Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in California, Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Oregon.

The 113th 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.

John Hylton, Felton, CA (site)

Working big in a small space has its challenges. But luckily in California the weather is cooperative most of the time, and I can roll open the barn door and expand to the outside. I built this small barn so I can walk out of the house and start making art in a matter of a few steps. I have always found it important that when you have a thought about the art you are working on, you can go act on it. The barn also doubles as my honey extraction house when the bees are having a good year.

Jeanne Keck, Baltimore, MD (site)

My studio is in an old textile mill in Woodberry, which is an historic area of Baltimore, Maryland. There are many artists here, since these mills are so suitable for artist studios. Believe it or not, I have just cleaned this studio, which is generally my pattern after finishing a painting.

Because I work with mixed media, including cotton, dried corn husks, dried orchids, and other plants, papers, fabrics, straw, and found and made objects, it is necessary to keep these objects readily available in order to be able to use them as instinctively as the acrylics and oils. These are kept in see-through containers around the working space of the 750-square-foot studio. The wall on the left is movable and not only serves as a working wall but also separates the area of bins that support the finished works. Since I prefer to work large and generally in the size of my body’s reach, the 20-foot ceiling is a real advantage.

Pia Pilar, Vail, CO (no site)

My painting area is directly across from my desk. In the photo, my easel is placed on a home-made table top supported by two sturdy side shelves holding assorted tools and paints — a small community of whimsy and essentials covered by a white sheet that acts as a splash guard while I paint. On the table are brushes, mixed paints, more tools, and miscellaneous objects that a working artist needs. To the right are two square baskets holding more paints covered by a folder containing my sketches.

My chair has wheels moving between my desk and easel throughout the day, finally resting when I break for happy hour. My daily creative workout begins with waking next to my boyfriend in our 800-square-foot apartment, drinking coffee and eating toast, then having a dance with the canvas. I have a concept or goal in mind but let the paints and brushes guide me. One cannot force energy into a painting without letting one’s guts, life-experiences, and je ne sais pas flow from a clear mind and a pure heart. My final product is rarely what I had in my mind’s eye — more of something I envisioned in my soul, or as a child.

Katie Hector, Brooklyn, NY (site)

This is my studio in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn! I moved into this space at the beginning of summer after getting the boot from my previous studio — a typical New York artist story wherein the landlord informed everyone living and working in the building that they needed to relocate with very little heads up or transparency. The silver lining of the situation was that six of us banded together to find a larger, better studio, which we then subdivided. All of us work really well together. We share responsibilities and support each others’ practices.

I helped build out the walls for this space, which perhaps explains the feelings of intimacy, comfort, and pride that I experience while I’m here. In many ways I view my studio as the only space I have in the city that is truly mine. It is a space where I don’t have the oversight of a boss, deadlines, or rules. It’s a space where I am allowed to simultaneously be in control and fail.

Leah Wingfield, Jacksonville, OR (site)

This is a partial view of the studio I share with my husband. We collaborate on sculptures made primarily with cast glass and mixed with wood, steel, and nostalgic objects. We designed and built our home and studio on a beautiful piece of property.

This photo captures a moment in the studio when many parts of the process are underway. Two sculptures are finished and ready to be delivered to the gallery. Two more waxes for cast glass heads are beginning, while other materials are gathering, and inspirations collect on the walls. This is my half of the studio, which also contains the equipment and spaces for mold making, kilns, and glass finishing. My husband’s side of the studio contains all of the woodworking equipment, tools for steel, and his own inspirations.

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