Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

A Quiet Room with a Large Window


To be perfectly honest, following many of you ultra successful artsy people on social media has been difficult recently. Your premieres, international travel, awards, commissions, exhibits, and accolades–you are in the flow, on top of the world, on your way, or at the center of stardom. Congratulations.

As for me, this year was filled with new beginnings, old endings, experiments, errors, miscalculations, wild adventures, personal detours, hardcore travel, intensive sightseeing, and much aimless waiting in between. During this time I was able to compose only one piece of music and have made one failed attempt at painting. I am still in limbo, living out of a suitcase in a hotel, driving on out-of-state tags, and wearing the same soft blue Eddie Bauer polar vest I have worn for the last eight months.

I am finally ready to settle, to organize my paints, to order that larger tablet for my music notation software, and to reunite with my instruments, but I don’t have a place to call my own yet.

Looking for real estate has been less than inspiring. Homes are not built for artists who need quiet open spaces bathed in soft sunlight, with extra room for storing canvases. They are built for gregarious families requiring separate edifices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, an altar room to house the holy sacrament of placing the fire and watching TV, and an endless array of powder rooms, sitting rooms, greeting rooms, keeping rooms, and holding rooms to store the hockey sticks of children from the previous marriages.

If the main floors have no room for artists, other levels are no more welcoming. Basements are built for cavemen and attics, punctured with porthole windows, are for hunchbacks, bats, and depressives.

I made the mistake of following the best architectural and interior design accounts on Instagram, showcasing freestanding porcelain bathtubs against floor to ceiling windows hung over rocky precipices overlooking exotic lagunas. My expectations have been tainted with bourgeoisie splendor. Even the new PBS drama set in grayish post-war Paris, teases me with its wall size windows framing the entire city.

Meanwhile, as I run errands in my less cosmopolitan surroundings, I begin to hear scraps of my new harpsichord concerto reminding me that it is time to get serious about committing something to paper. I am grateful but exasperated by these random promptings, hoping that they will stop, hoping they will continue. I have no access to a piano and am lost without my composition setup. I fear that my time is now measured in unwritten pieces of music and unpainted paintings.

While true artists are able to create anywhere and are ever more prolific and successful, I keep searching for a quiet room with a large window. Until I find it, I am nothing.

Photo: Claude Sabine in his design studio – a freeze frame from the TV series “The Collection”.


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This entry was posted on October 31, 2017 by in Essays and Articles, New Music, Paintings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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