Friday's Recommended Reading:
Tune for a Monday Morning

On Your Desk

The yellow table

The desktop photos in today's post come from the two men behind the John Barleycorn blog (and the John Barleycorn Must Die graphic-novel-in-progress): artist Rex Van Ryn, and my husband Howard Gayton. One of their desktops is our yellow kitchen table (above), where they meet every weekday morning to do collaborative work on the comic and the blog. Afterward, they return to their individual workspaces: Rex to a drawing table in an atmospheric old cottage on the other side of the village; Howard to his cabin on the hillside behind us, which (like my cabin-studio in the garden next door) sits up against the trees of a little woodland.

First, here's Rex's drawing table:

Rex 3

"I've worked in a wide variety of studios over my life," he says, "ranging from advertising and film studios in London and L.A. to the painting studio in the village square that I shared for awhile with Terri, and Rima Staines. I can basically work anywhere; I'm not precious or fussy about it. At the moment I find it convenient to work from home. "

Rex 2

"When I'm drawing comics, I like to cover my work table with stuff that triggers memories of my childhood: old comics, bubblegum cards, toys and the like. Everything I draw comes from my head so I need my 'head space' to be one of 'limitless potential' -- the way I understood the world when I was three years old."

Rex 4

"When I'm inking a drawn comic page, I work on a drawing board -- often away from my workplace. I ink with a number two sable hair brush and black Indian ink."

Rex 1

"Though I'm focused on graphic art at the moment, I also paint with oils and sculpt with clay. When I'm painting or sculpting, I tend to set up my workspace very differently: I  prefer to have my work table or easel area entirely clear, with minimal distractions around me. "

Next, the desk where Howard works when he's writing text for the comic:

"My desk is in a two-room cabin," he says, "with a balcony porch where I can sit and work on sunny days. One room is for writing, studying, and music: it's a sound-proofed space crowded with instruments, music and film equipment, books, my computer, and work supplies. The other room, used for theatre and martial arts practice, is kept clear and almost empty -- with theatre matting on the floor and Commedia dell'Arte masks from my old theatre company hanging on the wall."

Howard's desk 1

"In the pictures here, my computer screen is full of notes for the John Barleycorn project. The computer sits on an antique writing desk that once belonged to my grandmother, who was a painter and a poet. Some of my instruments hang on the wall behind the desk; and on the opposite wall, an original painting by Terri, called Coyote Woman, is a peaceful presence."

Howard's desk 3

"A Hopi 'storyteller' kachina (from one of my trips to Arizona) stands on my desktop, and a statue of  Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, looks down from a nearby shelf.  The cabin is cozy, but occasionally leaky --  so the towel you see stuffed under the window here is needed to keep out the Dartmoor rain!"

Howard's desk 2

"In addition to working on the comic at this desk, I also edit videos, record and mix music, and I'm preparing for a teaching/directing gig in Portugal, where Geoff Beale (my theatre partner) and I will be directing a Commedia dell'Arte version of The Tempest in June.

Cabin view

Looking through the window beside the desk, with Dartmoor and Kes Tor visible in the distance....And that's Tilly who has snuck into a couple of the pictures here.

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