2014 was not a good year for making art. We moved into a new house, with a studio space. A very large studio space, a separate building on the property. We packed (and looked for housing and sold our house) from January to July. We moved July 3 and spent July through November fixing the “new” house. And unpacking. And putting things away. And then rearranging the things that we had put away.
My new space, while huge and functional, was not finished — raw flooring (particle board), raw walls (sheet rock) raw ceiling (insulation). The bathroom, while a great upgrade on my old studio which had no such facility, had no molding around the door. The muck-out sink was a mess from the woodworker who used the place before I got there. The lights were flickering and/or not functioning. In short, from November through February, I worked on the studio.
West side of the studio as of February 2. Note that this is a 2 dimensional view: the actual imaged space is about 35 feet long. The “east side” (with its floor to be painted) is 15 more feet. A big space.
So, it’s been a long year. However, sandwiched in and around this year of moving and fixing and painting and moving some more, I managed to do a tiny bit of work. Some of it was on canvases with other paintings. The one that was most finished when I started into it in 2014 became an abstract that we put up in our dining room:
This was a painting that I had already begun using the color shaper (a kind of spatula) on, and I so enjoyed the ribbon-like marks it made that I’m continuing to find ways to play with that tool. Although my memory is a bit vague, I think this painting originated in the formations around Jerome, Arizona.
The next definitely originated in Jerome imagery, although it was far less developed when I began working on it this fall.
This oil painting provided a satisfying accompaniment to the first one; it hangs in our new living room. It started as a play on the stairs of Jerome Arizona, which mimic the land formations of that region, including the Mogollon Rim which can be seen across the Verde Valley below Jerome. But it quickly morphed taking on new shapes and movements.
It was about this painting that one of the workmen, walking through the living room, remarked , “Busy, ain’t it.”
I was sitting at the table, and I’m not sure he knew I was there.
“So am I,” I said, just a bit tartly. Jer hastened to add, “She painted it.”
The conversation went on from there.
In late fall, I took a workshop, kind of a masters play time, with Bill Park, a Portland painter. For a number of reasons, I decided to work in acrylics. After doing studies with the medium for a day or two, I brought in a large rolled blank canvas and began on the next painting. It is not quite finished, and in fact, it may not be in its original orientation when I finish with it:
My color shaper doesn’t work the same with acrylic paint, but acrylic has other advantages, the principle one being that it’s easier to transport a dry canvas of that size. This one began with a large figure and went on from there. There is one place that I intend to work on further, but I’m not saying where. And I’m thinking it may end up oriented like this:
Finally, on the easel at this moment, sunk into that pile of furnishings moved so the second half of the floor can be painted, is one more abstract that I’m hoping to get to — soon.
I’m thinking of adding a couple of “bars” of cadmium red, horizontally, in places across the canvas (cadmium red is the red-toward-yellow basic paint, as opposed to alizarin red, which is the red-toward-blue). Until I try that, I’m not sure where this canvas is going. Nor when, for that matter.
But the studio is slowly being civilized, with painted sheet rock and painted floor, and a tamed bathroom, with molding on its door frames. The lights are all functioning and almost perfect. The new storm door can be kept open all day, and even in January, opening the big “garage” doors in the middle of the day was possible. This is a space in which even I can’t feel closed-in. If one is a busy person, one needs lots of space to roam.