Visit my studio

Today I have a number of paintings in progress and a few revisited paintings, but nothing new and finished. So I was casting about for a fresh story line. I’ve already done the idea of makeovers and the WIPs, and I don’t want to bore anyone, especially you, with the same painting over and over with small refinements that the photographs perhaps don’t capture. So today I thought you might like to see what my tiny studio looks like with multiple projects underway at once.

Starting from the left of the above photograph, which I took this morning just before going to work: Upside down on the drafting table you see the Farmers Market painting. I have pretty much finished the painting, but have to paint around the edges of this “gallery-wrapped” canvas so that I do not have to frame it. I started with the bottom edge, and am waiting for that edge to dry before tackling the other three edges.

Behind the lamp is a portrait I painted in 1964 of my two children, as a Christmas gift to my parents. It was the last painting I painted until I started to paint landscapes in 2005. My daughter Nancy was then almost two years old and my son Andy only a month old. The lamp contains a special bulb that gives off daylight spectrums, or some such thing. The daylight from the right is coming from the North, which is what artists want in a studio because it does not change as the sun travels across the sky from morning to night. But my north light is obstructed by the hemlocks growing outside my window. Since I am a certified treehugger (volunteer for Sierra Club), no tree removal is planned.

On the window sill are three paintings , two that I began Saturday while gallery sitting at the Manchester Artists Association Gallery. The one on the left was inspired by a Sierra Club calendar photo of a field of California poppies. The one in the middle you might recognize as one of my recent snow camp paintings, still drying on the sill. The one on the right was inspired by my awakening during last week’s snow storm to look outside and see the sky all pink. Behind the shelf unit, you may detect other paintings in waiting. These are older ones I am not satisfied with, yet. Someday I may figure out what they need and move them out for public viewing.

Under the window is my backpack and my art cart, two ways to deliver the gear to an outdoor painting spot. The cart has been handy for getting gear to a class, but the backpack works better for traversing unpaved surfaces. The floor lamp delivers wide spectrum light to supplement the north light. Also important to note are the camera on tripod, which I use for photographing final versions of paintings when I want a really good image, and my bright blue chair that allows me to scoot around the space and get some distance from whatever I am working on at the easel.

The space is too small, however, to allow for enough distance when I am painting on a 24 x 48 canvas, as I am right now. Below is a shot of the other side of my studio space, showing the easel, the palette on tripod (which I also use for plein air painting), and the current painting in progress. In the background, on my closet door, you can see three nude drawings from Saturday Life Group, which got tacked to the door last year and have never been replaced. The still life on the wall to the left is by Nevada artist Jelaine Faunce. The TV on the right was intended for displaying my digital photographs for use as painting references, but I still haven’t worked out the kinks.

In the back you can see a sliver of my bedroom, from which this space has been carved. The studio space originally was a separate bedroom, but by the time I moved in, the two rooms had merged into one huge room with windows on three sides. My Chickering grand piano had occupied this space until I recognized that art was my priority and I sold the piano, which had been mine since I was ten years old. Sometimes you just have to let go.

The studio is now separated from the bedroom space by these racks of storage:

Top Shelf Bottom Shelf

On the top shelf I keep large canvases, a few framed charcoal drawings, and an assortment of the wet panel carriers (“Art Cocoons”) invented by fellow artist, Patricia LaBrecque of Goffstown. On the bottom shelf are many panels ranging up to 16×20 in size. That red object is the back of a homemade doll house that I now use for art library storage. I have so many books describing how to paint this and draw that–if I could have only read and absorbed all of them, I could have become a great artist. A knowledgeable one, anyway.

In front of the bottom shelf you get a glimpse of the rolling caddy with brushes and media (oils and solvents) on the top. I can also set a cup of hot tea there and so far have not tried to clean my brushes in it, but once I enter the painting “zone”, I always forget about the hot tea until it has got cold.

Only one more angle remains. It looks pretty sloppy. Two sets of shelves hold backup brushes, watercolor supplies, sketchbooks galore, a binder with data about my first 100 paintings (I gave up the tracking effort after that) and lots of paint tubes. Behind the farthest unit is a covered litter box and assorted supplies. Yes, I have to share my limited studio space with the cats. The sneakers don’t belong here at all! They have probably been sitting there for weeks, unnoticed. What with the snow, I have been living in my snuggly Emu boots except when I have to don the special Snow Camp boots.

One last view is necessary to round out the picture–

The easel way in the background is used for drying paintings (the other snow painting right now) or for examining artworks that are under review. Moving forward, the light that I use to supplement the obstructed north light is another one of those all spectrum lights that is suppose to mimic daylight. I have to angle it just right to avoid having it create a glare on my painting. Beneath the light, hanging on the big rack of canvases that I showed you before, is a dandy thing with pockets to hold tubes of paint and other things. The waste basket at the bottom is important too–I have to use a lot of paper towels in the course of painting.

So there you have it. Thanks for visiting!

Comments are closed.