Saturday, June 18, 2011

the studio 2011


I've been tempted several times in the past few days to show you the current Crow portrait through it's drawing and inking stages but I'd rather save showing it until it's finished. Likely as that is to be a few more days I thought I'd show you this year's version of my workspace. Tiny, isn't it?

With the exception of a block of standing shelves to the left and slightly behind where the scanner, more paints, inks, and other supplies wait close to hand my studio occupies a corner of our living room on the wall furthest from the west facing windows. It's not ideal but there's a natural light artist's lamp that lights the work well enough throughout our frequent overcast days. There's another lamp I can use as required but no space to leave it permanently. My portfolios are under the left side of the table leaning against the wall and behind my saddle stool are the sketchbooks, two boxes filled with silk painting supplies I'm loathe to unpack, and a tall but narrow chest of drawers that holds peripherals.

Stretcher frames, sewing machine, boxes filled with silk and fancy fabrics live down the back hall where we luckily have some enormous closets. The framed artworks we brought with us are also still in their professional moving cartons in one of those closets. After eight months in Halifax we continue to wait for news from the Canadian government that my husband will be welcome to stay. Immigration allows itself almost a year to complete its review and in the meanwhile we'll remain where we are. Why add confusion to a complicated process?

I still feel like an ex-pat American far from home. Nova Scotia is a quirky place but the world is full of them and it's friends who make a place comfortable. You all help a lot with that.

My paper should be dry again now and Crow is calling.

20 comments:

jams o donnell said...

Ooh I love your studio. I really do need to set something up myself

Randal Graves said...

Given how your space is all but covered with supplies, I can understand your lament, but it *looks* arty & used & all that appealing stuff.

Hope they don't let you guys know on day 364. If so, just pull a Vancouver. A little fire'll show 'em who's boss.

marja-leena said...

Looks lovely, appealing and well-organized to my eye, sure helps to work small! Looking forward to seeing the portrait of Crow.

Wishing continuing patience and good luck with your husband's immigration process.

susan said...

jams - It's good to have a place for creative chaos to develop.

randal - Believe it or not, I tidy up after each project but I like having my table a bit scratched and stained. It adds to the ambiance.

We're keeping our fingers crossed but just so you know, Halifax has its share of spoiled brats too.

marja-leena - I always find a space for my stuff but it would be nice to have room to spread out a bit more. A whole room would be marvelous. The new Crow picture is coming along well :-)

Would you believe we've been at this CIC process for nearly two years? Thanks for your good wishes.

Pagan Sphinx said...

Hey, Susan! I feel privileged to have a glimpse of your work space. I'm trying to imagine you in it, working on one of your creations. If I were visiting, I'd love to run my hands through the silky pieces of cloth and ooooh and aaaah over how you turn them into such beautiful, useful items.

Best of luck for an affirmative decision from the Canadian government.

CR, the girls and I once had the nightmarish experience of having our automobile struck by a drunk motorcyclist just outside of Quebec City. It took years to straighten it out. Ugh. Such is bureaucracy.

Lisa said...

I love seeing artists' workspaces. Yours looks the way I would imagine it. Just right.

I'm looking forward to the next Crow painting.

linda said...

i guess i am not allowed to whine about not getting to watch the progress on this piece... your space looks so tidy, you have put me to shame and never shall i post my space again.... you must be one organized human beanie. it looks quite lovely, as do your swatches of blue. xxx ;)

linda said...

and if they decide to be so stupid as to say no to you, well, you can always return to portland...not so bad is it? well...scrap that after i remember why you left in the first place. sigh...

susan said...

pagan sphinx - I've been enjoying working on the new Crow painting (he'll be so surprised) but it's been taking a while. Just as I stepped away to let the first layer of color dry it suddenly occurred to me to photograph the set-up. I'm very glad I did and pleased to know you like it. It would be great to show you my collection.

Bureaucracy is getting uglier everywhere. It's been nearly two years since we began this process and we're tired of it now.

lisa - I reaalllly wish it was a bigger space. The table is fine but an extra one and more cabinets would be better.

I think you're going to like the next Crow picture :-)

linda - Maybe I'll show the progression once it's safely finished. You are far braver and more generous with showing works in progress than I. The photos I've seen of your work area are wonderful. The only reason I appear to be organized is because of necessity. I love being in the midst of creative chaos but I haven't had a studio room of my own for a long time. How nice it would be to have a door to close.

