Art in the greenhouse!

Kind of makes it sound like a Chihuly exhibit, right? Well, sorry, not quite.

This winter my partner has kindly let me use his shop for varnishing my artwork. The place warms up pretty quickly, and I have card tables that I set up and take down for the event. It’s a large shop and the odor from the varnish dissipates fairly quickly….which is the most important thing, because my partner is sensitive to smells. Well, some smells, anyway. Interestingly, many of the ones that I find offensive he doesn’t even notice. Huh.

Anyway, the spray varnish/sealant that I use is major toxic smelling. Even I will admit that. I made the mistake of varnishing something in the pantry the first time I used it, and I was in the doghouse for that for quite a while…rightfully so. Lesson learned.

But today I’m varnishing in the greenhouse….this means it is officially Spring in my book.

Unfortunately, the greenhouse is small, and even with the windows open I have to hold my breath and duck outside between canvases to suck in some fresh air. (I actually like the shop better.) Still, I am truly grateful for the available space for this onerous but necessary part of creation process.

Not long ago one of the artists I follow online put out a poll asking folks where they did their paint pouring — did they have a dedicated space or did they borrow space. I was really surprised by the results, particularly how many people did their pouring in their kitchen. There was a wide variety of responses including basements, bedrooms, garages, porches, and even greenhouses.

In January of 2021 I retired, and I did my first paint pouring experiment on a folding card table set up in my small home office. It was too small a table and still my office felt cramped by it. Now, 14 months later, there is just one corner recognizable as my office which is where my desk, computer, printer, etc reside. The rest of the room is my studio space, and I alternate between viewing it lovingly and suppressing a scream. I do like tidy, and fluid art is not that. So I think about someone keeping their supplies in boxes, pulling them out to set up on their kitchen table when they want to paint, and then having to get it all put back in the box when they are done. And then my little studio feels like Barbie’s dream house.

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

Henry Ward Beecher

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