My friend Doreen L. Barton mentioned that she’d like to see a studio that was messier than hers.
You’re out of luck on this post Doreen, because I just cleaned my desk.
Yes, I did.
I know, it still looks cluttered. That’s why I decided to annotate it for you, dear readers. You’ll see why it’s nearly impossible for me to keep my desk looking like those spic-and-span-tastical desks you find on Apartment Therapy. (Sweet mother of dog, do artists work at these desks?)
My dad and I made this desk from 2 x 2s and a sheet of some kind of laminate material. It’s a great desk, but it is not magazine-worthy, like this fancy glass-topped creation from an artist studio in Mexico. (It’s probably cleaned by the maid every morning while the artist is drinking her café con leche
and reading the Mexico City News. It’s pretty easy to have a clean desk when you have an obsessive-compulsive housekeeper that organizes your color pencils based on your current drawing. I had one of those when I lived in Mexico. She’s probably running 18 successful businesses right now while I’m…well, I don’t work in color pencil anymore. And I clean my own desk. Occasionally.)
Anyway, I did clean the desk-of-shame, and shucks, I’m proud of it. So here it is, a tour of my desk.
1. Old papers
I can’t stand to throw away paper, especially if only one side has been used. So I usually have a stack of lightly used paper on the corner of the desk for quick sketches, notes, and paper airplanes.
2. Wire, bits of old ideas, rusty pen nibs that I’m hoping I can de-rust
Why do I have this stuff on my desk? Why, oh, why? But where can I put it? I can’t throw it away; I might need it someday. Where you put wire so that you can find it when you need it? Dear reader, do you have a wire drawer? A rusty pen nib drawer?
3. Pruning shears
Borrowed from my mom for an illustration. Sorry Mom, I’ll return them soon.
4. Broken cup from Whittard of Chelsea
I bought this cup on my one-and-only trip to London, and I can’t stand to throw it away. There’s a toothbrush and a couple of Pigma Microns in it. I do have a drawer for Pigma Microns, but not a drawer for used toothbrushes I use for spraying paint.
5. Palette of paint
This is a gouache palette. Sometimes it’s a watercolor palette.
6. Jar of scissors
There are also pens and pencils, most of which I rarely use. The pens and pencils I use regularly live in drawers dedicated to them. I need more drawers.
7. Table top drafting board
This was given to me, thankfully, because they are frightfully expensive. You can get one here, but I’m warning you, the tilt is not nearly high enough to save your back. When I’m drawing a lot at the table, I have to stack books under the board, which makes the desk even more cluttered. I need a drafting table, but have you checked out how much those things cost? If you have an old one gathering dust in your garage, hey, give me a shout.
8. Container of water
To use #5. We used to eat a lot of Pavel’s yogurt, so I’m fully stocked with plastic water containers.
9. Rogue piece of paper
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” — Crowfoot’s last words, 1890
When you put a clean desk in that perspective, it doesn’t seem so important, now does it?