New Studio Great Group Project: Paint the Column

Column 3/15/13

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It’s now been ten days since the last post; I’ve slowed down from my once per week posting because of being so busy with moving and working so much.

Anyway, I am happy to say that the new studio is really wonderful and I am totally embracing the “new” and do not miss my old one at all. Great things about this studio: there are two rooms and lots of storage so I don’t have to build painting racks that will take over the space the way they did in the last studio. I haven’t even filled all the storage space yet. Other improvements: the entrance to the building is all glass with the “59 Franklin” written in the glass and the lobby is better looking and has a nice column in it. The elevator is bigger and not as slow, and great news, the bathrooms actually have hot water and paper towels! There is even a shelf above the bathroom sink in front of the mirror that you can put tea cups on while washing them. And the ladies room has two toilets, so it feels much more civilized. The cold water only in the last studio was terrible. Unfortunately the big sink for washing brushes is in the basement, so I have to remember to go down there every day to wash brushes…

Greatest thing of all is the column in the second room. Also, the second room has high ceilings comparable to the high ceilings of my last studio. So this column inspired me right away. Like the walls it was not painted pristine white and there were a lot of green paint marks on it; hence, the thought of painting it made sense. I’m not sure what happened when, but I started at the bottom with neon pink and painted a big of it I think on the first day I worked there; March 4. The next day, I invited people to paint it and the fun began. A patient who doesn’t like doing art at all got completely excited to paint the column and use the inks as well which are really fun because they drip down the column. There is definitely a different feeling to painting the column than painting a wall or door. Over the course of the last ten weekdays, my first two work weeks in the studio, many people from ages 5 and up, including a lot of adults, have painted the column. It is a great group art therapy project as it connects all people who visit the studio together. There is no skill needed to paint on it, so lots of people are drawn to it. I made a mandala on the floor around the bottom of the column. I drew a circle free hand with a sharpie and then covered it with pieces of neon pink masking tape to make the boundaries of the circle, so people were invited to paint on the floor inside the mandala as well as on the column. At some point during the first week, I got the courage to go up high on the ladder and paint the very top of the column and the ceiling around it. I wanted it to have a circle of gold on the edges like a gold halo and then painted the gold as though it were dripping down from the ceiling. Then this week I painted the next layer down a darker gold, and started doing copper under that, with the plan to add silver so it looks like, as the gold drips down it gets transformed eventually into silver and from there into the multicolored painting extravaganza that has been happening for the last two weeks with every color imaginable as well as spots, lines, circles, splashes of ink and even a small tree on the mandala. On Friday I started putting more neon pink tape on the edge of the mandala as it had gotten painted over. I kind of realized it made no sense to do that and that I should wait until the project is finished, as I will have to keep redoing the pink tape…

There was something magical about this column and the excitement generated in painting it that felt like my new studio has all this potential to be even more of a creative inviting atmosphere that will find many visitors drawn to make art… The altered book frenzy continues as I continue to make altered books along side more people. I started a few more, so now I am still working on the first one which was The Artists’ Handbook, and started 3 other ones that are children’s board books which are fun to sand and then paint on and collage with.

I also got the idea to add more color to the place when one person noticed that the first room was full of things with bubble wrap on them and random other stuff like wood that made the second room more inviting, so I brought in some colorful fabrics and covered the things I was storing over the flat files; what a difference that made! And suddenly I was aware that this studio is very different from my last one. It is similar in the kind of studio it is. The dirty floors and art supplies overflowing everywhere are as inviting and comforting for creating, but the studio itself is trying to be prettier, with the colorful column and then my gold sheets and multicolored fabric; I hope to cover up the paintings that are being stored in bubble wrap. Also I put a pretty red and gold tablecloth over the florescent light in the second room which adds to the colorful atmosphere.

Now I just have to unpack the boxes, build shelves and organize the place as well as paint the walls and finish the mermaid door that got started… It will take a while for it to get set up in an organized way, but it’s getting there slowly.

A new creative space that is already exciting as a place to create in! I am very happy about it and look forward to more people seeing the studio soon…

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