Friday, October 14, 2011

My New "Studio"

As I've mentioned before, I don't have a dedicated room to create art in.  While our house does have a spare bedroom, it is going to turn into our new baby's bedroom when she arrives.  So right now, my "studio" is our kitchen table

While it would be great to have a real studio, I don't mind working at the kitchen table.  I actually really enjoy it.  The table is large enough to spread my supplies out comfortably, and I don't have to worry about getting paint on the carpet.  Plus the natural light is really excellent in the kitchen.

But yesterday was a beautiful, sunny fall day.  And since fall is my favorite season, I decided to take my art outdoors.  So after some moving of supplies, our outdoor table became my new "studio":

Outdoor "studio"

And it was really, really great.  The temperature was crisp, but I bundled up enough that I felt comfortable.  The light was even better than indoors, and overall I just felt so invigorated as I began to paint.

It was an amazing experience -- for about five minutes.  And then our next door neighbor came outside to smoke a cigarette.  The smoke drifted over to where I sat.  I coughed pointedly but kept on painting -- after all, how long would it take for him to finish his cigarette?  I decided that the pleasure of painting outdoors was worth a few minutes of secondhand smoke.

Except that when he finished his first cigarette, he lit a second.  And then a third.  With each new cigarette, I threw down my brush and stomped inside, determined not to give up my precious new art space.  But he kept smoking.  And smoking. 

I finally gave up.  My perfect spot was ruined.  I would not be able to create art that day, all because of an unthinking neighbor who didn't care if he gave the people around him lung cancer.  What a jerk.


Well, after I resigned myself to not being able to paint outdoors, I expressed my creative energies by making lasagna for dinner (the first that I've ever made!).  And at first I fumed big time.  Stupid neighbor, I thought.  Stupid cigarettes.  


But something inside me didn't agree.  Something (or really, Someone) reminded me that I'm definitely not perfect and shouldn't be throwing around judgements so easily.  That many smokers wish they could stop smoking, have tried to stop smoking, but fail again and again, trapped in their nicotine addictions.  That my neighbor really is very nice, and that he wasn't out to ruin my day.

And besides, it's not like I couldn't make art indoors.  Like I usually do.  Like most people usually do, without complaint.  In fact, that Something said, isn't it amazing that you have the freedom and ability to make art at all?

Oh.  Right.

By the time the lasagna finished baking, I had gotten over myself.  I even managed to make some good progress on the new drawing I shared yesterday.  Here she is:

Still in progress...

The piece is not quite finished, but it's getting close.  I hope to be done today.  Can you guess who she is yet?   

[Much to my wry surprise] I'm really pleased with how this is turning out -- especially since all of the color was added during what I had originally thought was a ruined art session.  I often get so tied up in having the "perfect space" or "right atmosphere" to create art in -- when really all that I need are some supplies and the willingness to show up.  I wonder how many more times I will needed to be reminded of this truth before I really behave like it's true.  :)

Where do you make art?

"Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!" ~ Luke 2:19-20


  1. I'm sitting here in the morning, while I have my morning coffee and checking up on some of me fav blogs. I enjoyed your story. I could definitly relate to it. I often put off creating because of not being in the perfect conditions. I often have to tell myself that I should stop procrastinating and just do it. :D

  2. Haha I think Nike had it right! :)

  3. I'm guessing the Virgin Mary or Mother Theresa ... or perhaps I'm crazy :) I love the crayons too!!

  4. Julie, you're right -- it's Mary! And I had the same thought that her head scarf looks a bit like Mother Theresa's!


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King