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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Chair in the Studio

A few years ago I bought a chair from A.I. Friedman in Manhattan: a Fresco chair in black leather. I love swivel chairs and this chair promised to roll and spin. The chair lived with me for awhile in Greenwich Village as I worked on a project. Eventually, project complete, I packed the chair into the back of my Subaru and transported it upstate.

The chair found a home in my studio space in our farmhouse. I fretted, at first, about the leather becoming paint spattered, but in no time I sank into the comfort of the chair and focused on painting.

Last fall an old friend asked to come live with me- a sports writer and novelist looking to return east after living in the mid west. The farmhouse guestroom was in a sorry state; the walls were painted Tiffany box blue and a red squirrel had chewed a hole through the ceiling. There is something strange about guestrooms anyhow- the whole Henry Thoreau, "Nature abhors a vacuum..." principle is at work. Life encroaches, weed-like in the garden of the guest sanctuary and when last I checked the guest room was a glorified closet. The room does however overlook a pond, but this was not going to be Walden or, Life in the Woods. Imagining the writer soon in residence, I moved two book cases to the room, laid out a nice rug, cleaned the desk and rolled in the Fresco chair.

Long story short, the writer never came. Two months later an electrical fire damaged the floor and wall outside the guestroom. We moved into a hotel for three weeks, dined on room service and the vending machines and wore dirty clothes. My studio space was chair-less and covered in ash but life moved on.

The way in which life moves on is strange and ineffable: friends rally, a windfall of some kind, a new job. Today's heartaches are soon the disappointments of yesterday. And life keeps moving. Now is a good time to get into the studio again, I have a break from work and the mental space to concentrate.

Today, I moved the Fresco chair from the empty guestroom to my studio. How easily I surrendered that chair to another idea- the idea of a writer in residence. Alone in the studio, I sat in the chair and took a twirl.

The Writer and the Painter. 2010. Oil, pastel and gold leaf on paper, 7 inches X 5 inches/ House of Creative Soul / 38 Van Dame Street, Saratoga Springs, New York
(518) 226-0010

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