Upstairs/Downstairs


Rails to Trails Tantallon, originally uploaded by leyaevelyn.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the interesting experience of people, who have never been in my house before, come first to the living space and then go down into my studio. Since most people in Nova Scotia are known to gather in the kitchen (our famous Kitchen Parties), the main floor of my house is kitchen, with a side of living and dining room. It’s “nice”, fairly orderly, peaceful, quiet, muted colors, with large windows overlooking the lake. I have space on one wall only to hang a large painting. A couple of other walls have small pieces. Basically, the art is outside in the woods and the lake.

Then there is my studio. Down stairs which are usually crowded with art supplies and “things” that don’t have a home yet, things that haven’t decided whether to live up or down.

And then, walking into my studio, there is a profusion of color, unexpected and, it seems, overwhelming. I’m used to it, of course. But I have heard, often, especially lately, exclamations of surprise and pleasure.

I definitely need a separation of the upstairs, daily living, space and the creative, studio place. My artwork is not me. It happens. Because I am well trained, very disciplined, persistent, it happens. I knew when I built this house sixteen years ago that I needed a “nice” home or I wouldn’t be able to do it. Wouldn’t be able to create with the intensity my work demands.

An artist friend came over several years ago and said if he lived here he would be working in the living room as well as downstairs. I couldn’t do that. I come upstairs for refreshment. My studio isn’t big enough, of course. I don’t have room to store paintings properly, even as I am working on them. But that is incentive to get them out, find them a better situation. It works, for me.