First of all, there is a dead mouse in my studio.
I can’t find it, but I can certainly smell it.
It’s a very distinctive, extremely repulsive smell.
A couple months ago, while moving shelves and the books and other things stored on them, I found a mound of blue mouse poison underneath a clay pot. I have pets, so I don’t poison mice. Do they find my house so welcoming that they travel here with their winter stores?
I don’t try to welcome them. I store all dry goods in sturdy glass jars. Bags of flour and sugar have a shelf in the refrigerator. I don’t leave food in the dog dishes. I set traps.
I’ve accounted for all of my traps; no dead bodies there.
There are days when I go to the studio, determined to find the source.
I eschew all creative endeavors to instead rummage through totes and drawers and bins of tools and art materials, stacks of framed work, piles of papers and shelves of containers.
So far, no success.
There are days when I just close the door.
I did an internet search, “how long for a mouse body to decompose?”
Maybe I should just wait it out.
There are days where I think, “Maybe it’s gone,” or “I probably won’t even notice it” and try to get a bit of work done.
I had big studio plans for this winter.
I have one good sized drawing to complete, a set of paintings underway, two collage series in the works, one large painting to finish, one commission piece to start, and a set of thirteen collagraph plates waiting to be printed.
I intended to have the collagraph series done by March, in order to submit it to a competition. The plates are large; they take an hour or more to ink and wipe, and each one goes through that process and through the press at least three times before they are complete. With additions of gouache and watercolor in between.
Until I get the paintings finished and out of the way, I can’t access the printing press.
Other jobs and obligations, other concerns get in the way.
Now the dead mouse.
And winter will be gone before I know it.
So, though the smell is not gone…and I certainly do notice it…I’ve been working a little in the studio each day, to finish up what I can.
These collages will have some layers of texture and glaze to unify the surface before they’re done, but I like the way they’re coming along.