Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Ontario.

The 127th 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.

Mimi Young, Olivebridge, NY

This is my studio in Olivebridge, New York. I paint predominantly on paper using the tables to paint on. As you can see in the photo, there aren’t really any walls to work with, so I built these trellises so that I can hang works on paper. They work out pretty well. For canvases, I take to the floor. I have a wall of north facing windows (left) that overlook a field and forest beyond. The skylights are a hindrance, so I just block them out. I feel so lucky to have this beautiful space. My last space was a spare bedroom in Brooklyn.

Philip Koch, Baltimore, MD

Since it was the warmest room in the house, my cat used to keep me company everyday in the studio. I paint small oil landscapes outdoors and would prop them up on a canvas chair just to the right of my easel to guide me as I painted larger canvases. The trouble was the cat would beat me to it and use the chair as his personal napping area. I never had the heart to shoo him off. Once he died, the empty chair just looked too lonely, so I bought a second easel to hold my studies.

Other than that, my companions are a tall standing mirror to study the panting’s image in reverse and a rocking chair for pondering my next move. I also keep a map of New York State on the wall to remind me of my boyhood on the shore of Lake Ontario. I commandeered what would have been the living room in my large town house to serve as the studio.

Roberta Malkin, Lincolnwood, IL

I work in the basement of my house, where I make ceramic sculptures, large woodcut prints, and paintings. In the foreground you can see some of my gouache paints, which are water soluble, so they need to be sealed with varnish or put under glass. Across from my work station I have a table easel for my friend Ginny, who paints with me every Wednesday.

I make my sculptures at the Evanston Art Center (near my home just north of Chicago) but do the finish work here in my studio. My prints are cut at home but printed elsewhere as well, because I need a large press to get them done. Behind me, not pictured, are cabinets and shelving, where I store my various art supplies, such as paper, glues, and other paints, and all of my old jewelry-making equipment, from when I was more of a jeweler. To the left, off camera, is a large rack where I store my finished prints, drawings, and canvases.

Hildy Maze, East Hampton, NY

My studio is an essential part of the process of creating my abstract contemplative work on paper. I feel that paper is the most responsive material to the investigation of mind through art — relating with whatever happens to the paper during the process of making a piece.

With the studio floor covered with painted paper — ripped, aged, and often walked on for days or months in the process, the rhythm of art making comes alive with unpredictability. This process determines the piece with an active sense of design and circumstance, as well as accident and accumulation. Each piece pushes me towards a different way of sharing discovery. There is control without control — a puzzling together. The paper has an inherent living quality. Because of how I treat the paper, it takes on added causes and conditions and accelerated impermanence.  Touched in any way there’s a response; a fingerprint, wrinkle, rip, drip, or tear, which then becomes texture and language.

Margaret Lindsay Holton, Waterdown, ON

The view is Lake Ontario. It is why I paint here. I love that the view changes daily. This room, on the second floor, is quite austere and very uncluttered.
I like my painting area to be sparse: the better to focus, concentrate, and work.
The compass on the window sill stays there all year round, giving me a sense of the Earth turning.

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