Back when I was doing my MA, I promised myself that when I finished, I would really clean the studio. It’s not that over the past two and a half years I never tidied it up – just not very much.
Then I was away for the summer and over the past ten days I have been really trying to get to grips with it, These are some of things I have learnt.
- Gravity applies to paint. This means that paint that starts as interesting runnels on a canvas ends up on the floor. It also end up on the tops of shoes.
- There is little point in deciding that paint topped shoes will henceforth be painting-shoes; changing shoes before painting seems unnecessary when you start: that is why in the cupboard downstairs there are lots of shoes with paint on them; that is why in the corner of the studio there are pairs of trainers which were meant to be painting-shoes
- Paint, like dog poo, is attracted to the bottom of shoes; that is why there are little patches of. paint across the floor and down the attic stairs.
- Paradoxically, paint can also defy the powers of gravity and can travel horizontally and even vertically; that is why there is paint on the walls.
- Glue, resin, insulating foam, varnish and wax all have the same travelling properties as paint, only more so.
- Newspaper and tissue paper are among the inanimate object that appear to have a desire to be art; in their case they would like to be a collage on the floor; that is why they take every opportunity to become attached to any paint, glue, resin, wax, insulating foam etc that they can find.
- Paint brushes do not improve for soaking for six months particularly if the water or white spirit has evaporated. Maybe they just need longer.
- Three tins of red gloss paint is plenty.
- Ditto six drawing pads.
- Mouldy mugs also have artistic ambitions: “in their performance, ‘five coffee mugs and half a cheese sandwich’, the six artists allude to the futility of life, yet, at the same time, point to the restorative power of nature.”
- If you find a the top of a paint tube it never matches any of the tubes without tops.
- A brush wrapped in clingfoil does not stay usable forever.
- You do not find more things after tidying the studio: just different things.
- A tidy studio is like a blank sheet of paper – it is difficult to get started on anything; that is why it is not worth getting it completely tidy
One thing I have yet to learn:
whether you can tip brush restorer down the sink. The label on the bottle says ‘do not put it in plastic containers’: presumably it dissolves them.The waste pipes are plastic and I have visions of painty brush restorer cascading through the house a bit like the acid in the bath scene in Breaking Bad.
Oh well, maybe it will do the brushes some good to stay soaking for a few more months!