Why did I want to leave Portland? I no longer remember :-)

Francis Hunt said...

It's better to travel hopefully than to arrive, they say, but we all need foundations, security. Somehow, following your posts for the past months, I have a feeling you haven't really arrived in Halifax yet - maybe the moment will come when the bureaucrats have finally processed that application!

Mary Ellen said...

What a great space, even if it is small. Maybe it's good to live in quirky Halifax, brings out the artistic imagination. No?

I'm sure the next place you live in will fit your artistic needs, it will be fun finding a new nest for crow.

Steve Emery said...

It's always fascinating to me to see where other artists work. Your space is cleaner and more orderly than mine - but mine isn't in the livingroom. Your space looks a bit smaller than mine, but only by a few feet, I think. I think the mental space is what counts. I would be driven a bit crazy by the uncertainty you are both experiencing, which prevents you getting more settled.

I have scissors exactly like those in the right of this photo, and it seems like a connection between my house and yours. I see you like glass jars for your water - I do too. I like the ringing sound they make when brushes are tapped gently on the rims.

And there's the kabuki theme of which I was granted a preview. I'm looking forward to seeing this when it's finished.

susan said...

francis - Your impression is correct. I've never deliberately looked for security in a place but I'm far from comfortable here yet.

mary ellen - It's not the best working space I've ever had but this one is okay for now. Meanwhile, Crow's antique perch is well polished and his brandy is waiting.

steve - We once had a house with a small upstairs room that was just about the size you describe your studio. My drawing table then sat near a big window overlooking our garden which was very relaxing. Not quite so relaxed at the moment.

That's pretty neat about the scissors connection. I like it. I also have to have big glass jars particularly because keeping an eye on the water color can be very important.

I'm glad you noticed the general idea of the new painting. It's close to being done this evening as the painting part has been simplified.

Ol'Buzzard said...

Susan: you'd always be welcome in Maine.
the Ol'Buzzard

Seraphine said...

what a wonderful creative space you've made for yourself. i love the big jars of water- you work in an exceptionally clean environment.
all the better to think with?

i'm in kansas. sigh- we are under a tornado watch until 10pm tonight. already there has been thunder and hail. they warned earlier of 80-mph wind and softball-sized hail, but it wasn't that bad. the hail was more like large peas. how people can live like this, i don't know. tmorrow should be cooler- ood because it is the hot weather that spawns the storms (collision with cold canadian weather).

susan said...

ol'buzzard - Thanks for the invite. Free shipping and Netflix are just a short hop over the water :-)

sera - The only way I can work is to remake a mess from a clean start every time.

Oh no, Kansas again? It may be the heartland but I prefer the appendages when it comes to living somewhere. I hope you make it back to sunny California safe and well.

Spadoman said...

This is just too neat and organized to be anyone I hang around with. Just joking, of course, it looks like a fine place to create. At least i know I like the creations. Your color choices are beautiful. I think I will ask you about designing a Pirate Mermaid for me, maybe something Selkieish. (is that a word)
Don't worry about your productivity or anything else. It will all happen as it's suppose to.

Peace

susan said...

spadoman - It's always seemed best to me when working with watercolors to avoid having anything close that could ruin a painting. I'm used to cramped spaces. Your pirate-mermaid-Selkie idea sounds interesting especially since Selkies are seals that shed their skins. I'd have to think about it a while.

Nancy said...

I love your little studio. We are going to move back up to Tahoe to our little place next year. Small spaces require organization, but they are also cozy. Interesting about the Canadian government not making quick decisions on immigration. I can only guess that you are still happy with your move. We are contemplating an ex-pat move when we retire. Still in the research stage, however.

susan said...

nancy - I'm glad to hear you're going back to your lovely place in Tahoe soon. I wonder if you plan to stay long? I've moved pretty often too which also lends to knowing how to organize.

So far as the Canadian government is concerned my understanding is they give priority to people outside the country who may be in difficult circumstances. Since my husband is here his case is in the slow lane. At least that's their rationale. I must say there are many conveniences available in the US and we're all world citizens at this point anyway.