This blog is dedicated to, and in honor of, the back room of the apartment I bought in April, 2001, five months before the Twin Towers were attacked. It was not the cozy pre-war with 12-foot ceilings and original molding I so desperately coveted. No, it was a white box construction from 1962, but the prior owner had constructed a fake bedroom off the kitchen that was big enough for a queen sized bed and a dresser. This meant that the designated bedroom could function as my studio, a repository for my easel, oils and acrylics, watercolors and fabrics, stretcher bars and paintbrushes and pencils, needles and threads. And so it remains today, 20 years later.
Over time my work table, a black oblong block that had functioned as a dining table for ten on 20th Street, became peppered with paint and glue marks and laden with tins cans filled with brushes and scissors, rulers and markers. Interwoven with pencil sharpeners and bottles of glazes and acrylic mediums are jars of colored pencils sorted into reds, blues, yellows, pinks, browns, greens, oranges and purples, as well as a tray of watercolor inks, miniature bottles each labeled with a distinct color -slate blue, ultra blue, turquoise blue -all to be mixed into a luscious different shade of blue. This surrounds the computer upon which I write as do the ceramic sculptures, shells, vases, and bowls I have collected, and of course there is the ubiquitous stack of inspiration books, drawing books, watercolor papers, and piles of canvas, spools of thread and fabric that permanently resides in a corner of the table because I am about to work on something.
There are bookcases on each of the walls overstuffed with monographs on art, artists and art history, sketch books, catalogues of museums shows, my fifty photograph albums and dozens of snapshots of family and friends. Besides a mangled rattan chair and a paint flecked plastic chair, the only other piece of furniture in the room is the outlier, Steve’s dresser, which I graciously allowed him to install when he moved in in 2006.
But it is the collection of paintings on my walls that causes me to bow in honor of this room. They are not worth anything from a monetary standpoint, but as an aesthetic experience that I take with me every time I walk into my room, they hold deep power.
There are my paintings, abstracts ranging in size from 6×6” to 56×56”. There are my nascent collages made from canvas and fabric, needle and thread dating back to 2005. There are papier-mâché sculptures I had made when I lived on 20th Street only portions of which remain because they were too big to transport intact. And then there’s my postcards of paintings I love taped on the walls and the closet doors. Each postcard selected to represent a time and place and feeling of rapture.
I sometimes imagine converting the room into a beautifully painted, sumptuously decorated master bedroom, but I cannot bring myself to excavate and so this room stands as a testament to Miss Havisham, never to be touched.