One of those days, when I want to be in the studio painting but when I looked around the house, I realized I could not avoid the fact that it will be soon rotting off the foundations if I don't stop and clean it. I was whipped after coming home from a trip and hitting class the same night so it slid out of control and I didn't care until today. It's my American Protestant Guilt at work, and although I'm no contender for Hoarder on teevee, I come from a long line of crap hoarders and hangers on to empty cardboard boxes. If you have these people in your family line you need to be very vigilant about what goes and what stays and why? I've noticed the hoarders always have some compelling reason for crap-clinging, they just can't see trash as trash. Could I become my sister? My mom? Quick let me throw out a few more things!
As an artist involved in a ton of different media and trying to minimize my carbon footprint by repurposing Stuff, I tend to accrue Stuff. I also try really hard to get it organized and where it belongs ASAP and keep it there. My house is busy visually, but it pleases me. My eyes and heart get inspiration from the things I have here in my 'nest'. A lot of them move on out and into other lives with time.
I purposefully chose a small house, 900 square feet, because I would have to be careful about what fit and what didn't. The rule is something comes in and something goes out. That even includes books. I love, love, love books and if I had a spare room it would be lined with bookshelves and books. Given my rule, it means I have to self-edit and my books have devolved into a few keep categories. My office has a wall of art books, my living room has a wall of travel books, food books–including cooking and reading about cooking, poetry and children's books. A basket catches all the finished books destined for trading in on other books or sharing with friends.
In a small house you can't just hide piles of stuff. It all shows. The upside is it takes less time to clean–even with all the stuff I have, like my collection of wind up toys, collection of rabbits, collection of carved masks, collection of Mexican animals, collections of round things, interesting saucers, and old cool metal stuff. What can I say? I was born to collect, I think I'm dealing with ADD by organizing the hell out of everything and putting my family's genetic predisposition to be scattered to work for me.
As a working artist art is my life and my life is art. I couldn't separate the two if I wanted. I always marvel at people who say, "I'm going to paint (when…fill in the blanks)." I couldn't stop making work if I wanted to, its been a compulsion my entire life and I hope it always will be. I'm sure it makes me quirky but I like me just fine and my dear hubs puts up with my collecting of Things and Stuff.
Today, the jumble became annoying, and my house signaled that it needed my attention so the day has been occupied with dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, washing, the myriad details that leak into one another like raindrops off a roof. I'm almost there. I can see the clean finish line, but then again, I've been dangerously thinking of metal smithing and how to derange the studio into a better set up for working in metal.
But for now, let me tender one important piece of advice from an artist who has to stay organized to succeed. Pick stuff up and put it away as soon as you are done with it. From coffee cups to clothes, paintbrushes to broken glass, if you put it back/away/deal with it, life is so much better especially when you go to look for it again.
Tomorrow really is a studio day, there is a big painting waiting for me to finish and I cannot hardly wait to get busy on it. Okay, where did I put that dustcloth….