Have you ever daydreamed about an ideal life? One where you had something you wanted dearly given to you? I know I have. And I just had the realization of one of those daydreams offered to me.
I’ve been offered an incredibly generous opportunity to move the Green Wolf studio to the Washington coast a little north of the Columbia River; the studio space is on a property that’s literally beachfront–you can see the water from the house, and it’s just a few minutes’ walk away through grassy dunes. The property extends into pine and fir forest, and up to a big, beautiful freshwater lake. The property owners are working with the Nature Conservancy–an organization I’ve supported for many years–to improve the habitat for several endangered species, including Western snowy plovers, Pacific red-legged frogs, and at least one endangered species of butterfly. Wanna see some pictures?
This is the main room of the studio space–roomy, with a wood stove to augment the central heating. This would be my main workspace–there are a couple of small bedrooms for art supply storage and a place to sleep when I stay here multiple nights.
It has a HUGE kitchen! With an island and everything! I LOVE to cook; it’s one of my favorite forms of self-care. So this is definitely a benefit a lot of art studios lack.
Check out this awesome solarium just outside the kitchen! Currently it doesn’t have any heating or cooling, but the windows allow plenty of crossflow of air, and space heaters are a thing. I foresee moving my plants in here, at least the outdoor ones. Who knows how else this little nook might inspire me?
But what’s outside? LOTS of dunes. Sand, and grass, spotted with fir and pine trees. This is just a tiny taste of the land I’ll be living on. Isn’t it beautiful?
I think the thing I might be most excited about is the ability to see sunsets over the ocean. I haven’t lived in a place where I had a good view of sunsets since I was a child, and I’ve missed them desperately. This will be the view from my workspace every night.
Sound amazing? It IS! I’m still utterly gobsmacked that this is happening, and that it seems like such a good fit for everyone involved. For me, personally, it’s going to be beneficial on several levels:
–I’m under a LOT of stress; I have a lot of irons in the fire that I have to keep a close eye on, I’m the financial backbone of a household of three, and being self-employed is always a feast or famine situation, beholden to others’ desire to part with their money in return for art, books and other goodies. I’m thirty-seven years old, I’ve lived in cities for the past fifteen years, and the noise and traffic have really been wearing me down the past few years. Living in a more rural area, like what I grew up in, will be an indescribable stress reliever. Just being able to sleep without a white noise machine for the first time in over a decade will have remarkable effects.
–You may have heard me talk about how I share a tiny apartment with two other people. I love living with my partner and our roommate, but it IS really cramped in there. This studio move would allow them to stay in the apartment full time with more space while I split my time between the coast and Portland. And I’d have more room for artistic creativity in a beautiful space with LOTS of natural light, and I’d feel more inspired to write and engage in other endeavors. I’d still be able to spend some of my time in Portland taking care of business and being with my city friends, and keep my home there as well.
–I can use my years of environmental volunteering experience to help improve the land here, from cleaning up beach trash to planting native species. I’ve always wanted a space to dedicate myself to in a really deep, intensive manner, and I might actually have the opportunity if this all works out in the long run.
–Right now if I need to escape to a quiet place for a break from work, I have to make an effort to get out of town, which at the very least involves setting a day aside and driving somewhere, plus deal with all the travel expenses. Where I’ll be moving to is surrounded by national and state parks and wildlife refuges, plus little cute coastal towns with museums and antique shops, and of course the land itself. This means I don’t have to spend as much money on the rare occasion I take an actual vacation–and I can sleep at home in my own bed (and therefore not have to save up for hotels).
–I’ll finally have a place that I feel comfortable having company in–something I haven’t had since I was married years ago. (And yes, I can have friends and family over!)
So how can you help? Well, the timing on this is a bit tight financially. It being April and all, I’m already having to budget a four-figure sum for paying my tax accountant AND paying federal, state and local taxes. Having traveled a lot in the past two months for events, I haven’t been home to work on art as much, and while the coffers aren’t empty, they’re more thinly populated than I would like when preparing for a move. And since I’ll need to spend a fair amount of time over the next few weeks packing my studio up for a late-April relocation, that’s going to be less time to do the catching up I had intended to do this month. I hadn’t really planned to move; this was a pretty sudden and unexpected opportunity. So I have to budget for moving expenses, plus some groceries and household items for the new studio space, on top of normal bills and business expenses and taxes.
I don’t want or need handouts. What would greatly help, though, is purchases! If you’ve been eyeing any of my artwork lately, or have felt the desire to buy my books, now would be a really optimal time to do so! I have shipments of all my books headed this way to arrive any day now, and my Etsy, eBay and Storenvy shops are all full of things I’ve created that are ready to go to new homes. If you’re in Portland, I invite you to join me the evening of April 19 for Still Death, my monthly educational and art session where you get to learn a bit about comparative anatomy and then draw/paint/otherwise use some of my animal skulls for artistic reference–just $10/person. (Yes, I’ll be in Portland for Still Death every month!) You can buy a totem card reading from me, one or five cards. You can become my Patron on Patreon and get all sorts of nifty monthly perks sent to you in the mail. And while it won’t benefit me immediately, contributing to the Tarot of Bones IndieGoGo campaign between now and April 30 will help ease further financial pressure when I get the deck and book printed later this summer.
Even if you aren’t able to contribute, please pass this post along to others so they can have the opportunity to help me make a smooth transition to my new studio space/second home! Many thanks for your support, both in the past, and as I move into this exciting new stage of my life.