Articles

A View from the Easel

This week, artist studios in Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and Ontario.

The 108th 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.

Miklos Nikolaus Legrady, Toronto, Ontario (site)

As the Toronto editor for Chicago’s New Art Examiner I love to write about art, and as an artist I’m equally fascinated with visual language. I believe we think not only intellectually but in a separate visual stream that runs parallel to intellectual thought. Sometimes it’s unconscious and sometimes overpowering, as when a picture moves us to tears. I began as a photographer and so painting for me always touched issues of visual credibility, for example the smoothness of airbrush for trompe-d’oeil. That explains the plastic hanging from the ceiling, to catch the airborne particles of airbrush and spray paint, and being strict about wearing a mask to save my lungs. Recently I’ve mashed abstract backgrounds with contradictory stuff, like the hand-painted cutlery. The body language of hand work contrasts with machine-made art, and that’s why my studio and the painting look the way they do.

David Holzman, Avon, Connecticut (site)

Describing the photo from left to right, you’ll see my “Arch” installation in progress, carved basswood and block-printed fabric, roughly 8’ x 5’ x 1’ at this point in the summer. To the right of that, in the foreground of the picture, is my printing set-up, just a flat slab of wood with some wooden rails screwed into it to allow for registration. Behind that is a work table with painting supplies and a sharpening machine. Notice the Frans Masereel poster. To the right of that, along the right edge of the photo, is the work table where I work on “The Book of Umm,” 1,300 gouache/watercolors so far in a series I’ve been doing since 2011. I’ve been in this studio since 1994. It’s in the rear of a thousand square foot garage in Avon, Connecticut. There was a bear and her three cubs outside the door this morning.

Tim Hildebrandt, Indianapolis, Indiana (site)

I am a lucky man. Three years ago my wife and I found this beautiful vintage 1927 arts and crafts home situated right on the main boulevard of Garfield Park, very near downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Across the street to the west is a broad expanse of green grass and countless old growth trees. The view is a wonder to behold.

The house itself is a true museum piece. It has a living room with a fireplace centered on two wall sconces, a large dining room with built-in cabinets, a great kitchen that I remodeled myself … and a basement, my new studio; two rooms, air conditioned, artificial light. But it’s fine. I am not a very productive painter anyway. My images are like pulled teeth.

So I sit for a moment on the front porch gazing across the glorious vista, and thus rejuvenated, I head back downstairs to pull teeth.

Ellen Kozak, New Baltimore, NY (site)

I’ve had different studios in Greene County, New York since 1993. The shoreline of the Hudson River has been my work-site for 25 years. In 2015, while on a sabbatical, I built this studio in New Baltimore, New York. Fortunately, it is a bit elevated from the river.

I mostly paint on-site out of doors on a field easel. Since the paintings are seldom finished on site I continue to work on them in my studio, developing and expanding color ideas that cannot be brought into the work until the oils are dry. Often the paintings take a year or more. I also work in my studio on video projects, especially for nighttime shooting.

In the last six years, I have watched the Hudson River become re-industrialized. Bakken crude, sent by rail from the shale oil fields in North Dakota to Albany, started being transported down the Hudson by tanker in 2012. In this image, taken from inside my studio, you see one of the tankers that plies the river both day and night. I employ the surface of the water much like a lens and I am mesmerized by its synthetic properties, including capturing color in the reflections. Reflected color from these vessels, such as this nearly soundless hulk, mixes interestingly with other visual phenomena in the river’s surface such as patterns created by current and tide.

For me, the location of the studio is ideal, it allows me to continually retrieve color ideas from direct observation. In the studio, while I may not be standing at the exact site where a painting began, I can continue working perceptually because of the studio’s proximity to the river; its light, movement, and sensations that keep my subject within constant reach, something I depend upon.

Katrina Bello, Montclaire, New Jersey (site)

This is a small corner of a northern New Jersey attic apartment that I devote as a workspace where I make my small drawings. The attic apartment is located in an artist-run exhibition space that I founded in 2016 (a space called North Willow, which is dedicated to site-specific installation).

This small corner that I keep as my studio is part of the storage/private area that is kept separate and hidden from the exhibition space. I recently created this workspace because my studio of almost eight years in a studio collective building in downtown Newark is being turned into an apartment building. This little corner works wonderfully for these small drawings. It also works very well with my daily schedule of operations and duties pertaining to the attic exhibition space. But I will soon need to find another studio since part of my studio practice is making very large drawings that need large wall spaces.

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