I have unwittingly become a street performer.
Relocation often brings about changes to more than physical space. New schedules emerge, new habits take form and new places become open to exploration. Such has it been with my relocation from the northeast to central Texas. Changes abound. For one, the housing is different. There are no (or rarely any) basements in these homes and the basement is where my former home studio was housed so, what to do? I’ve found that probably 98% of Texas garages do not shelter automobiles but rather are mainly used for storage. Of course, my studio had to be set up in the garage.
For the most part I find that I enjoy working from the garage. I have natural light and fresh air and the weather is more often than not sunny and warm. Even on hot days the garage stays fairly cool and during the spring and summer months I know I have 10-14 hours of daylight to work by.
Almost every day I pull my easel to the front of the garage, turn the music up, and paint. Eventually come the dog walkers, the joggers, people going to and from work, the school bus passing by. Delivery trucks make their rounds as does the mail carrier, and food delivery, and I paint. Before long they all wave, call out the greeting of the hour: “good morning”, “good afternoon”, “have a nice day”! I reciprocate the greetings and I paint, or draw, or organize, or read but always with my easel sporting a work in progress and facing the street. It’s open studio on any given day.
In the past year this practice has leveraged 7 commissioned paintings, two paint parties, direct purchases from my inventory, and a new student – each customer a neighbor. Turns out they have an appreciation of seeing the paintings progress from beginning to end, to watch the transformation from blank canvas to finished product, to witness something emerge from nothing, to watch an artist practicing her craft.
I don’t have an upturned hat or jar for tips but everyday I get a smile from some passerby, or hear a horn blow as a car slows and the driver throws a hand up to wave. And everyday I perform for an unknown audience … my public awaits.