Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Musing of Molly

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Sometime at the beginning of last week and shortly after I returned from a revitalizing week away at an art retreat, I AGAIN decided my studio was overdue for a clean up. There was the upcoming visit from my daughters and our plans to have an artful weekend together. And there was the decision of where to hang the newly framed ATC's I'd gathered over the past several months Also, a conversation with another artist friend who was just about to transform her studio with a fresh coat of paint and new flooring prompted me to look around my digs. And so it began.
Options were limited (afterall, a garage only has a finite number of decorative options) and my budget had been exhausted on my recent trip. Plus, if you've ever had an inside/outside studio, you'll know sometimes just keeping the dust at bay can be 'enough cleaning' for any given week.
I couldn't bring myself to snap a photo of the 'before' of it all, but as I'm typing this I wish I had. But, who wants to take a photograph of mess and clutter? Especially when it may be something I choose to upload here for all the world to see? It's still a bit of a shock to me that I share chunks of my life to a group of viewers, several of whom remain anonymous. Within my psyche there still exists a sizable portion of self-consciousness along with a censor that still has a seat at the table of my internal board of directors. You'll have to trust me, it was A LOT more cluttered. One wall in 3 (as the forth is the garage door) exists for me to hang and display art and soulfully heavy objects that bear significant meaning to me. Remnants of souveniers, chunks of nature and found objects, altered books and group projects...purchased pieces set next to generous gifts and lockets of hair. They all contain significant personal meaning to me and evoke my creative spirit.

I always seem to 'start' my housekeeping on this wall and too often that's as far as I get. Thankfully, I persisted this time and moved on to grab a bottle of gesso to recover some canvases I wanted to make 'new marks' on. The "man on the moon" always kind of creeped me out and so making a decision to return 'him' to the under canvas world was simple.

And saying so long to a very old start of a ballet dancer that had taken up too much space physically ( a 36 inch square canvas) and in my mind, was also a simple decision.

This felt good. Almost as good as bringing home a new canvas with the anticipation of creating something better than you ever thought possible. And apart from a few brush strokes and a 1/2 a cup of gesso - well within my budget :0

But little did I know then that my studio clean up would eventually be interrupted by that MUSE. So unpredictable she is and always disguised as something else. And I am putty in her hands. She allowed me several more days to shift furniture, wash floors and dream of that perfectly organized studio. But eventually her patience wore thin . "This time" she took the form of a phone call from my cousin Linda who in between tears, passed on the news that her beloved Soft-coated Wheaton Terrier, Molly had to be put to sleep after several long months of treatment for renal failure. Who knows why I asked Linda to email me a photo of Molly. At the time I had not yet known what plans my muse had in store for me. Honestly. Soon after, an email arrived with a smattering of photos of Molly.

Well, despite my best intentions, but not without significant progress in my agenda, the Muse won over my logical left brain and early one morning, an outline appeared on that newly gessoed canvas. (If you can see through the remaining clutter, way back in the right hand corner) That was Tuesday. And although I have managed to drop a few promised projects into the mailbox, the rest of my week has been consumed by a portrait of Molly.

Here's the process of her canvas unfolding ...
I'm learning that sometimes the best way to rediscover your muse is to decide to do something else, like clean your studio.


Bea said...

Oh how wonderful! I love how the muse visited you and now there is a wonderful painting of Molly. She looks so regal! lolol
I'm waiting for the tile floor to be grouted, the last of my married children leave today and I can turn that room into my new studio. I will store the beds in the barn and help J. grout the tile. THEN IT'S MINE she said with a gleeful laugh.
Picture on my blog when I'm done, I promise. :)Bea

bockel24 said...

What an interesting post! I´ve loved to see all the stages of this painting, even the one showing the ballet dancer! My favourite is the detail photo of your wonderful painting.

Marilyn said...

How devastating to lose her wonderful dog. You are doing something so priceless in making this beautiful portrait. I can literally see her personality jumping out!