Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Stage

One good thing about recent events at our house is that I finally got the junk room cleaned out. Once it was all painted and clutter-free, we set it up as a sewing room, with the machine sitting invitingly on the table in front of the window. This was only for looks, of course; I haven't even sewn a button on in the last six months. But it is lovely to be able to leave the door open and see the sun streaming in whenever we pass by. It makes the whole house look bigger and brighter.

When this was my daughter's bedroom, I never spent much time looking out these particular windows, which face east and south. I'd forgotten that they give a pretty good glimpse of the river if you can ignore the big Mac's Milk sign stretched across it. Not good enough to put "view of the water" in the real estate ad, but good enough to lift the heart when the rising sun turns the water a peachy gold. I've always been able to spend hours at a time looking out a window, whether there was a view or not. It's one of those talents that don't just exactly fit on a resume.

As I started to sneak my art supplies out of the closet, a few at a time, it occurred to me that I could set the sewing machine aside, use the tabletop to rest my palette (and a bottle of water, and some brushes) and put it all away at the end of session, and the room would stay pretty neat. This has worked pretty well, except for the putting away and staying neat part.

So the sewing room is gradually morphing into a studio. Since lots of bloggers are posting pictures of their studios lately, this is temporarily mine.

Directly across the street in front of the south-facing window is a vacant lot with a storage shed on it. I've come to think of this empty field as a stage, with the storage shed on stage left and a little white house on stage right, and a backdrop of evergreen trees planted in the back yards of the next street.

Usually the stage is empty, but occasionally someone walks past with a dog. Or a garbage truck passes by. Or a school bus rolls up and ejects a bunch of children. That's about it for activity on Maple Street, until people start arriving home from work at the end of the day, and it's dark by then.

One day when I was sitting there, three children in snowsuits galloped onto the stage, which was covered with untouched snow. They ran around making trails of footprints, and flopped on their bellies, and threw sprays of snow at each other and tried to stomp out an area big enough for a rink.

Then they ran back to their house. When they grow up, they will probably tell their children that they played outside all day long in winter, but the whole event only took five minutes.

The next day a man appeared with a snowblower.

He cut random paths through the snow, more or less following the paths made by the children. I wondered if he was going to clear the space for a rink for them, but he didn't go near the little oval they had stomped. Perhaps he was just testing the snowblower. He also only stayed five minutes, which disappointed me because I want to make a picture of someone using a snowblower and it's hard to see most of the neighbours at work because of trees and other obstacles blocking the view. (Well, you don't expect me to go out in that cold to sketch, do you?) But the winter is young, and it's a year of heavy snow, so I hope to get it yet.


Bonny said...

What a beautiful little studio/sewing room! It looks so cheerful, I can imagine you want to be in it all the time creating.

Love the paintings of the kids and the man with the snow blower!

Thanks for visiting my Blog.

paris parfait said...

These are wonderful winter scenes you've painted. And like you, I've turned my daughter's bedroom into an art/creative studio space. But unlike yours, mine is messy and small! :)