You must clean and arrange your studio in a way that will forward a quiet state of mind. This cautious care of atmosphere is really needed to show respect for the work. Respect for art work and everything connected with it, one’s own and that of everyone else, must be maintained and forwarded. No disrespect, carelessness or ego [and] selfishness must be allowed to interfere if it can be prevented. Indifference and antagonism are easily detected — you should take such people out immediately. Just turning the paintings to the wall is not enough. You yourself should not go to your studio in an indifferent or fighting mood.
— Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances (public library)
I was with the Urban Sketchers of Montreal today at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal, and what a place! It made me think of the quote from Agnes Martin and how she valued her space.
I changed places three times, very comfortably seated, and my first sketch was of the Montreal skyline. Then I decided to sit at a table with most people’s backs towards me… ideal for sketching people. So my first person stayed there, reading from a real book, and did not budge for at least one half hour, which was a delight for me. Then my second sketch was of someone who was sideways to me, and I do not know if he had a third eye, but the minute that I started sketching him, he started fidgeting, clearly anxious. I did not have the heart to sketch him much longer even though he did not even see me. So I rushed his sketch, to appease his anguish. Then my eyes fell on this wonderful asiatic beauty, and the minute that my pencil touched the paper, she was gone. Then I realized, at 12:15 pm, that I had not paid for my parking downstairs. How could I have forgotten that? I went to see a Security Officer, and he told me to run to my car as I could have a ticket waiting for me… I rushed downstairs, found my car, unscathed by paper — lucky me! But still, how could I get out of the parking space if I did not have a voucher proving that I had paid? So I paid, and when I got to the gate, it opened without asking me to give proof of my payment… sheesh! Anyway, very glad that I had no ticket and la Grande Bibliothèque was a wonderful sketching place. Thank you Shari for bringing us there -)
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Location: La Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal