Thursday, December 27, 2012

The dismal room

While at my parents' house, I stayed in a back room that had once been my father's music studio. It became a storeroom, not only for stacks of my mother's large flat paintings on board, but for boxes of debris left after my father's audio or house maintenance projects from decades ago. My father never threw out anything and so he kept every little scrap of wire or board or metal in piles, bags, and boxes. This room also had a small bed where I slept, some other unused old family furniture, dusty art books in bookcases, and this art table which my father built back in the 1960s. All surfaces in this room, which I remember from my childhood as spacious and inviting, were covered with dust, cat hairs, and tobacco smoke residue. The table was loaded down with old art materials from my mother, who had not worked there in a long time, as well as other random metal and plastic debris from my father's old tinkering jobs. 

In a New England December the nights are endlessly long, dark, and cold. The house is covered with overgrown vegetation so there is almost no view out the windows, and at night the windows are dead black. I took my favorite cleaning tools, Windex and Bounty paper towels, and busied myself decluttering and cleaning as much as I could. I cleaned the big picture window and cleared the surface of the table. I set up a sketchbook there where I could draw in pencil. Then I did an iPad color sketch of the window and the table.

The house is lit throughout by fluorescent bulbs (which my father in his endless quest for cheap everything) had stocked up on. These bulbs shed a weak, yellow-grey glow over the cluttered rooms. I tried to reproduce this color in my digital sketch here. You can see the reflections in the newly cleaned windows as well as some art stuff on the table. And the blue accent is my trusty bottle of Windex, next to the roll of paper towels. The reflection of the Windex shows in the window. 

iPad "Art Studio" app, December 2012.

No comments: