My older sister had the most beautiful clothes, no holes, no spots, smears or stains, and above all a wide array of tints, tones, and shades unlike my meager set of worn out black outfits. At times she’d allow me to wear a piece. Occasionally I’d sneak into her drawers and make something my own for the day. I did my best not to perform any activity that would give away the fact that I borrowed the item without asking. Without fail I did something to get myself caught, a stain, a tear, leaving it on the floor, not folding it exactly the way it was when I took it, once I even melted her brand new silk top ironing it. My sister always scorned and scolded me when she found out and if we were out of the house she told me to take it off right then. The comment I remember best however was “you get paint on everything you own.”
There is something about being an artist that reeks of grunge. Frankly, I stay dirty. Even though I try to stay clean by maintaining separate sets of clothes; for work, for church, for going to the gym, and studio clothes. However I never fail to get paint on any and everything, even my bed sheets.
During performances, when my daughter was studying dance, the children were cautioned not to be seen in their costumes before the show, it would ruin the magic. This made me think about the magic of the studio. My work space which is in the back of my home is a beautiful, large space with cathedral ceilings, a large storage closet and a bathroom. It is where I make hard work look easy, where mistakes unfurl into process. It is where the magic happens. I’ve got lots of paper, old work, tons of books, and enough tools and materials to open a store. It is where I practice for the final performance. For the artist it is the exhibition in the clean gallery, with reading space between imagery and white walls that allow for intended color reading.
Experiencing other artists resolved work in white space is similar to how I felt while wearing the beautiful outfits that belonged to my older sister. After spending weeks in my studio producing, I look forward to entering clean spaces and enjoying readable, content rich art work. White space with focused light helps the readability of color, space, line, value and composition, specifically when work is in resolution status. It enables the viewer to renew and refresh. Finished work needs to be honored in an environment that lends itself to the finality that the hard work of practice deserves.