Monday, 23 August 2010

Studio Update

The last three weeks or so have passed in a blur. Whilst usually neat and well manicured, I seem to be spending much of my time with varnish splattered on my clothes, emulsion paint in my hair and all over my hands, and clothes covered in a variety of substances including (but not exclusively) wall paint, wood dust, compost (from moving plants around) and a variety of dirt acquired from lugging stuff to the local tip.

My normally clean tidy house now has boxes and piles of stuff everywhere. Despite eBaying things, dumping things, sending stuff to charity shops and recycling like mad, it does not seem to get any clearer. I am also taking every opportunity when going over to the new house to take stuff with me. Plants, garden tools, I just grab stuff. We now have 3 garden rakes between us, and little that could be described as a lawn. The annoying thing is that even though we are both clearing out like mad this is only the first ‘wave’. We have dealt with the big stuff like which sofa, TV etc we are keeping, not too hard, I have mainly the best furniture, boyfriend has mainly the best electrical stuff. But after I move in the second wave will happen when we have to deal with having two irons, cutlery sets, kettles and everything else.

Any attempt at artwork has gone out the window, as has gym attendance, cleaning, and regular meals. Like some feral animal I just wait until hunger strikes and head to the supermarket. The teen has been away with various relatives, and returned last weekend to the craziness that used to be a well-run household. “What are those!?” She said in horror, pointing to the original curtains I have re-hung in her bedroom of our rented house. Her plain bright red replaced with dodgy looking ‘80’s lilac floral. “We all have to make sacrifices” I said, motioning to the heavy sludge green, moth eaten, velour affairs now gracing my own bedroom. “Ha, unlucky” she said with true teenage empathy. After a brief stop home she has now gone away again with the Baptist youth club she belongs to. I gave her a brief reminder not to mention her interest in paganism to the club members, and off she went. I now have a small window of opportunity to get rid of the huge collection of baby toys and general rubbish she has hoarded for years. Empty sweet wrapper collection anyone?

Work on the studio has continued:

More painting has been done on the inside. Wooden drawers have been rescued for re-use as storage containers from an old chest of drawers in the now demolished shed. New box folders have been acquired from IKEA, and are being painted to match the walls.

Guttering has been set up outside.

A second coat of varnish is nearly finished outside. This photo shows the difference between two coats, and the door which has only had one so far. Rain has stopped play again on this activity.

The extremely dangerous-to-ankles sleepers have been partly clad in decking, to be finished when the store gets more wood in.

A trench has been dug, water pipes and electric cables have been laid, and bought into the back of the studio, an electrician is shortly to come and do the remainder of the electrical work, regulations not allowing us to do this ourselves.

 Big hole:
And gone again:

We have the power: well nearly...

And as if that were not enough work, boyfriend has been making new cupboards for the smallest bedroom, soon to be shared as his office/den, and my sewing area.

Whilst artwork has been mostly impossible, teaching has continued in the form of one day courses. The first one was successful, it is the most popular I teach, a whole hectic day of watercolour techniques. The second course, aimed at teaching botanical painting in the gardens of Gainsborough’s House was as successful as it could be considering the all day torrential rain left us working indoors. My back up plan was hydrangeas, cut fresh from my garden, and the students made a good job of them. Looking at botanical techniques, with emphasis on mixing greens it was a good day, the class was quieter than usual: you could hear the concentration. 

Tomorrow it is the final one day course, watercolour skies, and today I am getting photos ready, and typing up a plan for the day, simple plain skies to be followed by different cloud techniques, and onto more difficult stuff like sunsets after lunch; should be a good day.

After that it is back to the big clear out and pack up. There are at least three exhibitions I should be entering, but all my current work is already out on display and there’s no time to paint more. The lost income and opportunity doesn’t bear thinking about, but the new studio should more than make up for it, long term. And when we looked at the first photos of the new garden on my boyfriend’s phone last night, the old shed and the apple tree where my studio now stands, it was impossible not to think we have achieved a huge amount so far.


  1. Well done - you HAVE achieved an enormous amount - including after-lunch sunsets! They must be difficult!

  2. The success of after lunch sunsets depends entirely on how much alcohol the students consume during lunch (!) Actually they did very well, photos coming on next blog post...