Articles

A View from the Easel

This week, artist studios in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The 117th 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.

T. David Downs, Pittsburgh, PA

I make paintings — a condition which requires light, solitude, and an area on which to hang or mount a canvas for work. A simple studio, such as the one I work in, fulfills this duty. There is room to pace, to ponder, to turn away. There are corners for the accumulation of finished and abandoned work. There are few distractions except those that concern the painter: pigments, mediums, books of work to envy, paintings to hate, and those that are too great to accept as your own. This is my workshop.

Leslie Sills, Brookline, MA

This is my 11 by 15 foot studio that is supposed to be a dining room in my apartment. It is also the place where I have made a living for four decades giving art classes to small groups of children everyday after school. I work every morning and early afternoon until about 2:00. Then I move my work to another part of the apartment where the children cannot run into it. I put away my oil paints, sketches, and source materials, and move the large table to the center of the room setting up chairs around it.

I like to tell the children when they come here that they should think of this room as their studio. All their supplies — water-based paints, collage materials, clay, and more — are on shelves where they can help themselves. They are encouraged to create whatever they like as well.

I don’t always want to put my art and supplies away, but I once read that Magritte painted in his living room and packed everything up every evening. It worked for him, and it has worked for me.

Mike Giese, Louisville, CO

My name is Mike Giese. I live in Louisville, Colorado and made my mobile home an art studio! There’s  lots of space, and  it’s  really cheap. I work on art every day and never get tired of looking at my art to inspire me to keep on keeping on.

Phyllis Bramson, Chicago, IL

In the foreground of this photograph is my idea board. I have quite a few of them, as I feel very comforted having these visual images “just hanging around.” The windows looking outside, of which there are six, allow light but also give me a view of the world outside. My studio is on the fourth floor facing an expressway in Chicago, where the rest of the University of Illinois campus resides. Before I retired I used to walk through an alley between the loft building (where I live and work) to the art building, a very efficient and helpful shortcut that I used. I taught painting and drawing for 22 years.

Richard Sica, Brooklyn, NY

This photo is my studio in Brooklyn. Back in 1985, my wife and I purchased three contiguous studios in a recent co-opted building in Brooklyn. I removed one of the kitchens and converted it into my studio. Although small, it suits my needs perfectly with everything in easy reach.

I have a 4 by 8 foot plywood board that I angled and attached to the wall, as it makes a perfect drawing surface. I have trays to keep my colored pencils in order, as well as two cabinets that hold extra supplies, and a large eight-drawer flat file for storage.

After graduation from Pratt Institute so long ago, I started to draw with colored pencil on various colored papers. The technique allows me to pick up and start work with no preparation. I found that, as with most artists, working a full time job left precious little studio time. In the evenings after work or on the weekends, I wanted to sit down and create and not deal with time-consuming complex material. I am very satisfied with this arrangement, and since I recently retired, I can now spend more time in the studio and increase my productivity.

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