August 27, 2012

Selling the Studio

Most of my art supplies are either in storage or hidden away so that the house would look perfect and clean while prospective buyers tromped through.  This isn't my home any longer.  It's my house, but not my home and not really my studio.  It's a room with a desk, a partially filled bookshelf and a cabinet with my art supplies hidden behind polka-dotted wrapping paper in the glass windows.

It was hard to have to remove all signs of art with a single exception (a painting too large and delicate to move or store).  Frustrated by the realtor's and stager's suggestion to "put a mirror or a simple print" over the fireplace and find nothing but junk or items too heavy to hang, I decided to make something.  It was pretty funny, actually, as I flipped through the pages of a book about encaustic work that I acquired with the intention of learning how to do it.  There was a simple piece that inspired me, so I raced off to Michael's and bought a canvas.  Working on the outdoor table, I quickly painted the surface, let it dry, then mixed more acrylic with a heavier body medium for texture and scraped it over the first layer.  Fine line details were added with a paint pen, and remnants of handmade paper proved perfect to whack up and apply with a matte medium.  I think I spent a total of fifteen minutes on this cheesy quick piece to fill a space on the wall.  The best part is that my funny husband wants to frame and keep it.

How fun to make something like a kid, not worrying about what anyone would think and just getting messy for a while!  I am inspired.

So the house hunting begins.  It will take 30 days from today for the house to transfer title to the new owners and we hand over the keys.  I love that fact that every house we look at to consider buying, the first thing my husband asks is which room would be best for a studio.

This is going to be a wild month.

August 17, 2012

Contractor's Silent Motto

Spray now, say "Oops" later and spend less time on the job.  I think that's it.

These last two weeks have been spent entirely in looney mode.  The only art I've produced is what a former co-worker called, "painting the sky blue."  This is code for cursing like a sailor.  My sky is a beautiful, deep shade of very, very blue.

The process of getting our house ready to sell is whackier than anything I could have imagined, not because of the mundane work of packing or tossing out junk (why do I have keys to cars I no longer own?), but because I have had a string of unbelievably poor quality workmanship on the part of the contractors.  Every day we take a couple of steps forward, then I discover a disaster and we take a huge step backward, the next day spent trying to repair or undo the damage. 

There were several days when we, along with all of our worldly goods, had to be out of the house so that the carpet could be removed and the hardwood floors, covered for decades, could be refinished.  All rooms of the house with hardwood floors were to be painted before the refinishing since it was not possible to tape down tarps to newly finished wood.  Alas, the floor guy did not take the same care on his end, leaving hand prints of stain on every single brushed nickel doorknob, some freshly painted walls and freshly painted doors.  Then there's the painter that painted windows shut (all of them), painted all of the hinges on the kitchen cabinets (46 of them) after we had several explicit conversations about not painting them, and the gentleman who repaired our deck, leaving old steel pipes sticking up out of the deck.  He was kind enough to paint them to match, but seriously?!?  Having the contractors fix their mistakes is necessary, but the time consumed with taking three steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, etc. is making me lose my mind and my patience. 

Is it just me?  I think like an artist and I look at these jobs as I would art.  The fact that these people are OK with sloppy work shocks me.  I can't imagine framing a piece of art crooked and ignoring that fact, or sewing a piece and having seams not quite closed and some stuffing popping out with dangling threads, or working on a collage piece and have a bit of trash stuck to it to be left behind and ignored as if no one would notice.  I would notice.  I would fix it.  I would be ashamed to do an incomplete or sloppy job and charge someone for the slop.

While we were away from the house and it was like a construction zone, we boarded my poor studio kitty Tabitha at the veterinarian.  The heat and humidity have been brutal recently, so we gave her a couple of extra days there while we tried to make the house inhabitable.  Look who is enjoying some sofa time indoors!  Poor Tabitha has been terrified of all of the new voices and the activity, retreating to her old "hidey hole" down by the pool, tucked away in the garden.  She's happy when everyone goes home and I can convince her to come indoors.  There is some good in the day after all :-)

Lastly, I have begun to rebuild my indoor studio.  The amount of furniture must be limited for the sake of showing the house, but I've got my desk, my cabinet of paints and glues and other goodies, plus my bookshelf.  I kept my dresser full of art bits and bobbles in the garage and hope to tackle at least a few ATCs this week, for sanity's sake of no other.

As a reward for neither committing homicide nor just flat out losing our minds with each other these last few weeks, my husband and I are going to enjoy seeing Tommy Chong at the local comedy club.  We could use a few laughs!