Mar 8, 2013

Creative Withdrawal...or, Having An Art Attack.

Last November, after our Thanksgiving trip to AZ, we started in on the house, getting it ready to sell.  It wasn't in bad shape, it just needed to be decluttered & depersonalized, because when we live in a house, we really LIVE in it.  So all the stuff was packed away, the bright colors neutralized, and (this was the hardest part) both of our studios put into storage.

Big mistake.  I did leave out paints and paperclay, a little lace and some sewing thread.  But I put away all the fabric.  Box after box of fabric.  Yeah, someday I'll enroll in a program for fabri-holics, but for now, let's say I wasn't really thinking things through.  It's easy to stand in the midst of chaos, knee-deep in boxes and packing tape, and think "Oh, I won't really need this stuff until, what, next June?  July?"

Aside from the fact that I have several requests for dolls to sew, stuff, sculpt, paint, and dress...there is the move itself.  I'd forgotten what Nesting in the New Place does to my creative mind.  It's NOT a matter of hauling furniture from one place to another, and plugging in the toaster.  When we move, I always have an Art Attack.  Sometimes several.  Here are some examples from over the years:

Painted child's has bugs all over it. 

A box with a Celtic Green Mother In Law keeps cloth napkins in it now.

My daughter's room, the year she wanted clouds.  And vines.  And butterflies.

The entryway of our house up in North TX.  Note the painted footlocker, lower right.  Ancient and rickety, but colorful!  I painted the urn and grapes while the hubby was on an errand for building supplies.  He didn't make me paint over it.

I often pull down closet doors and install curtains.  This was my son's room; textured and painted to look like a dungeon.  Not my's what he wanted!

A purple hall closet curtain, and the entertainment center my hubby & I built together.  I had a blast carving the knotwork down the front. 

This was Florida, and I'd been bitten by the colors on the beachfront boardwalk.  Hubby wasn't thrilled about a pink kitchen.  I'm wasn't thrilled about that awful picture of myself.  But the table on the freezer behind me was fun to paint and sold at a local art fair.  We were in base housing, so I had to put it all back to white before we moved.

Lady Sydney, on our bed.  She loved towels warm out of the dryer.  Phil made the headboard and I painted it.  The Cat in the Hat was a gift, and I made the sock monkey (who is in storage and whom I miss a lot)!

When we bought land in New Mexico, I found this chalk-ware I made her a little shrine-house.  Phil still shudders when he thinks what an awful woodworking job I did...but the painting was fun.  See the orange and purple shed off in the distance (upper left)?  We've left a trail of sheds from Florida to Montana and everywhere in between.  Now it's time to built another one at our new place!

Sooooo, we've found a house, and have it under contract.  Supposed to close toward the end of April.  Before we found it, I stayed busy enough, what with the yard work and the house work, but with a new house on my mind, dreaming has turned into a tortured sort of planning, and I MUST PAINT SOMETHING NOW OR I WILL DIE!!!

I must analyze the new-house spaces for best use, repurpose (repaint?) dressers, chairs, tables, etc. for their new rooms and new uses.  Sew new curtains and maybe crochet funky tie-backs with beads and buttons and whatever.  And that doesn't even count the possibilities of a brand new yard!  Oh the bird houses and wind chimes and silly garden whiz-gigs that need making!  But the studio is packed!  The furniture has to stay as it is while we sell this house!

Oh my.  I need a creative outlet, or I really might explode.  What a mess that would make...and here I am trying to keep this place tidy.

Yesterday I cut out fabric for twenty dolls, and if buyers don't like our house a little "busy" with ongoing projects, well then too bad.  Better a prospective buyer sees a clothesline of painted doll parts than me, hunkered in a corner, muttering with a mad gleam in my eye, like Ophelia counting paintbrushes instead of broken flowers.

You might ask, "But I thought you stored the fabric?"

Well...what're a few more yards in the grand scheme of things?  The rest of it can wait til I can get to it...and it won't go to waste, I promise.


  1. loved reading this post. I understand what you are going through. I've been there. Long periods of stifled creativity can and will explode in colorful ways. We are not planning on moving anytime soon....but I always go to open houses and while walking through them I imagine what I would do if it were my home.
    Houses are fun stuff.
    Excited for you.
    Enjoy your move.

  2. Yay! You found a house! I'm going out to Home Depot today to buy a large piece of masonite or plywood, not sure, to paint something for my house. :-) Yes, I must paint something NOW. ;-)

  3. Oh, another thing! You know how some people will celebrate something by going out for a drink with friends? I buy fabric.

  4. Jan, You have tons of great memories and pictures too. You and your husband must have great times together. I enjoyed seeing some of your past projects. I did like that rock wall in your son's room, that must have taken you a long time. I bet he loved it. If you have a free minute, I want you to go back over to my blog and see if the word scramble is gone. I can't tell when I do it. I'd appreciate it alot. I want it gone so it's not so hard for people. Loved your post. thanks, martha

  5. Jan, Cute post. I love seeing some of your projects, you really have artist talent. I too love to paint. Amazing how you can transform a room, or a piece of furniture with just a bit of paint. As for fabric, it's another one of my addictions! Glad you have a new house.


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