9/10/2013

Dodging the Asteroids in the Final Frontier

Page spread from my in progress handmade book Voice
Pigments, watercolor, 23k gold leaf, Arches watercolor paper

I have a deep love of space... Or would it be more correct to say I have a love of deep space?  Either way I'm highly sensitive and responsive to it whether its in my home, in my studio, in a restaurant, through a huge telescope, or on the Science Channel. My awareness of space is so profound that I'm quite sure if I lost my vision, I'd click like a bat using echolocation to know where things are in relation to each other and to me.

What I'm finding in my old(er) years is that the massive clutter of 3 people plus one dog - brief cases and shopping bags half unpacked near doors, millions of Legos, refillable water bottles that don't seem to have a semi-permanent location, dog toys, unhung framed artwork, clean laundry to be folded, books, bills, etc. - is like an asteroid belt from which I am never safe physically or visually. 

We live and work in a 1917 bungalow with few closets.  The stuff is all out there taunting me to find a space for it, put it away, or worse beg someone else to organize it.  (I've come to the realization that there may be a gene on the Y chromosome responsible for noticing clutter and dirt and that can be turned off as result of nagging females, who, despite their best efforts, cannot get it turned back on.)

The other thing I've come to realize in said older years is that if I can't see at least a little clear and clean space on the horizontal surfaces - dining room and coffee tables, kitchen bar, desks, workbench, floors - it's like not having any empty space on the canvas or white space on the page.  My brain registers this clutter as overload and can't shift into creative mode.  

I might be able to ignore the overload temporarily, but when the stress of being creative on demand hits, the asteroid belt does too.  When I do see clear space on horizontal surfaces, I literally feel a physical sense of calm and happiness that lets me move onto thinking about possibilities. It's is a vital shift for an artist because possibilities are what creating is all about.

4 comments:

John said...

I could have written this it sounds so much like me (except for that Y chromo part!) My wife has been the clutterer all these years.
Sometimes the only space I get is to look up at the stars and enjoy the absolute endlessness.

Mare said...

Oh my goodness, I absolutely nodded my head in agreement while reading this post! Perhaps it's winter moving in, but I have a strong need to clear some surfaces of my own and pick up those paint brushes which I have been ignoring for so long. Thank you for inspiring me! :)

victoria said...

John, good idea about the stars. It's been too long since I had a clear night and a view to look upwards!

For about 2 years I went to the local observatory every week. Atlanta sports the largest telescope in the US consistently open to the public (36"). The first time I went the resident astronomer was so happy to have people interested in something besides than the moon and Jupiter that he stayed late and let us see many less often traveled to destinations like the Cat's Eye Nebula. He joked that we could bring pizza next time, so the next week I took pizza and homemade cookies.

Going became a weekly pilgrimage to the profound insignificance of infinite connection. There are reasons I named my son, Skyler.

Sadly, my astronomer friend retired some years ago and my more recent trips back to the observatory have been filled with drunk college students needing to check off their astronomy 101 homework. It's ages of waiting in line to see the usual fare. Still, it might be good to try again soon...

Mare, yes, it's nesting time! I always get a bad case of needing to rearrange everything when it gets close to Skyler's birthday. I think it's the remembered pain of having to see him in the hospital for his first 36 days of life rather than having him home and nesting for real.

Perhaps the cooler weather triggers it too. I so need for things to feel more ordered before November when I want to bang my head against a hard surface in dread of the coming holidays and their inherent stress.

V

John said...

We're more and more alike, V. I wish I could have spent nights there. I built a good sized telescope using a stove pipe for a tube about 20 years ago and stood out under the stars with it for a couple of years looking into the deep, deep sky. Me and my dog would be out until predawn all summer long. It had no motor and a paper towel core for a a view finder so I learned that sky like a hometown road.