Leaves are clinging to the gravel strewn near the door of my design studio. It’s sodden right now, the ground is greasy and slippery because it’s the wet season in Kentucky. The leaves are dangerous for sandals still worn on an early fall day so I drag my feet across the gravel driveway to the studio sort of like dragging boots across a snowy path.
An old door with a brown door knob greets me at my destination. Inside I’ve had the interior of the studio insulated. Drywall has been applied and 8 sheets of slot board so I can hang things on those two walls wherever I put the metal hanger clips. We took down all the shelves. And moved out all the molds stored inside plus the extra extras of gardening equipment, weed killers and office equipment not presently used. I needed a clean slate, nothing to challenge my eye when I walk into this small space.
Fresh paint is in the process of being applied after lots of little pieces of color swatches have been stuck to the unpainted walls. I finally chose something close to the green in a restaurant in Midway, Kentucky. I held a swatch next the the wall today and said to my lunch companion, see this is the color. And a warm soft white for the end walls. This a creamy white suitable for color studies in charcoal or pastel, and not so white it shocks my eye. I don’t like white rooms or white canvas for that matter.
And yes, I know the white doesn’t fight with color in paintings or the shadows and light of a sculpture I’m working on but it keys me up rather than make me relax so I can think. I love a pigmented tonal wall soft in color which fixes my eye on my work. Ceiling white has been rolled on the ceiling and the wood beams will be painted white probably tomorrow. Track lighting is black. I’ll be able to point the light in whatever direction I need so I won’t need a miner’s lamp on my head that is until the leaves are all off the trees.
The sculpture molds are now stored in the metal building, some which need attention before shut up in the big canisters and labeled for future use. They need seasoned, which means silicone needs to be rubbed into the rubber molds to keep them pliable. Unfortunately now and this wasn’t in the past, the silicone rubber compounds imported from China are not always what they say they are so some molds are failing. What I mean by that is turning into gooey messes. A real problem when as an artist I pay for the service of a good mold with enough life in it to create the waxes for the cast bronze editions. Many of my molds were stored outside in Santa Fe much to my chagrin. And some of them had fallen off the shelves and broken in so many pieces they weren’t reparable. What isn’t here are safely stored in Colorado under temperature controlled conditions. What a relief.
This little space has had a life size horse built in it when it was called the smoke house by the original owner. Now it will be warmer in the winter, and not so dark with the gray walls and one bald light bulb overhead. It perches on the Palisades with a canopy of trees and a glimmer of the river below. There are remnants of white glue on the floor. Artist’s are not the best tenants. I’ve washed down the popular floor boards and rubbed the paint dripped from the recent painting. The other stains I don’t know what they’re from, they have to stay. I’m not refinishing the floors with square nails in the wood planks.
I salvaged some cut limestone rock that had been thrown onto the old stone fence along the driveway. I wondered what they were because they were much thicker than the rubble stone used for fencing. They must of been cast offs for the steps to the house. The little building never had a formal step so it got it today. And I plucked flat rubble limestone from the old dilapidated stone walls below our house for a little garden area on each side of the door. Plants will come next when I have the time to get them when I’m in town.
There’s flurry of activity in town right now with the horses racing at Keeneland. I’ll go after the first crush. I like it when people are there but not so much on parade like the horses. This little space is for daydreaming, reading, researching and warming a handful of clay before I apply it to a wire armature. Soon the wet leaves will be tinged with frost. I welcome the quiet time of winter so my work can get done.