Monday, June 14, 2010


What attracted me to this top floor flat when I first saw it was that it had an upstairs: a small, awkward-shaped, added-on loft, the sloping ceiling high enough in the middle for me to stand upright but not for any taller people. A space obviously unsuitable for large artwork but I took it anyway. Kindly friends helped to lug my heavy etching press up the narrow staircase, I had a sink installed, built racks and shelves for my equipment, and for quite a while the place served me well enough for printmaking and graphics. 

Now, almost sixteen years later, it's become less of a studio and more of a chaotic storage dump. Mea culpa, yes, but I also blame the advent of the digital age. The Mac is downstairs: that explains everything, doesn't it? A computer, a graphic tablet and thou, my muse, and we can happily ignore all of that upstairs mess - the paints, the unfinished paintings, the broken frames, the stacks of paper, the smell of solvents, the greasy rags, the bits of wood, the bottles and jars and boxes and tins and tubes of art-stuff which, the less it is used, the more it accumulates in case it will be used at a later date. 

But wait. Lately I've been neglecting downstairs (less blogging, less computering in general, did you notice?) and cautiously venturing back upstairs to sit there and think. A few nights ago - late night is usually my decision time - I resolved to start clearing the chaos. But then I noticed that the mess was visually quite intriguing so I decided to start a new large painting instead.
You can see its present stage in the middle of the bottom row of these photos. The painting will incorporate, in as yet unpredictable fashion, fragments of the things I see upstairs, including parts of an old, unfinished painting of my parents when young (middle row). The canvas is almost my height, the ceiling not high enough for an easel and the room too narrow and crowded to allow some other support so I have to work in a variety of crouching positions. But now I need the chaos to stay as it is because it's my current inspiration. 



Dominic Rivron said...

It's good to get away from a computer. If I overdo it, when I get away I'm struck by how real and, well, 3D the real world is. It's great.

I'm reminded of something I read on Morgan Downie's blog (do you read it?)

Natalie said...

I don't know Morgan's blog, I'll look it up now - thanks Dominic.
How true that the 3-D world is great!