I have always wanted a studio. For decades. From a young age I used to have an easel up in my bedroom or more often than not I would paint on the floor much to my Mothers despair who did not see the painted borders of my masterpieces as works of art on her carpet. I recall she particularly enjoyed my six foot study of Monet’s water lily’s in oils during my Art A Level. As an asthmatic it maybe was not the best idea to try and cover the smell of turps with excessive sprays of Cacharel Loulou which I can confirm makes for a heady mix.
I have always been an angry artist but that time in my life was particularly tough and painting felt both a gift and a curse. At times I could lose hours in a painting, hiding away from real life falling deeper into another world with each brush stroke but heaven forbid the painting would lose its way and I found myself back in my bedroom with what felt like the whole world crashing in around me.
30 years ago but I can remember a still life painting taunting me from my bed during the early hours and I knew the only way to release myself and get some sleep was to rip it up which of course come the morning I realised was a mistake of epic proportions and the tears fell hard. In that moment I became a thrower and not a ripper. I soon found you can lob a canvas with little repercussion if you aimed for the blanket of rudbeckia in the middle flower bed.
So forgive me the huge tidal wave of emotion that has been built into this studio. This is literally years in the making.
We have attempted a studio before. About 10 years ago I declared I “needed space” and so my Prince Charming made it his mission. Although he did not have a pot of gold to work with and I am not sure Disney would allow the level of swearing involved. We had a shed in the garden. Already 10 years old but somehow we made a divide. His tools and shed shit on one side and my space on the other. We put down a laminate floor and rough ply on the walls. I faffed a bit. Put up an easel and a chair and boom. The Shit Shed Studio was born. You can’t polish a turd though and it was very much a shed. Cold, damp and the ginormouse spiders seemed unimpressed with my arrival. My creative juices struggled and all it took was one Hornet and that was me done. I saw that as a sign I was not dedicated enough and the brushes gathered cobwebs.
A decade passed and somehow in this time art had found me again. More than that, it saved me. I found myself lost once again. Much like when I was at 18. It took some years of persuasion but I finally went on a print course. Something I had never studied so this felt like a fresh start. The course was booked and the nerves built up daily. My sadness seemed to take a stronger hold of me and every thought I had was not to attend yet one Monday morning I found myself sitting outside the venue, the car still running ready to make my exit. Yet I turned the key, picked up my packed lunch box and the next thing I know I was sitting at a desk chiselling a flamingo (that ended up more Dodo) out of a piece of lino. I was awakened which I know sounds arty farty but its the truth.
I could afford to buy the shed last year because of the way my work has developed and if I am honest I have always felt lucky. As if this career landed in my lap but it was in fact part of a plan. A plan I never knew existed but worked tirelessly towards. This studio and my career started the very night I ripped up my painting. I just never realised until I began to write this.
Not able to control my passion I sought another career path. Journalism. At the time I convinced myself it was because it was financially more viable and secure. Only now do I realise I created that solution out of fear. Fear of failing. Fear of exposure. I watched as the rest of the newsroom desperately sought to please the Editor. An Editor who made no attempts to hide his distain for me. I constantly hunted for joy in amongst the mundane or sadness of local news. I felt misunderstood to my very core so when HE decided I was not good enough for him the tears lasted less than a day. The hurt lasted decades. I still feel it. I was working in a playground with adults who had no idea of how to play or simply be kind.
Do not get me wrong. I have a happy soul so even in my darkest moments I can still see the light and for that I am most grateful. Had I not been built chasing rainbows I fear I would have been lost in the storms. Shit me. I honestly thought I was going to show you glorious photos of my studio and this has ended up a deep and meaningful. I just want you to know this is not just buying a shed and doing it up. This is my life. Obviously now I have the music running with Michael Parkinson presenting me a book in my head but I am trying to be serious and sincere here.
In fact I think that is me done for the day. I think I need to absorb what just flowed out here and then maybe I can share the next installment.
I cannot believe I have just done something as dicky as this but I just went on Pinterest for a quote and this one works.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams – Eleanor Roosevelt.