I am grateful that the pool is open today, Thanksgiving.
I am grateful that there is only one other lap swimmer and that the pool is quiet.
I am grateful that the pool water is almost warm.
I am grateful that my back feels pretty good today.
I am grateful that my goggles don't leak.
I am grateful that I finally learned to swim.
I am grateful that I persisted despite anxiety and old trauma.
I am grateful for Kathy, my good and sensitive teacher.
I am grateful for the support of the buoyant water, beneath me.
I am grateful for all the air to breathe, above me.
I am grateful for the black line on the bottom of the pool, straight, consistent, repetitive little tiles, counting breath, like a mantra.
I am grateful for a long reach. I am grateful for a strong pull. I am grateful for flutter kick and hip rotation and high elbow.
I am grateful for the sensuous pleasure of the water flowing over my skin, my muscles.
I am grateful for the whoosh of water past my ears, the slight tang of chlorine in my mouth.
I am grateful to float in stillness, to surrender tension to the water and feel restored.
I am grateful that swimming has triumphed over pain.
I am grateful, every moment, for what the water has given me.
One year ago, tomorrow, we broke ground for the construction
of my art studio.
I moved in and started working in the completed space February 1 of this year.
I love my studio. LoveloveloveloveLOVE my studio.
I took months to think about exactly what I needed and wanted in the space, how I wanted it to work, how I would work within it. I filled a sketchbook with drawings, layouts, floor plans, lists... Filled a Pinterest board with ideas. I interviewed and communicated with multiple builders and architects.
Materializing this dream was a major investment and I was acutely aware that I needed to clarify down to the minute detail, specifically, exactly, perfectly what I wanted.
If you have never had a project that demanded that you deeply contemplate and prioritize your wants and needs (and, wants vs. needs) then I recommend you take one on. It is a revelation.
It reveals not only what those priorities and preferences are, but who it is that wants them.
Our dreams and visions are reflections of us, how we go about achieving them becomes a self-portrait.
Who designed my studio? Someone who is quite practical and pragmatic, someone who is willing to pay top dollar for state of the art lighting and HVAC, but will forgo fancy finishes. She likes to recycle, re purpose and score craigslist finds. She wants the space to primarily serve the art and the artist, but be beautiful in a quiet way. Function and form, simple and effective. Me.
One of my challenges in the process was to step up and claim what I wanted, and stick to my guns.
I have had a lifelong tendency to defer my judgement to the seeming better wisdom or experience of others. (Usually male others. Sadly, a trait many women have been conditioned to do.) Usually, it has led to disappointment,and a bitter sense that I had let myself down. It has taken a lot of self awareness and work to assert my own judgment and needs.
I knew the stakes were high on this project and I wanted what I wanted, no re-do's, so I had to claim it, full stop.
Of course, it helped that Skip was entirely supportive. He pretty much deferred to me in terms of designing the studio. The end result is a project that is fully my vision realized. I stand in the space and feel such satisfaction, it is my work of art. There is nothing I wish I had done differently, nothing I feel I overdid or cheaped-out on.
It works exactly as I want it to work. And working in the space is pure joy. It is perfect.
It may be the first time in my life that I can say that!
Our builder, Greg Allen was a perfect fit for us. He and his team were outstanding: responsive, professional and a lot of fun to work with. I count them all as friends.
I will write further posts about building the studio and the design decisions and materials I used. I put a lot of research into it and it may be helpful information to you who are planning or upgrading your own work spaces.
Artist, writer, workshop planner, swimmer, dog-mom, wife...I find inspiration in the serendipitous connections between making a meaningful, beautiful life and making honest art.
All work on this site is original by Diane Santarella Lawrence, unless noted, and is
The nature of social media is sharing, so please share respectfully and responsibly and
give credit where credit is due.
Many of the beautiful images taken in the studios of Skip and me are by Joel Kiester and Brian Eiseman of 1513Photo. Many thanks, Guys, for your friendship and elegant work!
And Thanks to my two biggest fans, my husband Skip Lawrence and Rothko the Wonderdog for constantly surprising, challenging, inspiring and supporting me.