Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The twenty-first installment of a series (Part 123456789101112,  13141516171819, 20) in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. Want to take part? You can peruse the submission guidelines here.

Amy Bouse, Los Angeles, California (site)

This former garage will be 100 years old next year, just like my house. The doors were a steal from Craig’s list and make the space seem a little bigger. (Cars were small 100 years ago.)

This space is my safe haven in a neighborhood full of barred windows, helicopter sounds and loud hip-hop. I love the minute or two through the yard to this space and being able to see the boisterous garden through the studio window. I mostly work on the walls, moving around the carts to accommodate my supplies. I like working on multiple pieces at one time, letting some pieces rest while others are active.

Amanda Williams, Auckland, New Zealand (link)

This is the studio I had at Art School earlier this year. In it you can see the great tech drawing desk that can rotate up or be flat. I do a lot of work straight onto the wall too.

The chair in the corner is very uncomfortable but ok to sit and ponder my work from a distance, though not for too long. I like to see footprints of my previous works on the newly painted walls (ink drips) and know they too will have only a fleeting life once the end of the year comes round, with the blanket of white paint ready for a new draft of eager students.

I prefer a messy studio to an orderly one as I like to accidently see a juxtaposition of images that captures my next move.

Keith Allyn Spencer, Providence, Rhode Island (site)

A hole in the wall is not a far exaggeration to describe my studio space. I have seen walk-in closets larger than my work area; however, it is financially practical and convenient to have a live-in work space right now, especially when juggling an art practice and a young family.

The studio is attached to my bedroom, the view you see here. There is no routine. I jump in when I can: during the many quick naps my baby takes, between flipping pancakes, or when my wife takes the boys out on various park excursions and errands. Heavy oil and solvents are a no-no.

Woodworking is done right outside the building, preferably on warm, partly cloudy days. Yet, if need be, I’ll lug my equipment out on chilly, snow-filled days, too. Space, time and processes are limited, but I accept them as positive obstructions for my artwork.

Lori Escalera, Vista, California (site)

My space has migrated from a second bedroom to the 20’ x 30′ garage which has a covered pool table for prepping large boards, teaching, tile supplies and a commercial kiln.

Now I paint in the dining room area of the living room. There is a big picture window to my left which has a black block out screen to control the light so it doesn’t change over the day. I have the big oak table to my right which is a small working table for charcoal/pastel drawing. It has notebooks on it which house references for many paintings still in process.

All finished paintings are stored in the office or in the garage in holding bins. All the canvases seen here — out and about — are things that are not quite “working” and in process of being reworked or will be re-gessoed to start over. Paintings that hang are just up on the wall to “decorate” and are not in process, but are art for the walls. I also have paintings of two other friends close by to remind me of their inspiration in my own painting. My trusty best friend pooch of 15 years died recently, so his pillow (lower left) has become a shrine and gives me comfort while I work through the grieving process.

My favorite Christmas ornaments hang from the chandelier year-long. It is very important to me that I have a few “objects” to which I am emotionally tied — the rest is all about “The Work.” The light sage green tint in my surroundings is relaxingly therapeutic and the lighting is daylight neutral to balance the painting color; critical to the process for better work.

Nancy Charak, Chicago, Illinois (site)

I am fortunate to be able to rent a rough space in an old ice-house in the Ravenswood neighborhood on Chicago’s northside. My work is mostly watercolors which need to lie flat, but even then I’ve never been able to work on an easel. In the back you see a mechanic’s chest of drawers which holds zillions of pencils, all neatly categorized and color coded.

Underneath is the wet ‘n’ dry vac. I share the studio with two women painters and we mostly don’t get in each other’s way.

The table on the far right is my late mother’s table for overflow children, and the one in front I got for free because a departing tenant abandoned it. The place has good art karma. I’ve done good work here in the past eight years.

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