Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 98th 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.

Carmen Duque, Manila, Philippines

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This is my studio, which I call The Garden Room. I have my art and craft books here and all my art materials. I had it built next to the main house about a year ago. It’s bright and airy and surrounded by plants. When all the glass windows and doors are open it feels like I’m outdoors. You can see the area where I do most of my prep work and painting.

At the other end of the room sits my trusty coffee machine and a long comfy window seat for napping!

Luisa Caldwell, Brooklyn, New York (site)

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What I love about this studio are the 15-foot-tall ceilings that have allowed me to build up, and the 10-foot windows, with a sliver view of the East River.

Breezes waft in and the curtains billow in summer, and in winter the low lying sun is blinding (hence the back lit photo) but it warms the space nicely. I work with collected materials. The paintings are acrylic paint and fruit stickers, the hanging sculptures to the right are candy wrappers tied with thread, and the tower is made of stacked boxes.

It’s with sadness that I submit this photograph, because of April 15 this year about 50 artists are being evicted. It is the very last artist occupied building on the Williamsburg Waterfront. This has been a fantastic studio.

Ann Knickerbocker, Florence, Massachusetts (site)

My studio measures about 6′ x 7.’ It is an enclosure (once a back porch) leading out from the kitchen. This is one of the smaller spaces I have worked in! We will insulate the barn behind the house eventually, to give me more space, money permitting. But until then, I am working in two sketchbooks, one that is 5″ x 7,” and one that is 14″ x 17.”

I am calling this smaller work “The Kitchen Sink Notebooks.” After all, it isn’t far from the kitchen sink. And, along the “everything but the kitchen sink” idea, I am finding that my artistic inspiration comes from many places: Susan Howe’s poetic book on Emily Dickinson (Amherst is nearby), dreams, my view of the taller grasses poking out through the deep snow. I work every morning, with several cups of coffee, then break, clean up a bit, allow things to dry, and come back to the space later in the day. A small thing, but my own!

Claira Heitzenrater, Edinboro, Pennsylvania (site)

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This space is wonderful, with plenty of natural light, outlets, and an air filtration system that runs on a two-hour timer. The space in this studio is great for someone like me who tends to work on multiple oil paintings at a time: plenty of wall and floor space for things to dry, as well as a desk (out of the picture plane) and the ever-present coffee maker. My favorite part about this space is actually my easel. My grandfather built it for me when I went to grad school, so it really helps me to feel a strong connection with my tools.

I always make sure to have my Mac present for reference images (I work from an equal mix of life and photographs), articles, and email correspondence. I think the only thing missing from this space is a cat (and maybe a couch, but it won’t fit, so the office chair will do).

Elizabeth Arzani, Seattle, Washington (site)

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This image is my section of a shared studio space. It is a quirky old building that initially greats you with a green staircase and red walls. At night, with the street lights shining in, it looks something like a scene from an Edward Hopper painting.

My studio is shared with another artist who suggested I move into the connecting space adjoined to hers. I had been studio-less for a year and working in-between the kitchen table and the love seat in front of the kitchen stove of a small one bedroom apartment in downtown Seattle. Now I have a long hallway of a studio characterized by a slightly askew brick wall that swallows nails and one window into the happenings of another artist’s space.

I have loved working in my nest of inspiration walls and installation furnishings. Between the heaps of tin, piles of paper, and boxes of collections, I can typically be found working on the floor, leaving only the space in the center of the carefully arranged in-progress things for which I am able to sit.

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