Ink with watercolor
My last apartment was so small I couldn't have furniture. This is kind of a lie, but not really. I got rid of pretty much everything and opted to sit on a meditation poof at a coffee table for everything: work, meals, paperwork. Everything.
I got rid of a very nice but impractical wooden table I bought off the street for $20 my first semester in art school. I'd had that table for more than 10 years. It was solid wood with veneers, part of the NYC public school system (complete with petrified gum underneath). When I got it, it had been left outside in the elements and it was faded and warped, and scratched to hell. I added battle scars to it over the years: paint streaks and exacto scratches covered the surface. It was bittersweet to give up, but there was no way it was going to fit.
I moved out of that place a few months ago. For various reasons. I don't regret getting rid of that table, though. As much as I loved it, it was kind of a pain in the ass. It was lower than I'd like. There was an apron that made it hard to cross my legs underneath (and was impossible for taller friends to sit at comfortably.). It was huge: 30" wide and 70" long. It did not disassemble and was hard to move into places.
I guess I've been preoccupied, but I realized that I haven't really been drawing much lately. In fact, I haven't been following a creative practice at all. I take photos sometimes and make funny costumes by hand for my dog. But I've pretty much stopped drawing altogether. I try, from time to time, but feel clumsy and inadequate, and quit before too long.
Every long-term project and goal I have in mind requires me to draw. Even if the final product in mind is not a drawing, I still need to draw to get there. Not drawing means I have to rethink who I am as a person. This is quite the existential pickle.
I know it's rather cliche attempt new habits at the beginning of January. I deeply resent the notion that I should improve myself just because the year got older. I usually spend the holiday season in a depressive funk and look forward to the sweet sweet day when the holidays and it's various obligations and extra expenses are officially behind us so I can get back to doing whatever it is I'd much rather be doing with my time and money. The holidays are lousy for ruining habits and shaking up routine, and "resolutions" defaults to plans of spending time working on various abandoned projects. In 2016, I've been in an extra deep funk since the election, and I haven't thought about anything but wishing the year would end already. I didn't give a lot of thought about anything new I wanted to do for myself. I had the usual cloud of "live creatively and find creative work" looming over the head, but that persists no matter what month it is, and is always waylaid by my resistance to drawing.
Serendipitously, someone down the street was moving out on New Years Eve day, and was giving away a standing height work table. Her dad made it for her her first semester in art school, and she was moving out of state and couldn't take it with her. It takes up half the space of my old juggernaut of a table, and was about half as heavy. I picked it up, was able to move it back myself with an IKEA handtruck, set up my new work space, and suddenly felt calm and comfortable as I stood there and arranged the art supplies I have on hand. It was as if I had come home from being lost for almost 18 months.
So I've made a for real resolution for 2017, which is to draw more. Nothing fancy or detailed. 5, 10, 20 minutes. Any medium. Most of the time will be at that table. Sometimes I'll have to draw somewhere else. Drawing as work on bigger, long-term projects does not count. Just draw something. It's January 2nd and I'm proud to say I completed this task both days so far. And sitting at my new table, I suddenly feel much less clumsy and inadequate. I feel like me and I've come home.
remember when lloyd dobler learned how to fly a plane and rescued you and your family from the apocalypse?