Number four in my series of ART/icles enquiring into home based art studios, takes me to Marney-Rose Edge’s New Westminster home and studio on a lovely, sunny, spring afternoon. Marney-Rose tours me around her extensive garden awakening with summer promise, before re-introducing me to her centrally located main floor studio. I had first seen it during her city’s 2013 Cultural Crawl.
Edge has the unique experience of working from her creative space at home over the recent five years, and also from an outside studio over two of those years, ending in the autumn of 2013.
Working at home saves her time, money and wear and tear on herself and her car, although having two studios necessarily means duplication of materials and supplies. She finds it easier to access reference materials at home and can spread her work out into the living room for a different perspective on composition, for example, and to see how the work looks under different lighting.
There are however, distractions and she finds more negatives against the home studio than positives for, and states, “I am now determined to have an outside studio again,” adding that she will retain her home space where her maximum workable canvas width is forty-eight inches. She meets with clients wherever/whenever at their convenience, and opens her studio for the annual New Westminster Cultural Crawl.
Marney-Rose’s works are about beauty, tenderness, love, romance and whimsy, all akin to her own warmth of personality and sense of fun and all imaginatively expressed on paper and canvas in the traditional manner of drawing, water colour, oil or acrylic paintings. She calls on photographic and electronic technologies as and when needed.
Her response to my question regarding the impact of family on her art practice and vice versa, becomes more philosophical. One takes into consideration the traditional roles of women, ie. cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc., and the expectations of family as different from the hopes and aspirations of modern women and their self-actualization.
In spite of the 21st Century husband’s/partner’s acceptance of shared domestic responsibilities, the old attitudes of 9:00 – 5:00 employment with bi-weekly remuneration persist and invalidate the home studio pursuits of creative women: “Now you are home, you can do the laundry,” or, if the woman has also had part-time outside supplemental work, “Now you have to find another job.” Such are anathema to the muse.
The conclusion is that in practical terms, the determined woman artist who manages her creative space at home, must acknowledge those challenges and be committed enough to establish that, “Supper will not be on the table when you arrive home from work!”
There is much food for thought, with some sense of irony, as I return home to Vancouver’s North Shore, just in time to prepare our evening meal.