I finished my unfinished sketchbook spread:
And it helped a lot that I was out of the house, in an uncrowded cafe, with lots of bright light, and no distracting noise. There was a lot of space around and above me. The air temperature was cozy cool. I had a tall glass of iced red tea. I was not hungry, which was also good, because a grumbling stomach would make me want to eat rather than draw or paint or write.
Being out in the "open" helped open me up. I didn't realise how much being under the stairs for long days actually "compressed" me and my thoughts. And the absence of windows added to the sense of being hemmed in. Being enclosed was good for when I am already giving form to ideas, but when I am still in the stage of gathering seeds and processing those seeds for possibilities, I realise I need open space and lots of light.
It is a sad fact that there are no safe and comfortable public spaces in the city where I can just park myself and my art bag and stay for a few hours. I have to pay the price of a large cup of coffee or a small meal to claim a quiet cozy window seat.
Maybe I should revive my old plan to redesign the unused garage space (which is an open space -- only half-roofed by the second floor). It will cost a bit in the beginning, but once everything is set up it could be a very useful space. And I could even use that huge blank garage wall as an interactive space for growing seeds. And then maybe I would actually be able to play my own music without having to wear headphones even when the television in the living room is turned on... Yes, maybe this old plan is worth revisiting...