Monday, September 21, 2015

Art in a Small Space

Back in the old days, there was a big studio in the country filled with sunlight and beautiful shelves teeming with art supplies, books, magazines, fabric and recycled materials waiting to become some kind of art. It was even pretty well organized. There was a sink for messy projects, a nice Mac computer, scanner and camera. Nearby there was a lovely deck for working outdoors in the sunshine, and I could experiment with—wearing a mask of course—some of the really smelly products.
Life changed, and now we’re in a midtown New York apartment, and my space is limited. Accordingly, my design scale has been downsized too. A chronic shoulder problem made me shift from art quilting to working on paper—using soft supplies like paint, stamps and stencils. Repetitive stitching, free-motion quilting and cutting through layers of fabric and batting with a rotary cutter are out of the question. And of course using NevrDull or CitraSolv and melting painted Tyvek is out of the question.
I have become a pretty faithful art journalist. I’ve been making, and working in, these really cool art journals that I learned about in a Kelly Kilmer class. They have accordion fold signature pages, so a lot of artwork can be packed into a little book. Best of all, they don’t take up much space.
I also make and trade ATCs and other small paper items. My closet and shelves have clothes and accessories, but only the things I really use…the iffy items…have been purged to make way for art supplies.
Did I mention I am also working 9-5, five days a week…which is really 8 to 6 when you figure in travel time? I really like my job, it is creative and fun, but of course I live for my personal art time on evenings and weekends. I have even started painting on my lunch hour, which creates a nice break in the day. On the weekends, the half-round table in the living/dining/office room become my little studio space.
The homage to Diebenkorn journal page made me think about someday having a big studio again and how magical it would be to work on huge canvases. The “Ugly” page used up some ephemera that was just…ugly…but somehow it worked, and made me realize the ugly is a relative term. The Victorian vintage winged angel was leftover from making ATCs a few weeks ago. But it made me wonder…is someone/something listening to our prayers, watching over us? On the last journal page I used scraps from the ephemera box, and added a royalty free Dover clip art image that I printed and transferred with the packing tape method.


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