Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Layers and Layers

I took the photo above on a trip to NYC last Spring. I loved the layers upon layers visible in one little frame (spotted glass, reflections of the street behind me, the contents of the store within). Rich, layered and complicated to me now when I look at it again. Shortly after this picture was taken I began a new phase in my life where my goal was to simplify. It started with a complete overhaul of our home which we have lived in for over 11 years now. We had built up such a complicated web of stuff - art, books, gadgets, knick-knacks, boxes upon boxes of "stuff". We spent the better part of last summer refining our collections - keep this, donate that. There was stuff we came across we forgot we had and, when we came upon it, we realized we had no issue in letting it go to the next lucky recipient.

The process continued with simplifying our living space. We painted in cool tones, lightness and openness our goal. We donated most of our older furniture and in it's place bought a few beautiful and simple pieces that were comfortable but that did not overwhelm the eye. We have made it through each room in the house now except for the art studio. Frankly, I have been avoiding it.

On the one hand, I feel such complete gratitude at having a space in my home that I can dedicate to the pursuit of art. A space that is my own, to do with as I please. On the other hand, the space has become a giant storage shed for everything that does not have a place elsewhere in the house. Pictures removed from walls while being painted and never put back up. Hundreds of dollars worth of papers that I could not resist buying because of their beauty but have not used (because I can not get to them behind the mess of stuff). Boxes, drawers and bins of pens, pencils, crayons, oil pastels, paints, inks, rubber stamps, glues. Pounds and pounds of magazines and fabrics! It's ridiculous and a little bit (okay, a lot!!) embarrassing. The volume and mess of it all prevents me from getting to a place where I am able to do anything creative. When I walk in the room right now I gasp, turn around and walk out, shutting the door behind me so I do not have to look at it.

I had gone through the studio 3 or 4 months ago and, no joke, donated 8 very large boxes of art supplies (paints, papers, crayons, rubber stamps, inks, stickers, canvases, clay and more!) to Free Arts for Abused Children. What I describe in the paragraph above is what was left over after the 8 boxes of stuff made their way to their new home!!!

So, this week, my vacation goal is this: Create a studio space that I love being in. A space that has just the right amount of art supplies to work with but not so many that I can't think clearly (or create). Let go of the things that need to move on to their new place in the universe.

I will post progress pics later this week as I make some headway on what is now referred to as the Black Hole! Wish me luck!