Tuesday, November 3, 2009

when an artist's studio is in her house...

A wave of nostalgia last night after showing friends photos from my previous home I sold and left in April last year prompted me to post them here now. My studio was in the centre of my home just off the living room, with a view through to the outdoor living space which was much used as it had good rain-proof roofing over it. My whole home was my studio really - classes also took place in the living room, studio or outdoors depending on what was happening at the time. Dinners and gatherings were very fluid and common. There was barely a thing growing in te garden when I arrived...a lilly pilly tree and some palms. I planted front and back and in the 5 years I was there it grew to look quite prolific and lived in.
The house had been built as residence for the adjoining school room...Newcastle's first Girl's Finishing School my 93 yr old Neighbour told me. He recounted endless fascinating tales through the century that his family had owned the house opposite.
I adored painting all the rooms in the house over time in different palettes according to mood. The kitchen took ages for me to decide... And it was a good choice for a kitchen I came to feel...I used to love cooking there. The living room area had a palette of greys although I left the section under the dado rail white, then painted a livable warm grey in the mid section, then finished the top with a blend or stormy greys that changed as one's eyed moved around the room. I also wrote the first stanza of the most wondeful poem by Pablo Neruda 'poesia' just above the picture rail...why I did not photograph this i dont know... perjhaps clicking on the photo with the table might reveal this writing. 
When i think back to the studio productivity of this time i am amazed. I was working as a casual teacher...so there was a lot of variation in available time for the studio - mind you - I was burning the candle at both ends (cant do that any more - it took its toll!). Still, its pleasing to look back and remember the cohesiveness of the life I had in this home and studio...it was very much an inside/outside lifestyle and the garden was ever-present!


The Artist Within Us said...

I am very sure that as the weeks and months come to pass, your new home will have similar charm as you settle in and have it reflect your individuality.

The same will happen in the garden, though here things will take longer, especially as you watch the seasons change, noting the subtleties and planning accordingly.

I truly enjoyed my visit to your previous home and feel our distance has significantly diminished.

All the best,

janis said...

Oh Sophie, you make such a cozy home and I bet your new place is just as nice because of your imaginative touch. The walls in the 3rd and 4th photos, did you paint those too? That is fabulous and I want walls like that!!!

p.s. Neruda is one of my favorites. How wonderful to have a poem of his written up to see like that... I must look up this poem now :)

Dragonfly said...

What a beautiful place to live and work :-)

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Egmont,
Hi Janis,
what lovely messages from the other side of the Pacific Ocean! I am amazed at how few photos I used to take of where I have lived really given my deep attachment to place and home. Since I moved here I have had time to set myself up with a lovely computer, decent small camera, and learning all the tech skills I'd not previously had. This has been a lot of fun and I want to go back and find photos of different places and try and make something out of the random collection.
Curiously I never felt drawn to computers in the past and kept lots of journals, did most things by hand writing and recording them...I was more likely to take a journal on a holiday than a camera.
Janis, i did paint those walls...I managed to get around about 3 and a bit walls and everyone agreed it seemed fine to leave it a little but incomplete...it strangely worked...sorry no photo!
Thanks to you both for sweet messages!

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Karen at Dragon fly!
...it was cosy and I must say I liked being in my studio working away and looking out onto the green back garden!
Thanks for visiting,

em said...

stunning! what a lush garden you had! i'm sure you will, over time, make and even better place for yourself!

Sophie Munns said...

Now where were you Em when I needed some gardening tips?

My approach was to plant virtually all australian natives, which were ridiculously cheap to buy from a Govt project. I watered and got everything growing and then left it alone to the sun and rain for the next 4 years or so...it came fully to life of fits own accord with not much intervention from me. The birds loved it and so did the children who visited. They would play for hours with a ll the clay teapots and bowls and the hose!

I was far too gung ho painting at the time to labour long with the plants. Instead it was the view I like to sit and ponder that refreshed me between work sessions.
Thanks for the warm comments.

Chrissy Foreman C said...

Oh this place is FANTASTIC! I lvoe what you did with it ~ it's so YOU!

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Chrissy!
Its lucky I left there when i did...almost everything in sight was painted!