Articles

A View from the Easel

by Philip A Hartigan on July 11, 2013

CHICAGO — The 42nd  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.

Amanda Immurs, Ontario, Canada (site)

amanda immurs

This is where I art and this is who I art with. Sidney and I have done art together in the spare bedroom of our home for the last seven years. The window allows a lot of light for me and a view of the birds for Sid. On my table are plenty of found materials like rusty metal and dried paint for my sculptural collages. My easel sits in front of Sidney’s chair, where we can make the most of the morning light. It is where the two of us sit and listen to the music while I paint.

Alan Singer, Rochester, New York (site)

akan singer

You see one quarter of the studio here, the wall where I paint and I have several smaller paintings on my work table on the left. I am trying out various combinations of circles and ellipse shapes. Storage is off to the right, and I did not clean up for this photo (alas). I have tropical plants in my space, and too many books and art supplies to mention. I have accumulated a lot of information recently about the relationships of mathematics to visual art, so you see piles of papers from my study on a desk at the right as well.

Clare Olivares, Oakland, California (site)

Olivares_studio-640

My studio is a converted garage. I use a drafting table on which I create small paintings and painted plaster pieces. On the walls by my table I pin up postcards, magazine clippings, and photographs that inspire me.

For larger paintings I work directly on the cement floor. Although the space is small, it’s quiet, making it easy to focus on my work. Below the studio is a room where I can store some finished work. The view directly outside my east window is an old redwood tree where I can watch birds and squirrels while I’m painting. The other windows look out at my yard with its crabapple tree blooming bright pink in the spring. The setting seems fitting for my paintings as my work is nature-based.

Amy Fleming, Tallahassee, Florida (site)

amy fleming

This is my workspace inside my home. I live in a small 2/1 duplex. Here you see what would normally be the dining area, with the kitchen counter on the right, and the back of the sofa on the left. That’s a Charles Brand etching press where a dining room table would otherwise be. We moved that to the front room, which doubles as a shared workspace with my husband, also an artist. I use the front and back open patios for any routering or jigsawing that needs doing, weather permitting. The table has room for working on intaglio plates, small scale sculptures, and drawings.

Pulling prints entails setting up a separate portable table to use for inking and wiping. I have a 12-inch square glass piece that serves as an inking slab. The water-soaking tray goes on the white chair that is just visible behind the press. Screen printing is done in the shared space or on one of the patios if it’s a nice day — we get a lot of thunderstorms here. We’d like to get a job site table saw, if we can just figure out where to put it.

Debra Lawrence, Cleveland, Ohio (site)

debra lawrence

Five mornings a week I wake at dawn, slide into a T-shirt and jeans, don an old lab coat (my “painting smock” you can see on the chair ), grab some coffee and a container of blueberries, and head downtown to my studio. Cleveland has amazing studio space at a fraction of the cost elsewhere. Mine is a live/work loft with floor-to-ceiling windows and concrete floors in the historic Tower Press Building, formerly a woolen coat factory. I don’t live here, but I love the option of staying if I’m in the middle of a painting, especially on one of our notorious, snowy Cleveland nights. Lucky for me, there’s a cafe in the space next to me, so I can grab a mocha and keep on working.

When my studio was in my home I painted one piece at a time. But here, the natural sunlight and expansiveness of the space have totally changed the way I work. As you can see, I work on many paintings at once, which pushes me artistically. These new contemporary oil paintings on canvas center on Winnicott’s notion of transitional objects, akin to security blankets, so it’s not exactly a coincidence that I work directly on the floor, from all four sides, folding, scribbling, painting, imbuing them with a veritable soul. I figured it would only be fitting to take the photo from the floor, since that’s where I spend most of my day.

When I take breaks I like to sit in my industrial metal chair, which is much more comfortable than it looks! I have stacks of books, magazines, and sketch pads strewn about, which help me regain my footing and confidence during those inevitable insecure times. It’s hard to see, but I have a yellow and blue painted hamster wheel on my step stool, a constant reminder that I’m so fortunate to live my life free. Next to that is one of the many coffee mugs I made in pottery class — pretty lame, but I love them for their genuine, wonky sensibility. Behind that stands my leaning-tower-of-gesso-buckets which topples over frequently as I bump into it more times than I like to admit. But I can’t complain, I am so incredibly fortunate to do what I love to do, and have such an inspiring space to do it in.

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  • http://firstproofprints.com/ J Redmann

    I’m gonna say it: F*** I’m jealous of how large that space in Cleveland is.

  • http://firstproofprints.com/ J Redmann

    I’m in NYC, no DL so it makes getting around places like Cleveland difficult. I hope your show goes well.

    I noticed in the picture of your studio it looks like a lot of the canvases aren’t on stretcher bars, do you take them on an off depending on what you choose to hang?

    • Debra Lawrence

      Thanks, J., but you really should try to get to CLE sometime…no more difficult than getting from CLE to NYC! But to your question, no, I don’t take them on and off…too hard. I work on raw sheets of canvas and then stretch them when I am getting ready for a show. http://www.DebLawrenceContemporary.com

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