Articles

A View from the Easel

by Philip A Hartigan on January 10, 2014

CHICAGO — The 55th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. Want to take part? Submit your studio — just check out the submission guidelines.

Mary Powers Holt, Chester Springs, Pennsylvania (site)

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My studio is on the top floor of a small barn or wagon house next to our home. We live on what was once part of a farm complex, and the buildings are close to 200 years old. When we moved here, the attraction was a separate building for a painting studio, although the structure was falling apart. We had a historic restoration contractor do the work and they preserved most of the original wood and beams. They removed the wood off the frame, reinforced it and then put the salvageable wood back interspersed with new wood.

The center beams in this shot are original and are reinforced with an iron pipe. When this was a farm, wagons would come in one side and drop feed corn on the top level and then pull out the other way. The top level is where I paint and the best part is that I can walk down the steps and back up to see what I am working on. In this shot my palette table sits on two sawhorses that were left behind after the reconstruction. The studio has electric baseboard heat and a wood stove, but no running water. I carry water from the house for painting and bring my brushes back to wash them. It can get expensive to run the heat in January so then I start working in the house for a couple of months.

There were once many of these old farm buildings in this area and some have been renovated and transformed into homes or bought with farm land by developers. The barns are similar to the factory lofts in the city in that they are great spaces for artists to work.

Stephanie Clark, Sante Fe, New Mexico (site)

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My studio is the front half of a small casita in the Arroyo Hondo region of Santa Fe County. Just outside these walls, the high desert presents varied objects and experiences to bring back to the studio. The nights are riddled with the sounds of coyote yips and yowls and filled with evening star-gazing. The days allow for viewing skittish coyotes and scampering jack-rabbits on arroyo hikes while observing a sky that shifts and breaks.

Michael Knutson, Hays, Kansas (site)

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This a panoramic view of my painting studio space. It gets the job done. I have two long walls that I paint on, a wall of shelves, and a drafting table. I do have a small section that I can store larger works.

I have been working in this space for about three years. It is located in a 1930s-era power plant that has been converted into 15 studio spaces. I would love a space where I had more natural light but this will have to do for now. I do a lot of work in the field, from plein air painting studies.

Robert Stark, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (site)

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This has been my studio for the past 30 years.

I built my own easels.

My friend Kevin O’Toole built my couch.

It’s my life, contained in a room.

Suzanne Tevlin, Toronto, Canada (site)

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You walk straight into my work area when you enter the front door. I work on large tables that line the walls of both my front rooms. I work standing up, with the painting surface against the wall or flat on the table

It’s cold in the winter so I need a carpet. It’s a kilim I found in Istanbul. This photo is taken near an old armchair my grandmother gave me. I sit in it to contemplate my work which I lean against my piano on the far side of the room.

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