Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in California, Maine, New York, and Ohio.

The 110th 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.

Jack Gibby, Maple Heights, OH (site)

The view from my easel contains, from left to right, Stephon the Skeleton (one of many Memento Mori in my studio), my art literature (art history, technique, artist books, etc.), my “Thinking Chair,” chess set, computer for reference, my easel of course, paint supply desk, and piano — as lit by my big picture window.

My work spans several different styles, so the reference material is always helpful for expanding and developing my work. My “Thinking Chair” is where I sit and stare at works in progress as I figure out how to proceed. The piano provides an alternative means of expression when I need to scream and shout instead of painting studiously. The chess set is a nod to my father, who taught me how to play, and Duchamp who’s work and philosophy I’ve found influential. And last but not least, my painting supply desk is filled with oil paint, spirits, brushes, and everything else I could need on any given painting.

Each day when I get home from work, I click on the easel lamps, throw open the curtains, and sit in my “Thinking Chair” as I determine what I will work on that day.

Susan Pullman Brooks, Bristol, NY (site)

My husband has given me the moniker “Forensic Artist,” aka Morticia. My passion for osteology, mythology, astronomy, and obsessive collecting demanded a renovation of my studio (the basement).

It took six months to plan and organize the 20 archival drawers that hold hundreds upon hundreds of the objects I use in my work, and three times the square footage. I have been collecting all of my life, and for what, I was unaware — until three years ago, when I had an epiphany whilst watching The Vikings. Yes, that is correct, but that is a story for another time.

John Robertson, Ventura, CA (site)

My artist studio is 1,000 feet in a light industrial space located in Ventura, California. Most of the work is large-scale, starting at around four-foot, up to 15-foot canvases. As you can see in the foreground, there are canvas rolls in a variety of sizes. The large pieces of canvas are stretched over stretcher bars, and then once finished, cut off and stored for upcoming showings.

The studio has a big, 10-foot wide, glass roll-up door that I keep open all the time. As it is only a couple of blocks from the beach (I actually have an ocean view) I get great air circulation from the afternoon winds off the Pacific. You see a number of different types of work. As I have been painting most days of the week for 25 years, I get bored and continue to experiment with styles and subject matter. It looks like I just drop things whenever I have finished with their use. I like to say that instead of it being a mess, it is in a constant state of flux.

Jenny Brillhart, Blue Hill, ME (site)

Attached please find a studio view which represents me and my work well. Studio is a part of the narrative of my paintings and shallow set-ups. I make set-ups to paint from (and sometimes show, when I’m lucky. I also find set-ups in my space, which can be totally accidental or a combination of conscious arrangements and the surrounding not-on-purpose area. Those are often the best. My materials represent what I am doing, art-wise and otherwise.

Lately, I’ve been building a wall (in the studio), and fixing a fixer-upper house, so there are lots of materials that feel like that. I love the seam between floor and wall and tend to see it as a studio landscape, with possibilities of light, gravity, and perspective coming through the objects and their composition. The function of things is also of interest. In this image, the table changes from the place where my paints and papers and lots of other stuff sit on, into a design element, interjecting and overtaking the beginnings of a wall composition. The light is something too.

William Norton, Brooklyn, NY (site)

My studio is my bedroom (hence the crumpled bedclothes in the foreground). I usually create each piece in such a fever that I have to keep multiple pieces on the wall at all times to help me remember what I’ve been making (check my Instagram to see that). My studio assistant HeiHei the dog is also a big help, as he is a demanding audience. With a Dremel, I hand carve lines into plexiglass, hence the need for constant cleaning and attaching of my tools to the vacuum cleaner. I also sand and polish the edges, build the wooden framing, and do my best not to go nuts creating so much in such a tiny space. I have one 20-foot wall, so I’ve made 20-foot-long plexiglass pieces, too. This is not the healthiest way to work, but it’s what makes my life affordable for now.

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