Friday, December 5, 2008

"Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"

After 22 years of sharing the loft in our house with my wife, Pat, she kicked herself out a couple of weeks ago so I could spread out and gain some needed studio space. Her sewing area had been at one end, while the other 2/3 or so was art workspace. She had been telling me I needed more room for a long time but my standard answer was, “I like it this way. I know where everything is.” And, I enjoyed her company while I worked. But she moved, along with what seemed like millions of fabric bolts, to the downstairs room vacated by our son John, who recently moved into his own house. (That’s another story for another day: the Empty Nest Syndrome!)

I didn’t realize how crowded my area had been until I began to reorganize. For years, I hadn’t been able to walk a straight line through the room. The maze required me to turn sideways and make two lefts and a right to get to my drawing board, and I often had to duck to avoid bumping my head on picture frames hung from the ceiling. Memories flooded in as I, literally, picked up and looked at every piece of paper, art magazine, and canvas as I worked. Past projects were revisited and some resurfaced. I was surprised to find 12 unfinished paintings; only 3 of them had been within view, the rest were buried under clutter. I think I have close to 35 picture frames, just waiting for art to fill them. Unfortunately, not one of the frames is the same size as an unfinished painting. My lack of planning is alarming!

There was an entire drawer, full of crayons, collected as the kids grew up and “worked” alongside me. I didn’t have the heart to throw them out. You can imagine that familiar, Crayola smell as the drawer is opened and 500 colorful sticks of wax nearly scream for a child’s attention. Someday, our grandchildren’s little fingers will wrap around the same crayons that their parents colored with.

I found a couple of magazines in which I had been published, some old job applications for positions that would have taken me out of state many years ago if I had accepted their offers, books that have not yet been read, and tubes of paint that have been around for 35 years.

After days of cleaning, sorting, and filing, the loft is finally starting to look like an honest-to-goodness, serious art studio. I’m not totally done with the project yet, but I know I will be more productive. Its organization is giving me new energy to create, and I am excited about the ability to get close to a north window for better lighting. I am expecting this year to be my most creative in decades.

I hate to admit it, but Pat was right.

She always is.


Dana Leigh said...

First of all, I love organization and there is always something good that comes of it. That's awesome you somewhat of a new space with new creativity and vision that can be sparked. It's now your Man Room!

P.S. You said that Pat was right. You should know by now that the woman is always right. Ha! :)

Tonia said...

Pat can't help that she's always right. It comes along with being a female. Just one of the many mystifying facts of life. Like gravity, and friction.

Tonia said...

In fact, and I know Pat would agree, being right all the time can actually be burdensome at times! We have to always act like we are considering the other person's opinion, so they don't feel bad.

And our patience can really be tested sometimes, especially when dealing with men who haven't yet been clued in to the fact that no matter what they do, they'll never be right (unless of course the woman actually maneuvers the conversation around in just the right way where the man actually thinks that her idea was HIS idea. In that case, he is right.)