A View from the Easel

In this edition, we take a peek at artist studios in Arizona, California, Ohio, Texas, and the United Kingdom.

The 104th 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.

Laurel Jay Carpenter, Newcastle, United Kingdom (site)

I just moved into this studio so it’s especially empty in this photo, but even now, 6 months later, it looks pretty much the same. I work best in an orderly space and I always clean up and put everything away at the end of each day so I can come in fresh the next time. I also work in silence: no music, no podcasts, just giving my thoughts some room to meander. I enjoy looking out the window and usually sit facing it. The view is only a brick wall, but I can see a bit of sky and watch the shift in the light over the hours. The older I get the less willing (or able) I am to multi-task. I relish the opportunity to do just one single thing; the studio gives me that permission. I actually am a durational performance artist, so that singular focus is significant in my final performance work, but now I realize that I build my concentration in the studio preparation all the weeks/months before as I sew the sculptural garments or construct the installation design. This studio is a perk of the Northumbria University/Baltic Institute practice-based PhD program, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

Jack McLain, Tucson, Arizona (site)

My studio was once the master bedroom suite in my restored pre-statehood 1900 home in the National Historic Neighborhood of Armory Park in Tucson. I normally have six to 10 pieces in process at any given time spread around my studio. My practice is to paint every day as time allows while moving from piece to piece as the oil and cold wax I currently paint with are at some desired state of wetness/dryness. I have wonderful light with large windows on the west, north, and east, and I augment the natural light with several strategically placed 5,000K spot lights. I work off easels and always paint while standing which allows me more free and energetic gestural mark-making and encourages in-place dancing to the music which is an integral part of my process. I much prefer working in my home studio vs. one of the many off-site studio rental options available in Tucson. I value the ability to make coffee/cook food/drink wine, nap on the couch, play whatever musical genre I care to at whatever volume I desire, and most significantly, enjoying the ease to make art at any time I care to without motoring to a remote studio.

Maria Sheets, Dallas, Texas (site)

This is a converted garage in suburban Dallas. It has space for creating oils on canvas, Ukrainian eggs, egg tempera icons, and stained glass pictorial painting (kiln), as well as treating objects for art conservation. I had the garage door replaced with windows for natural light and insulation. It is small but incredibly efficient with light and soldering tables custom built for my height, as well as consideration for the directional flow of movement during different processes and, of course, safety.

Dana Oldfather, Cleveland, Ohio (site)

My studio is small. Really small. I had to crunch myself into a tiny ball on top of a radiator in the corner to even get this shot. But hey, it’s free, and I can make paintings up to 64 x 80 inches per panel, so I can’t complain. It forces me to be organized.

I have two first floor bedrooms in our 1920s home just outside Cleveland that I converted to studio rooms, and this is the painting studio. The other is a drawing, stretching, storing space. They are separated by the only full bathroom in the house otherwise I’d knock the walls out. I typically work on 3 to 6 paintings at a time and recently spray painted this group of canvases in the backyard. Once they are brought inside, I use a variety of brushes ranging in size from 000 to 8 inch wide brushes to apply acrylic and oil paint. The paintings go back and forth between laying flat on the floor to upright, either on wooden blocks or the easel. My easel, seen in the background and in the mirror on the studio door, was made for me by my father using his easel, which was made for him by his father, as a template.

Lorene Anderson, Oakland, California (site)

I moved into this warehouse in the early 1990s, living and painting in a small loft apartment above this workspace when it was a cabinet shop. The cabinet business moved out and I took over the studio space in the late 90s. It has been my studio for almost 20 years! 

The studio has two large skylights which provide a lot of natural light. The size of my studio and the amazing light it provides have definitely had a great influence on the evolution of my work. I frequently pour paint, use gestural brushwork and carved squeegees to pull paint across surfaces creating linear, layered compositions. Paintings are worked on while flat, propped up on buckets or saw horses. I work in a series where multiple paintings are going at once. My work is layered, so while a layer on a painting is drying, I work on other pieces. Painting sizes range from 6 x 6 inches on up to 6 x 6 feet and larger. The large rolling table (to the right) holds my paint mixtures and tools while I work. I store paint organized by color on shelves off to the left (not visible). This photo shows the main work area in the center. Visible at the left is a corner of a large work table used for drawing and small paintings. Paint racks are behind the curtains to the left. A small office area, my fish aquarium, storage loft, seating area, and art library are to the right of the main work area. 

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