Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mess or no mess, that's the challenge

It's been several weeks since my home studio has been ready to go, and I'm only using it a little. At first, I told myself this was because the weather has been so nice (we're having a miraculously cool summer so far). I've set up my pastel "horse" easel out on the terrace. Pastel is a dirty medium with colored dust everywhere and outside I can house down the terrace or sweep it up. (I'm actually painting with a bath mat below me to catch most of it.

However, I realized last week that this good weather is an excuse. When I had my studio down the street, I worked on a pastel most days and several acrylics. While those opportunities now lie in two different parts of my home, the distance from one to the other is not much further than in my old studio. So what's holding me back?

The very real possibility of making a mess. It was easy to make one in my studio at Troy Laundry. The floors had been trashed by earlier occupants. The walls too were years from a fresh coat of paint and full of scuff marks and nail holes. Just as important, everybody else's studio was old, worn, and crummy too. I felt completely free to do as I wanted. 

Now none of my friends would use the word fastidious to describe me. Nor would I use it on myself. But I like a tidy home and have embraced Marie Kondo's tidying up ideas with a whole heart. So while my studio is in a separate room and I can shut the door any time I want (although my cats don't like that), I still feel uneasy about making a mess.

This uneasiness is not rational. I bought a cheap (but nice-looking) rug for the floor that I can just throw away if need be. The walls can be repainted; and when I move, my landlord will remodel the apartment anyway (it's the only one in our complex that hasn't been remodeled). But I can't seem to tune out where I am--in my apartment--for where I am--in my studio. Maybe it's like getting a new car. We're apprehensive and careful until that first real ding or scratch. Maybe that's what needs to happen in the studio.

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