Almost every artist I know faces the problem of storage. Those who do not are the envy of the artistic neighborhood. It may sound like a mundane problem, but it can have an unsettling effect on our present and future art making.
All I need to do is descend to the cellar and confront my dilemma. I see racks and racks of paintings and hear the dehumidifier churning. Stacking trays are neatly piled with works on paper and rolled canvases from times when removing them from stretchers opened some space. After a few months, the problem returned.
I could rent a storage space, but that costs money. To save space, I often make new paintings by layering over an older piece. The thought occurs to me that I may be destroying a strong example of my work. Art conservators’ x-rays show this solution is as old as painting itself.
Sleep can offer solutions to problems, but they may emerge more as fever dreams than rational answers. I risk sharing one with you.
Our house is surrounded by trees, some of them as high as 80 feet. In my dream, I take my painting on canvas and stretch it onto a four-sided form. It looks like a box kite. I know this is a dream because climbing the outlandishly tall ladder to hang it from a branch is not nausea-inducing. Afterward, I look up and appreciate the way in which the colorful box sways with the breeze.
My dream voice advises me that there are several hundred box-kite opportunities stored in the cellar. To give you an idea of shapes and colors, pay a visit to my Gallery Chapters, which show only a quarter of my work. Imagine walking around the back yard, looking up into the trees, seeing hundreds of box kites rocking gently. Look! a cardinal just perched on the edge of a landscape painting.
Rain, snow, sleet. Let the elements continue working on my art. What better collaborator is there than Mother Nature?