Friday, April 2, 2010

On old concrete floors

Never underestimate the biological instincts of an expectant mother.  Last Saturday, despite being 36 weeks pregnant, I dragged my husband and two-year old daughter to Ikea to lug home a trunk load of new shelving. Thereafter, I closeted myself in the home office and proceeded to reorganize the entire space.  I swept, wiped, vanquished dust bunnies, sorted out all my paints, and pulled out hoards of art supplies I had kept around waiting for that inspired project - salvaged pieces of wood, metal, rolls of copper, acrylic, bolts of satin etc. including a box of orange rubber bracelets stamped with "Opening Night at the De Young Museum" which I swear I will make useful one day.

At the end of 4 days of "almost overdoing it", I sat back to enjoy my newly set-up studio.  And it was wonderful to behold.  Books lined up, artwork hung on the walls, containers labeled, power cords neatly tucked away, clean desks and a gleaming hardwood floor.

So why am I now missing the rough, stained concrete floor of my old studio space in the city...? That floor had permanent paint marks that defied being removed, rings of embedded beeswax, spots of hardened resin and all the markings of thoughtless spillage occurred during my numerous artistic experiments.

Back in those days, I worked with nary a thought of cleaning up.  The floor was like a giant, silent canvas - accepting of whatever I chose to do in my various alchemical pursuits.  And the art that resulted from those days reflected that sort of kind of careless intensity.

Now, I am cautious with my studio's hardwood floor.  I wouldn't dream of leaving spilled paint on it, scratching it, hammering it, spraying water, solvents, anything that required cleaning up before my toddler gets her little fingers and toes in the gunk.  Heck, I already use ecologically sustainable, green, non-toxic cleaning supplies on every part of my house so what makes this floor space any different?

Safe to say, what I am probably missing is doing a certain kind of artwork.  The kind that can't be done when your surroundings are too precious to damage.  Does this mean I will be doing neat little paintings of koalas and giraffes for the years to come?

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