Monday, January 29, 2007


I dunno, I think I'm kind of liking this one, despite some problems, and despite the fact that this is proving to be yet another color palette which is impossible to photograph.

What I'm not liking is the fact that whenever I get working at what I think should be my standard level of productivity, the fumes in my studio (due mainly to the Damar in the beeswax medium, since I use odorless mineral spirits for thinning) become rapidly overwhelming.

I am now sitting in my studio in the middle of winter in New York City, during a snowstorm, with the window open and a fan set to 'max extract.'

This would not be such a concern if I did not also sleep in my studio. It's not that the studio is in the bedroom, it's that the loft-bed is in the studio because there was nowhere else to put it.

And despite the fan, the central heating circulation, and the HEPA filter running 24/7, I don't think this is good for me. I'm waking up with a scratchy throat and going through the day with a headache.

Most younger artists, I have noticed, think that safety and health precautions are for wimps. They live in industrial neighborhoods, sand without a respirator, weld without protective clothing, and use the kind of paint thinner that, well, peels paint. Without gloves. I know, because I used to be one of these artists.

I'm not anymore, but at the moment, there's just no help for it. Life is about doing what you need to do, above all, and if that proves hazardous, then so be it.


Chris Rywalt said...

I feel certain you can work out a medium which suits you and is less toxic. We've talked about this before, briefly. I know you get what you like, but especially since you sleep in your studio, you should experiment some time. Really.

Speaking of odors: I've been thinking of burning incense while painting. Except my studio is not just my bedroom, it's my wife's, and she cannot stand any kind of incense. She'd toss me out the window. Then again, she tortures me by occasionally lighting those nasty Yankee Candles in the kitchen, so maybe I should get her back. Ah, marriage!

prettylady said...

You know what? I'm not complaining. I've worked out this medium over many years of trial and error, I like it, and I don't want to change. Maybe one day I'll be successful enough to afford a bigger, separate space to work in. Until then I'll keep the fan in the window.

Chris Rywalt said...

Suit yourself. Sounded like complaining, though.

barak said...

Oooh. I LIKE Curtain!

I am also fighting the separate space battle, though photography is not nearly as hazardous to one's health.

danonymous said...

Rather than fighting the expanding space battle, I am fighting the contracting space phenomena. My bedroom is now bedroom /studio with an 8 foot worktable, a four foot wood table, a desk with pc, lighting attached to overhead radiators for those photgraphic needs, the lights swivel off of a clamped 2 x 4 and I stare at it all and envision being able to do as much or almost as much with this limited space as with a couple of thousand feet. Hey, if I'm going to have fantasies, they better be good and they better be worthwhile so they are worth fighting for. ANd I think I could do it. (Don't I always think like that? Eternal optimist!) There are four windows for cross ventilation (talk about luxury) and the only fumes come from natural body odors (I keep a small fan just in case).
I like Barak's exclamation...Ooh...I like curtain. What a perfect comment.

prettylady said...

Actually, Barak, this painting is a highly abstracted version of the painting you own. I was thinking about it while I was working. If you like this one, too, that means that the essentials are coming through. So I haven't wasted the last ten years of my life. ;-)

Danny, this too shall pass. I am utterly certain that you will have another thousand-foot studio, when the time is right for it. As I will have that cross-ventilated penthouse when it's my time. It's always been my experience that if I can see it in my mind, it will eventually manifest.

I'll show you some photos of my studio in Mexico sometime, as proof of this statement.

danonymous said...

PL, I totally agree. I have to say that I am excited about the challenge of producing more impossible work in ever more limited space.

Anonymous said...

Paint a curtain of curtains, like none that has ever existed before. Then you will have a real piece of stuff.


prettylady said...

Okay, Silas, except that I'm not just painting the curtain; I'm painting before the curtain, beneath the curtain, behind the curtain, through the curtain, beyond the curtain, and the tension at the curtain's edge. It's a tall order, and I try not to think too much about it.

k said...