Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in Belgium, Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, and Oregon.

The 119th 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.

Tilly Strauss, Miami, FL

My two favorite things to have in any studio are a good viewing chair and a good painting wall. I don’t need a lot of space; in fact, I enjoy the nest-like feeling of having everything within reach. My work never gets too large, but I can start on the wall, move it to the easel, and then use the table to do more focused embellishments, like sewing many small works together to make a larger whole.

My sons found the chair at the goodwill and encouraged me to paint it in the style of a chair in one of my earlier paintings. It is very comfortable. I use it to reflect on the progress of the work.

My studio is 1/5th of a garage space in an industrial neighborhood south of downtown Miami. The rest of the garage is shared with four other artist sculptors. I am the only painter in the building. We have a common area for teaching classes and hosting meetings, as well as full facilities like a small kitchen and bathroom with shower. I have used the shower and let myself paint in a dripping wet bathing suit on unbearable hot summer days. There is no air condition, so it really helps keep me from overheating.

Dianne Jean Erickson, Portland, OR

My studio is in an office building that I share with four other artists, a few lawyers, and one psychologist. It’s the largest studio I’ve had — around 600 square feet — and five minutes from home in the Multnomah Village area of Portland. I work in mixed media, primarily encaustic, oil, and cold wax and acrylic.

I put up a wood railing on the left wall and have screws sticking out so I can hang artwork or easily take down to the floor canvas if I want to work flat. There are two floor-to-ceiling windows on the outside wall for light, but the daylight fluorescent ceiling lights work well for overall light. To the right, I have two large work desks covered in sheet metal (I use a torch), a library of reference books, and my computer. On the window wall I have a press for monotypes and an easel.

In this new space I have room to hold workshops, and plenty of wall space to display my work for Open Studios. The studio has enabled me to work much larger, which I couldn’t do at my home studio, and the presence of other artists for conversation and collaboration is a plus.

Geoffrey Detrani, New Haven, CT

My studio is located in a former toy factory. The space is not tremendous, but it has high ceilings and ample natural light. Storage is a constant issue, as I like my work space to be as uncluttered as possible. The photograph shows some of the storage racks and shelves I have built into the space to accommodate finished work, supplies, etc. I work on several things simultaneously, and the two works shown are an example of how my studio is typically set up (but perhaps a bit cleaner than usual). Most of my studio furniture is on wheels, so I can easily move everything out of the way and have a clear space to work and think.

AM Prett, Waynesville, NC

I don’t have a designated “studio space,” although I do have a small tabletop for limited work and some shelving dedicated to art supplies (the wire shelves often double as drying racks). Mostly, I do the sketches and lino carving at the kitchen table and then roll out my inking cart and small press to ink up and print.

I made the cart in the woodworking course I’m currently taking — it’s exactly what I’d wanted, and I’m really enjoying it. The little press is nice, and although it’s not nearly as big and stout as I’d prefer, it does the trick. When I’m done with printing, I roll them back into the corner of our living room, neat and tidy, and go back to the kitchen table.

Renate Spee, Antwerp, Belgium

My studio is in the front room of my apartment in Antwerp, Belgium.  I use the overdose of light for mixing spices, pigments, and glitter into varying color scales. Those I dispense on the flour into light, hypnotic color patterns.

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