my work, to enjoy my creativity at its most earnest— loving the things I love no matter how silly. I’d like to believe I don’t even need a shoe box. A sketch book and pencil would do…the camera and recorder on my phone…anything that motivates me to observe and record.

Honestly when I do have a separate studio it probably still won’t be enough space. Sometimes when we think we want more space what we really want is a feeling of ease in our surroundings and that is more surely developed through patience and organization. I’m curious to see: how would my art practice change if I also dedicated more time to cleaning up and putting things away? It’s a romantic idea for me, like a Zen monk calmly chopping wood and sweeping the floor, totally in sync with the turning earth and the twinkling stars. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts about studio space.