When I was a child and we came back to school in September, very often the teacher would ask us to write about what we did over the summer. I always thought this was a cool thing and I liked writing and being able to express myself. Even though I actually taught summer school this year and felt like I had no summer vacation at all, I still feel like I had a summer break of sorts.It just wasn’t the sort of break I thought I was going to have.
After the spring semester ended – funny how my life is again governed by school seasons – I decided to deep clean and reorganize my art studio. It had been a really long time since I had done anything like that in this space and I had visions of what I wanted it to look like. There were piles upon piles on counters and table spaces, there were boxes and bags on the floor, there was just stuff everywhere. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t stuff in here still, because I think that part of the function of an art studio is to hold stuff. But it was just way too much and I felt a little claustrophobic about it all. So I decided to just dig in and in maybe a week or two I would have the art studio of my dreams.
That was a little over three months ago. Needless to say, after a week or two I had just begun to scratch the surface but I was committed to sticking to it til it was all done. I started methodically, tackling one cupboard, shelf by shelf and I stopped to praise myself and show off to family each reclaimed space. I recycled bunches of things, threw away things, made donation trips to Goodwill. I was on a roll and feeling good. Then life happened. Nothing big, just regular life things, and I lost a little steam in the studio but somehow ended up cleaning out other spaces in the house and that felt good, too. Okay, I thought, let’s just go with the flow here and clean and sift and make my life a little lighter. I still got into the studio to clean but I found I was taking a bit of a break from art and business in general. I don’t know why, but I think it was just something that I needed. I have always worked in cycles and seasons and I have found that if I just go with it, things work themselves out in the end.
At one point, I wasn’t sure about what was going on. I was slowly but surely making progress in the studio, I even took a break and made a little art (okay, it was a big piece, but just one.) I wasn’t sure I was on the right path and I questioned a lot of things. What am I doing? Is it the right thing? Should I even make art at all? Well, yes, I can’t not make art… And then I got a little confirmation, a friend with a word of encouragement, some new requests for work, and I realized that this was just a little season and that it would pass and everything would be okay. Summer school ended and I got another little boost of energy to finish up the studio. I started to see my dream studio peek out from the chaos and I started feeling more inspired. It was such a huge job, though, and at one point I felt like it might never be done. Truthfully, I don’t think it ever will be completely done, but that’s okay, I can tackle the bits and pieces that are left hidden away at a later time.
So what did I do over my summer break? I cleaned my studio, painted two bedrooms in the house, helped one daughter clean our her space and make it new and another one move back in – which meant clearing the guest room out – and got rid of more stuff than I can quantify. And do I have the studio of my dreams? Well, not quite, but I’m pretty happy with it, and I need to start making art again, which I’ll share with you here. Soon, I hope.