The long awaited and much anticipated time has come, the orange padlock has been cracked open, the door pulled wide ajar held by a hot pink painted rooster and the old orange trimmed windows released from winter slumber. The enchanting and always delightful Summer Studio has been opened up for the season. May it be long, inspirational and filled with good health and joy.
My beloved Summer Studio nee dollhouse is nestled into my English Garden surrounded by flowers planted by my parents, a lifelong friend in my raspberry patch and two shady prairie crab apple trees stand to greet me. Often during days of spring gardening in the backyard as a wee little girl, I would set up for imaginary play a bit of shade from the sun in the dollhouse. Making mint tea pick from my patch that grew profusely, always fresh in the garden and which was conveniently located just outside of the dollhouse. The structure still stands although used as a gardening shed, along with many years of abandonment, up until last summer it was still known as the dollhouse. Built by the original homeowner back in 1951, it was primarily a time capsule other than the door being replaced and new shingles from time to time. Including a few BF love initials circled with a heart on the wall, predating my use of the space.
Last summer season Brandon decided he would oversee the refurbishment of the dollhouse for me. We were so lucky that a photographer friend was beginning to do painting services and she took on the job as well any many others that needed to be done on outside of our property. Brandon designed it with a few surprises which Marcia kept secret and took on with both understanding and a kindred excitement. They held their top secret discussions in hush outdoors away from windows, keeping the secrets from me easily as the pandemic kept me indoors and then my ME flare set in. I was then trapped inside to rest and recover.
Sadly, although super excited I wasn’t able to truly enjoy the space when completed as I was in an ME flare. I looked at it from indoors with anticipation for a better day with some energy and ability. When I did manage to get my body out there into the back garden, all I was able to do was sit and mediate. Hence, the name it received last fall being The Peace Cottage. This winter I nursed my flare like a flare has never been nursed before, for seven very long months I dedicated myself to rest and recovery getting myself on my feet once again with my lungs and heart in tow.
Living a housebound lifestyle due to my chronic illness and disability I am unable to leave my property without worsening my condition. With the continued pandemic and several lockdowns later, it doesn’t look like I will be leaving my property for mobility scooter strolls anytime soon. Being held up in quarantine and lockdown for 16 months time, I had one of my awesome ideas that flow into my mind on a regular basis. I decided this year to use the backyard structure for a Summer Studio, a spot to leave the house where I can create. The reality is my lifestyle is housebound and when the pandemic is over with and others move back into their normal ways of life I will not.
The Summer Studio will be used this season for drawing, watercolour studies, photography, and flower arranging. One bright warm sunny day in May I began my adventure and was able to get some art supplies set up inside and open the windows wide to air the space out. On my first day in the studio I was able to cut some posies for an arrangement made of wildflowers; Woodland-Forget-Me-Not, Spotted Dead Nettle, and Bugleweed. Which inspired a lovely photoshoot, the natural light along with the pink and white painted walls provides sensational photos. And to cap it off I was able to do a couple of sketches to get a feel for using the space. There are always surprises hiding in the garden if you know how to stop, look and be mindful.
On most days I can be found out in the garden with the summer studio door opened working on studies inspired by my garden. I look forward to sharing the summer studio with you over the coming months and await with anticipation a photo shoot showcasing my work for you to see. With excitement I will stop with words and head into my garden of healing and inspiration, turning my eye to my flowers and camera. I wonder what delights I may find hiding in my garden today.
Blog no. 16
About the Author
Jane Louise Holden
On Jane’s Blog, I authentically write about real life experiences with loss, suffering and acceptance as a woman artist living with disability. There are times while in my studio I step away from my contemporary paintings and turn towards words. My garden often inspires written words in the same way it fuels my paintings, words come to me connecting with thoughts as I sit in quiet peace with my garden.