The Great Escape
This is my first arts blog. I hope you enjoy!
The mainstay of the artist’s life is his studio. What can start out as a small room at the back of the house, a shed or maybe an outbuilding transforms into a creative hub. Furthermore this place needs to be inspiring, an area comfortable enough for the artist to feel at home.
I started out in a shed at the back of my house. No electricity or warmth but it felt further enough away from my home to make me feel like it was just that. A separation from my daily life. I could sit in a dirty old dining chair for hours at a time, listening to music with a paintbrush in my hand. Of course when it gets cold in winter I will huddle round my trusted oil heater making sure my fingers remain able to hold…well….anything but in the summer time the door is flung open and the remarkable transformative qualities of direct sunlight begin to take hold. The shed was my little haven away from the white noise of life, no TV, no mobile phones, just me and my thoughts. Having suffered from depression in the past my life became very dark but this was always a plus. Mistakes were made on the canvas but I viewed these positively. Anyone remember penicillin?
But as is the case in all artists lives you develop and expand your expertise. New paint brushes, techniques, commission works and ultimately the size of your work. My shed became smaller. My paint brushes didn’t make the impact I wanted but more importantly I was losing the inspiration to go outside and paint. It was time. I needed a studio. The feelers were put out through friends. Online searches were made. Nothing. I knew I needed something but I was in no position to rent a property, financially that is. Then a friend’s mother recommended a charity based collective local to me. I applied. The relative details were sent over. I waited. Then I totally forgot I had applied. Nine months later I get the email to say there is a space for me. Two days later with the deposit submitted I was now the happy owner of a studio space of my very own. The shed was emptied and transferred to the new space but there was a problem. Something I should have identified sooner. Something I wanted to inform those of you who are at this point or close to it. With the shed already coming with shelves, surfaces and storage I was able to utilise these. With my new space all of this disappeared and now I have to start from scratch. Chairs, drawing table, shelving, places to put my paintings….basically everything. So when you move to a bigger space start planning. Look at the space. Where you can add stuff and the cost. Because otherwise the moving from my shed to my new space becomes daunting, not exciting. You lose the reason to go and paint, the inspiration to create. It is something I have struggled with.
But I realise now more than ever it’s not just the creative side of things that keeps you going but the surroundings too. I couldn’t paint at a heavy metal concert (nor would I want to to be fair) but I can in my own space. Because it’s been designed just for me by me. Little things like where the paintbrushes are, height of the table and the location of the space. That’s not to say all artists should live by this. But for me getting away from the world and escaping life to be creative is something really special. Don’t live within the rat race all the time. Get away and express yourself because realistically how else are you going to?
My house is full of my art or paintings.
And no I’m not an egomaniac or a narcissist. I have always struggled to buy art or prints that aren’t sold in bulk at places like the Range or indeed are too expensive as they’re sold in a gallery. Me becoming an artist wasn’t to solve this problem yet through my continuing journey as an artist it has done exactly this. Not only can I create specific pieces of work that are tailored for the room in relation to colour and style I get to practice commissioned pieces of work too. The result? Each room is now an art gallery. Colours match and immediately the room gathers soul and style. Dark rooms now emanate brightness. Cold spaces are now full of warmth. Wide open spaces have a focal point on the wall that fits everything else that’s around it.
Not only that it ignites the creative part of my brain. How can I bring my style to elevate the room? What colours or textures can I start or continue to use? The room becomes an inspiration. The client is myself or my partner. Inspiration presents itself wilfully. The art becomes personal to that space and only there. Place it somewhere else and it begins to fade. When you get it right you get a real buzz off it. It’s your creative soul funnelled into a painting. I sometimes catch myself looking at the painting, noticing something different and cracking a wry smile. I hadn’t intended to create this. But through the journey of painting I had. Hours of work, creativeness flowing, colour decisions made and then making the hard call of when to stop. It makes you want to paint the entire house but this is where my artist instinct kicks in and says no. Keep the paintings as they are. Saturation will only kill the flow. And besides there is no harm or offence taken if other pieces of art or media are put up on the walls.
People say the world is my canvas. I used to frown at this statement. But right now. Right here. In my house. The canvas really is my world. However small it is.
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