Reinvention #3: The Couch and The Questions

The couch has arrived, it fits in the space, it conducts a fine nap, and it looks as expected.

Alas, it also partially cuts off the window that lights up the room so beautifully. This means that once the store-bought-made-for-TV stand arrives, the couch may get moved to a side wall. I can’t have a couch in the way of my light. Some compromises even my conventional self won’t stand for.

The delight of the purchase, however, remains. It has the clean lines that we prefer, and it is a good match for the painted walls of the “office” in the room beyond, the room that presumably was a formal dining room in a past life.

I am bragging about the color match, of course, since I chose the couch color cavalierly. When we were ordering it, I was not fully recovered from the hip replacement, and I didn’t want to dink around, looking at hundreds of fabric swatches and agonizing over matching pillows. I had spotted the color I thought would work on our way around the showroom,  and I ordered it, along with the obviously matched pillows, without touching the swatch book. This dismayed the salesperson a bit, who seemed to feel it her duty to force me to examine all the choices.

So voilà! sometimes the magic — or the blinking decision — works.

The tidying of the office space continues. The filbert trees will gain their Christmas lights, and the desk may get cleaned off. The LPs will go to Sam who will do something with them. Other “stuff” is gradually getting put away — or stuck where it can’t be seen.

So ends the reinvention of the space. The reinvention of june’s identity may take a bit longer. I was forced to bring up a bulletin board from the basement to design my January exhibit at Trinity church. And I’m going to have to clean out some space (in the basement? in the painting studio?) to assemble the paintings for that exhibit so I can check their frames and see that they talk nicely to one another.

And friend and fellow artist Jay asks harder questions about the meaning of this change — whether I am taking a stance for art and against craft in this move (argh! Horrible question, fodder for tomes). Or is this the result of a physical necessity allied to aging? Has my ability to work in abstracts been lost? What will I do with all those textile pieces in my inventory? And what might be the implications of this radical change for my life as well as my art. Or can we separate my life from my art? Are we digging into the whole of june’s personality or merely removing or changing out one of the parts of her ven-diagramed self?

JOU, Miocene, Silk and lutradur, hand dyed and painted, approximately 10′ x 9′. One of many pieces of my textile art inventory. Part of the John Day series.

Admittedly, most of these questions come out of my psyche rather than from Jay. And I certainly don’t know the answers. However, sitting in the midst of the clutter pictured above are some small bits of silk that I’m thinking I’ll sandwich and sew by hand. Now there’s a radical concept. However, the operative word at the moment is “thinking.” If it comes to action, I’ll let you know. –June

JOU, Paleosoles, Oil on canvas, 30 x 40″ . Part of the John Day series.

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4 Responses to Reinvention #3: The Couch and The Questions

  1. june says:

    Ah, the couch as the artist’s studio — works a bit better with writing than with painting, although it has been said that you can’t claim to be a painter until your couch has paint on it. That said, even my textile work tended to be physical. There’s nothing so exhilarating as quilting as if you were driving a delicate race car as fast as possible — wheeeeee. So working on the couch would mean hand-work, I fear, and hand-work i definitely fear. Too many toilet paper roll covers in my hand-worked childhood — marked me for life. Even plein air painting, which I almost always start out sitting at, gets to be physical. For one thing, the stool on which I sit uses my body (um bum) for ballast, so I swing about a major gravitational force until I get too excited and stand up — at which point the stool falls over backward, which feels just right — very freeing. Which I think, Elizabeth, is saying that I agree with you. I think –snort–


  2. Elizabeth Bourne says:

    The couch is the writing place. Isn’t it that way for everyone?

    I’ve always been partial to the notion that your life and your art are not separate, anymore than your body and your foot are separate. Sure, a foot is not the entire body, but how difficult to walk without two of them.

    When I think about art and aging, I think of Matisse, who even as he recovered from surgery, continued to make great art with paper cutouts that were nothing like his drawings, but still wonderful.


  3. june says:

    Ah but the couch is the room; the room is the studio; the studio is the art; the art is the way of life.

    No room for a couch in the textile way of life….


  4. Barbara says:

    Good grief – you are way over thinking a couch. It is a comfy place to drop and aging body. I would not be without one.


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