Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Cleaning

When the forsythia blooms, that's when I declare Spring's official arrival.  Time to put your work clothes on, rake the lingering leaves, clean out gardens, and dig in the dirt!

I planted this humble little garden outside the porch area of my studio (the potted bulbs you see are now planted too).  Some colorful flowers and little trinkets make me smile and draw me out to the space.  Some extra personal touches include my grandmother's knitting needle holding up the sun sculpture, the frog that reminds me of my uncle (and a little painted stone that represents him watching over me).  I know my loved ones are always with me, but little things like this are just a visual reminder and tribute to them.

Lately I have been on a big "if you don't do it the right way, don't do it at all" kick when it comes to all things cleaning.  I will admit to years of only giving cleaning a cursory effort, which frankly is not nearly as rewarding.  So instead of just sweeping around furniture and wiping down tables, I took EVERYTHING out of the screened in area of my studio (where I paint), and swept from ceiling to floor.  So much dust and pollen and cobwebs gather during my off months, it's great to start my "painting season" with a completely fresh space.

When it came to bringing everything back in, I realized how rickety the shelving units that held up my table had become.  Click here for what this originally looked like.  Looking at alternatives I had around, my grandfather's old dresser was the perfect height, super sturdy, AND it would make all of my materials easy to retrieve and at the same time out of the way.  How had I not thought of this sooner?  I had been keeping it in the indoor portion of the studio holding various supplies and last year I had the drawer with paints out of the chest and sitting on top of the table.  Now it's easy access to ALL of my supplies!  I'm going to have a blast geeking out on re-arranging and organizing those drawers.

The only issue with this was the table top slipped around, so my husband (who I had enlisted help from at this point) glued on some non-stick pads to the top of the dresser.  It worked like a charm.

This was also great because I was looking for something to represent my grandfather (and others I still have yet to find the perfect item for, but will) to put in the garden, something to honor him.  This was an even better active tribute of gratitude for him, especially since that man supported my art career with incredible loyalty and love, never missing a show and always the first to arrive.

In the process of moving the dresser out, I had to move some things out of the way and rediscovered an old mirror I've had hanging around for ages.  It was a tag sale find about ten years ago - a huge antique beveled mirror that weighs a ton.  I thought I might be able to fix it up, but never bothered (there's a lot of etched away areas on the back which makes it look dirty even when it's clean).  Finally I found it's intended purpose - a palette!  The most epic palette of all time, if I might be so bold.  30" x 36" - now that's a lot of room for paint mixing.  I'm giddy just thinking about it.

So other than a couple folding chairs and a tv tray, I'm keeping that space pretty sparse for now.  Just the basics.  But before you start thinking my work is done, take a look at this....

It's a good thing you can't get a clear view of the complete mess that lies beyond these sliding glass doors.  Lots more work to be done! 

Soon this will all be filled in with wild violets and the strawberry plants will start launching out in all directions on the south side of the porch and the sun will keep setting later and later in the day.... ah... welcome back my favorite time of year.  I missed you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,

What a gorgeous spot you have to stoke the creative juices. I miss seeing you on video. Like this new style you have recently developed. More layers and depth I think. I like it! Got you on my facebook. Sherrill Pearson, Montreal

Lisa Griffen said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your space and all the meaningful little touches. Love the mirror as palette.

Gexton said...

awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really sweet!
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Maria-Thérèse ~ said...

What a beautiful space! I'd love to work on that porch - and have tea parties there :D

Anonymous said...

Forsythia....swoon! I am drooling over the screened-in painting area set up, especially that big glass surface on the!