Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To keep or cast out.


I began the god-forsaken task of straightening out my studio this afternoon. You know, one of those tasks that you know needs to be done, but every time you walk into the studio, you cast a slight glance and think, "I'll get to it" and in the next instant the full scope of the proposed chore gives you all the energy you finally finish that piece that's been sitting in the corner for a year. Yep, dealing with that headache of a painting is preferable to any attempt to organize a growing pile of future, "Why did I save this?". Its a very good thing that I'm no longer the pack-rat I was back in the mid-nineties when I did a lot of mixed media work. Living in West Philly, I never had to go far on trash days to find something of interest to bring back to the studio I had then, situated in a room I rented in a 6-bedroom Victorian house.

Ok, so I'm ready to jump in. I've identified roughly four areas around the space that desperately need attention. I had to break it down like that so my anxiety about the overall picture doesn't do me in. I started with the relatively easy chore of sorting though empty glass and plastic containers that I've accumulated over time. These are containers that I generally use for long-term storage of paints as well as for quick mixing of a color I haven't already mixed. I keep them under a long, heavy wood table that came with the studio, in cardboard boxes. It became one of those slightly hidden 'catch-all' spaces, just out of sight enough to ignore the growing piles of jars spilling over the boxes they were in.

Along with the containers, I also got around to cutting up and storing old clothes and towels that I'll use as rags to wipe paint on. Getting through these two tasks made the space feel much lighter. Now, I'm eyeing the storage shelves near the entrance, which holds and array of old works on paper, small paintings and various pieces of cut canvas.

On a side note...that photo above? Well, that's a small Strawbridge's gift box that I found hidden amongst rags today while cleaning up. It's just big enough to have held cufflinks or earrings. I'm keeping it just out of sentimentality, as Strawbridge's no longer exists and was my favorite of the center city department stores that I would shop in from time to time. The landmark department store at 8th and Market closed it's doors for good in 2006. There was talk of a Target opening up there, but the latest I know of is that a casino might open up on three floors at the site. Just what we need...

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