Tuesday, January 27, 2009

somebody has to do it

I have an excuse about posting a picture of a mess - la Bellette Rouge made me do it. It's her fault, not mine, so go on over to her place to complain about the mess littering the top of my page today.

How did she make you do it, you may be thinking. It's like this:

The Rules:

1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

This is what my work table looks like when I'm painting silk. Well, to tell a closer approximation of the truth this is what it looked like one night after I'd finished working on one of the very big silk paintings that had to be laid out on stretchers held up by cardboard boxes or whatever I could find. It may have been this one but I'm no longer sure:

The thing is that silk painting is kind of a messy production and the fact we live in a townhouse apartment means I don't have a room where I can close the door and just leave the stuff going crazy by itself in there once I get worn out, bored, need to let it dry, have to go to sleep so I can get up for work, would rather read a book, watch a movie, check out a video game or spend some 'quality' time with my husband.

You know, if I think about it, I probably wouldn't know what to do with a studio if I had one. There are some rare times during the creative process when I'm best left alone but once something is underway a marching band could come through and I'd stop and listen if I wasn't working to finish a section that had to be done fast.

I'm always a bit paranoid of silk dyes getting into contact with the landlord's nice carpet so the entire area beneath and around the piece in progress gets covered by a plastic drop cloth with newspaper on top in order to soak up an accidental spill (or if I get a bit too wacky with the spray bottles). I mix colors before starting a piece because time is of the essence when you know the edges will always dry first and the whole idea is to keep the colors moving until you want them to dry. I bought so many bottles of applesauce for babies at the grocery store I think the clerk was itching to advise a new grandmother that babies need more than that to thrive. Hey, it was the cheapest stuff and I needed the jars.

There are brushes, salt, test silk for color, water, a favorite plant, grandmother pins and needles and a photo of a Sufi saint working on a painting of the names of God hanging over the table. We moved from that space two years ago when it was sold out from under us but the new one is very similar. The work goes on.

Now it's my turn to choose 4 victims.. ooops, I mean charming and talented friends to continue this meme. Are you ready:

Utah Savage?

Tag, we're it.


  1. it's fascinating to see an artist at work. i'd love to sit in a corner and see how you create such beauty. i rather figured you used candles and witchy powders (*poof*) to create such magic.

  2. Oh my. I'm honored to be tagged by you. I'm hatching up a meme myself.

    I'll probably find something very dull. I used to batik, so I understand the mess thing surrounding that kind of process. Yours is very beautiful mess. And the result is astounding.

  3. I tagged you with the 20 women I admire most meme. If you want to do it that is...

  4. sera - Sit in a corner? More likely I'd get you to help :-)

    utah - There's no such thing as dull where you come from. It's all in the way you see things, isn't it?

    lib - As long as the rest aren't Joan of Arc, Helen Keller, Cleopatra, Madame Curie, Mother Teresa et al I'll consider your proposal ;-)

  5. Now see, this is a cool meme if you have a cool picture and accompanying theme, such as you have here. The only pictures I have on my hard drive are things I snagged off the internets.

    And that silk painting is groovy, too. Reminds me of oriental myth.

  6. I think your space is quite neat and orderly! I cannot even imagine doing something like dying silks or the painting so it's a real kick ot see your workspace where what appears to me magic - happens.

    Thank you for tagging me.

  7. randal - How about the 4th picture from the 4th web page you check out? Bound to be interesting :-)

    lisa - It's not unlike cooking. I think cakes and pies are produced by magic.

  8. you don't want me "helping" anywhere near fabric. i tried painting a design on a tee once, which had to be "set" by ironing it. i burned the tee with the iron.

  9. OK, I'm in! Only I have only one folder with pictures, so I'll have to take the fourth picture from that one. Stay tuned.

  10. I love seeing people's work spaces, no matter where they are! this looks like a very intimidating process with no going back, something that really scares me!

    love the applesauce story and can imagine what the people thought of you, who were watching this all get checked out! :)

  11. I've done it. Always obedient to you. Turns out it was a good change of pace from the panic I find myself in.

  12. sera - Now I remember you told me that once. I guess you wouldn't want to get involved in the steam setting process either.. oops :-)

    cdp - I'll look forward to the results whenever you get around to it.

    linda - I kind of enjoy it because parts of painting silk really are over the top but I'm also something of a control freak and have come up with a few tricks so I can paint the cameos with more deliberation.

    Yeah, three dozen bottles of applesauce raised a few eyebrows :-)

    utah - I'm so glad to have been able to send you a theme for something more relaxing. It was a cool one for me too. I'm getting dinner ready now but I'll be over soon.

  13. I am glad I got you to do it. I too like seeing the behind the scenes. If anybody wants to complain they know were to find me.;-)

  14. It doesn't matter where your workspace is or how large an area, your work will always be beautiful.

    great post. :-)

  15. belette - Most I don't particularly care for but this was an especially nice tag. thanks for looking in my direction when you had to choose.

    nunly - Yeah, the work area now is one of the better ones I've ever had but it's not about where I am in the physical sense. Right? :-)

  16. many years ago, for her 6th birthday, my daughter was gifted big felt calligraphy pens. she made many lovely things with them, but the one i still have pretty much says it for me. where she found the quote, i'm not sure.... but it's framed and hanging in my teaching studio right now... um.... 24 years later. it's slightly askew and wobbly and faded, but it says "creative minds are rarely tidy". my work space is always a mess... no matter what i'm doing... even music, which you'd think wouldn't generate mess. there are heaps and piles of loose sheet music, books, harp and violin strings, tuners, resin, bows, music stands, fingerless gloves, instrument cases.... you name it.... not a total calamity, because i can't think in chaos, but always a bit mussy around the edges. your space looks so much more civilized.

  17. There's something for you at my blog, when you have a moment. :-)

  18. la belette rouge is sweet. i didn't know we can paint on silk like this. very interesting. i learn something new everyday.

  19. gfid - I guess it's true that all artistic preoccupations tend toward messiness. It must be caused by left and right brain disagreements. The picture here is of my work table after I picked everything up off the floor where I was doing the work.

    pagan - Thanks so much. I will be by to get it one of these days.. and perhaps follow the instructions too :-)

    savvy - Thanks both for visiting and posting a note. Belette is very sweet indeed.

  20. So this is where the magic happens! That's so cool. I hope your landlord appreciates your art work as much as he/she does you keeping the carpets stain free.

  21. spartacus - It's kind of funny that this table and ones similar to it in size have been my chief working spaces for a long time. Plus there have to be storage areas for the materials.

    Nice to have you drop by again :-)