One of the chores I have around the studio this time of the year is to restore a little order. The year is a little over halfway over and in painting for the two solo shows I do each year that open in June and July, my studio environment can get a little disheveled, papers piled up and paint tubes, bottles and brushes everywhere. Half-done canvasses, some started with a fire of inspiration that suddenly dwindled midway and now await renewed interest, lean against every available wall. Books are stacked in piles waiting for the day when I can sit down and just read.
It’s not as bad as it was in my old studio in the woods. It was smaller and all my different processes including framing, staining and matting, were done in one compact space. That was infinitely more messy and about this time every year, I found the clutter made concentrating in the studio more and more difficult. The mess created a kind of static in my thinking.
Now, the studio shown above is that of Francis Bacon, the late Irish born artist best known for his Expressionistic work that is often viewed as violent and disturbing. I remember seeing these photos years ago and feeling so much better about my studio. The huge black paint stain on my floor didn’t seem so bad. But I wondered if I could function in his space. I guess the concentration required to block out the mounds of debris would have to be incredible. Maybe that is part of the painting obsession- to be so engrossed in what is before you that all else is pushed far off into the background. Bacon did view his painting as an obsession, saying, “I have been lucky enough to be able to live on my obsession. This is my only success.”
Bacon was an incredibly interesting character and one whose words often ring true for me. He was self taught and talked in terminology that I understand, earthy and straightforward. Very little artspeak.
The piece shown here is one of my favorites, Study After Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, and is very representative of the style of much of his work. You can find a lot on Bacon and his work online.
Anyway, I’ve got some cleaning to do or my studio will start to look like this…