1980s studio

by uzwi

Matt white walls. Overall hung on the back of the door. Black futon pushed against the wall. A Victorian hatbox, complete with travel stickers. A shelf of books high up along one wall, its line extended on the adjoining wall by four small square canvasses. A couple of larger, rectangular paintings on the walls & several small ones stored on a shelf in the chimney breast: the rest she keeps downstairs. Always sit, she says, in the room. “Never along its edges.” She keeps turpentine in a Victorian inkwell, won’t use white spirit because it’s carcinogenic. “Always have a lid on the bin for turpentine rags, especially in a small room, otherwise you have to live with the fumes.” Rectangular glass palette with a bevelled edge, resting on a pile of boxes, placed low to eliminate shine off the glass. A Stanley glass-cleaner to scrape the palette. Brushes–dull orange, blue and brown–laid out on the varnished floorboards, or next to the palette on ribbed or corrugated paper to stop them rolling about. A tub of acrylic gesso primer. A wire basket full of tubes of oils. Vandyke brown, Indian Red, crumpled tubes leaden in the dull light. Oxide of Chromium (green). Monestial Green. Rowney, Windsor & Newton. Speedball oils from America. Small sketches on French watercolour paper, wavering pencil lines and little dabs of paint, their edges torn neatly along a ruler. On the easel is an unfinished picture. A woman stares out at the viewer. Behind her, more women and children are caught at the vegetable market.