Never mind the current political situation, which is the very definition of 'surreal.' (I'm GUTTED, so please don't ask me about it....). What's also surreal (to me) is that I’ve already sold a piece of art in the New Year, and it's not even Fest season! And -- I sold it from my new 'away' studio.
I haven't told you about my new 'away' studio yet. It's the Big Old News that this post is about, and it came into my life last fall.
I turned 60 in October right after Fest. I felt good about this milestone (30 was hard, 40 was harsh, 50 was better, but 60? 60's awesome!) A big birthday deserves something big, and I wanted to do something special for myself. My own Girlz gifted me a future trip to Disneyland, and that was bigger than anything I could imagine or afford, but none of the ideas I'd been tossing around in my head seemed to really ring my bells....
In talking later with my Eldest, our conversation turned from our impending Disney trip to housework and how hard it is to spend more than five minutes being creative in one's upstairs studio when there's so much downstairs that needs doing more. She reminded me of something we've both said to each other before, that art is a much bigger priority than dusting. And she suggested that what I really needed was a way to shut the door on Tumbledown and go somewhere else to be creative.
That was exactly what I needed.
And I wanted that to be my gift to myself. Just imagining it gave me goosebumps....
I will say now that I've never felt that I deserved an 'away from home' studio. Those are for real artists who create real art, and even after 30 years I still consider myself someone who draws and doesn't necessarily know what she's doing when she does. And in my head, a home studio is just an extra bedroom where a creative person indulges their hobby.... Please know that every home studio I've EVER been in has challenged that idea, and I only seem to associate this definition with myself. Probably because as a kid I'd hole up in my bedroom to create and my Mom would interrupt to tell me that if I couldn't find something better to do, she'd find it for me. And there was ALWAYS something better to do. So me going to my home studio now (aka an extra bedroom in disguise) just feels like my childhood self, shirking responsibility.After talking to my Eldest that afternoon, the idea of an 'away' studio was all I could think about. For days afterward she texted me links on Craigslist for studio spaces, but everything was either unaffordable or too far away. (And there I was, with no car and no money....) She didn't give up on me, though, and her eagerness to find a studio for me made me eager as well, and I spent long moments scrolling through photos online of little empty spaces in town that were available for a fortune, and big empty spaces in town that were available for even more....
|That little window on the right? MINE!|
|So much treasure to collect on my way!|
The place was only a couple miles away from Tumbledown, and I quickly began walking there in the autumn sunshine, enchanted by the unfamiliar route there that I didn't even know existed. What sorcery was this that took me along this new and beautiful path, full of autumn leaves and river views?? It seemed too good to be true.
|Can you BELIEVE this WALK?|
I met the others the next day -- kindred spirits, all -- and was pleased when they accepted me. And later that afternoon I brought a grocery bag full of supplies to my new studio.
At first, it was hard to relax there. Everything seemed so uncomfortable, like a house is when you haven't really moved into it yet but you want to be there all the time and your stuff is still back at the old house.... Even though there was food and pop for sale, I brought my own. Even though there was a watercooler there for all to use, I brought my own water bottle. I thought of Susan and Larry as my hosts and I was a guest in their home, and I didn't want to appear like I was taking this amazing opportunity for granted or taking advantage of their generosity.
|The hand-me-down drawing table!|
Now, just approaching that silly old cobbled-together building fills me with joy. Entering it is like storming Fort Knox: two doors with fussy locks try to thwart me but I’ve almost got the hang of them now, and inside is TREASURE. First up is a room full of creative anticipation, with tables and supplies just waiting for some happy little artists to pull up their chairs and get to work.
My own closed door almost hums as I approach it. And when I enter and close it again, that vibration is now inside of me. I feel like I've just walked in to a job I love like crazy, and I'm excited to get to work.
|Happy New Year!|
It may have taken a lifetime, but I appear to be in Art School after all!
And I'm an artist, dammit. I've always been an artist! And I deserve this.