One of the best things about going away is coming back and seeing things from a fresh perspective. I’ve had a short break away from the familiar day to day events and on coming back into my new look studio, what struck me most is its clean brightness and how optimistic that makes me feel. Where before the dark space didn’t invite close scrutiny, now it beckons you inside with an invitation to take a seat and just ponder. That’s a great experience well worth exploring and so, I’ve been doing just that since coming home.
The work I’d been doing before I went away, still lay on the studio table, exactly as I’d left it. Re-seeing it now with fresh eyes, it comes as a shock that it looks a bit grim and grubby. I’d remembered it as being quite different, in fact, I remembered it as being delicate and full of intriguing textures. Well, that’s still true in a way, but the overriding appearance is something far more sinister. So, what should I do about this unforseen discovery? Put it all away in a box and forget about it? Re-do it but change it as well?
After sitting and pondering, I’ve decided to get the camera out and explore some of the more ‘sinister’ and ambiguous layers of the work by using close up images rather than the more straightforward, representational shots.
And here I encounter another surprise – it’s so easy to set up the camera and lights in this uncluttered studio. Where before I struggled to find space to literally set up the lights and tripod, now I have options as to where to position the camera’s equipment. What was once a chore is now a real pleasure. It’s also much easier to actually see the work itself, with nothing crowding it to distract me. I know that’s a pretty obvious thing to say but it still took me by surprise, albeit a pleasant one.
So far, I’ve taken dozens of shots, most are either slightly out of focus or a bit uninspiring, but one or two offer a glimpse of what I might be intuitively searching for in this work. It’s that kind of thing where you don’t quite know what you’re looking for until you find it. Meanwhile, I’ll happily keep going and see what surfaces.
Even with the odd surprise, as I put this new studio to work the unexpected advantages of creating in an intentionally uncluttered space are emerging. And although I’d anticipated finding it frustrating to continuously be going back into the ‘art store’ bedroom next door to find what I need among the shelved boxes of materials, it’s actually fine. Because I’d taken time to arrange them all as logically (creatively speaking) as possible, my art materials are easy to find in the clear boxes. Very soon, I’ll become more accustomed to this new arrangement of my studio workspace being in one room and materials residing in the ‘artstore bedroom’ next door. It’s worth it just to maintain this clean brightness and feeling of optimism.