On YouTube there are dozens of videos about productivity for artists, offering advice on time management, technique, organising materials, marketing advice and general affirmation. After several weekend bouts of prodding doggedly at various half-finished projects, I would add my own contribution: to make better art, you need elbow room, and a comfortable chair.
As yet I haven’t managed either. The latest chair by the easel is a broken one from the dining room, exiled to the shed for repairs that are unlikely to happen in the next three years, if at all. It is the latest in a long line of awful seats; rickety, always at an awkward height, uncomfortable. Prone to unexpected collapse, accessorized in winter with piles of old blankets.
Collage gets done sitting on the floor, which was fine but now ageing joints makes getting up as graceful as a cow floundered out of a ditch. Printing means standing up at a narrow bench built for a tall man (and I am neither), twisted sideways; balancing wet prints on the pile of bicycles and ladders against the back wall.
It’s not impossible, stuff happens. But every empty warehouse and boarded shopfront I pass makes me wonder what I could do with a bit more room to maneuver, and a chance to make a mess. At least I am not Michelangelo, lain flat on planks high above the ground for four years with a face full of paint and constant strife with Pope Julius.