Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in Barbados, California, Connecticut, and Illinois.

The 131st 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.

Susan Beallor-Snyder, Weston, CT

This is a view of my studio that shows a piece I was working on at the time on the floor. It’s important for my workspace to have a sense of calm. I love my couch, and when I take a nap, I create in my sleep or work out technical or creative issues before, during, and after I sleep. My rope sculptures are created on the floor. I sometimes have a movie or documentary that I have seen before on in the back ground just to keep me grounded in the work because my brain is busy and wanders all over, and I would be up working on multiple pieces and projects otherwise. My studio is a place where all things are possible for me. I can work undisturbed for hours.

Kirsten Dear, Barbados

I work at our large elm dining room table. In the morning, I cover it with a big waterproof tablecloth and lay out my tools. I rest my computer with my images on an old adjustable height piano stool that swivels. I started working in a bedroom, but as the canvases got bigger, I could not get enough distance to see what I was doing.

There is a large open double door that lets in the light I need to work. If it is raining, I take a break, as I can’t get the colors right in artificial light, but it is rare to have more than just a short shower where we are in Barbados. In the evening, I pack everything away in the sideboard you see in the background and put the half finished painting I am working on in the back bedroom. I put my palette in the freezer — this keeps the oil paints fresh until the next day. The taking out and putting away takes about five minutes each.  It is a little ritual to tell me that the workday has started and ended, and additionally is necessary because the dining table is in use for eating daily.

Chase Langford, Los Angeles, CA

Separate from the house, my studio is a slice of paradise in the Santa Monica Mountains above Los Angeles. I studied geography and was a practicing cartographer, which led me to creating abstract works inspired by geographic forms, so it is fitting that I paint in a dramatic location with sweeping panoramic views of canyons, mountains, and valleys. It is quiet, isolated, and has wonderful light from huge skylights and windows.

Although I love my studio, I am often squeezed for space, especially when I soon will start a 55 by 140-inch commission (the canvas is in the background; stretcher bars showing). Out of view is my ‘vault,’ where I keep finished work and two other rooms for storing art supplies and shipping materials. Notice how everything is painted white. It serves two purposes: to eliminate color basis within my view and to provide as much ambient light as possible. Everything is on wheels, including large flat files, so I can reconfigure the studio at a moment’s notice. I have a strict “functionally pure” rule, meaning that I only keep items in my studio that help me paint.

Cassandra Tondro, Ventura, CA

This is my dream studio. I had it built when I moved to Ventura, California five years ago. It’s a bright and airy 800-square-foot space with opening skylights for light and ventilation, French doors and windows that look out onto my native plant garden, and lots of shelf and storage space.

My large collection of scavenged house paints, rescued before they go to waste, makes a colorful display on the shelves. I use these paints for my art, working with colors that I find, rather than colors of my choice. To the right of the paints is a drying rack for wet art. The paintings have to dry flat, otherwise the paint runs right off the canvas. Behind the camera is storage space for unused canvases and finished paintings, a large sink for cleaning up, and the luxury of a bathroom so I don’t have to make trips to the house! Having a big space has allowed me to work larger and work on many pieces at once. I am totally in love with this studio and count my blessings every day.

John Fitzgerald, Pontiac, IL

I am a hobby painter in oil and a retired gemologist. I have a corner of the second floor (2500 square feet) above Pontiac Community Art Center. The second floor is called Honkeytonk Angels Studio. There are four of us that share it. It was a dance hall over 50 years ago, in a building over 100 years old. The place is pretty rough, which gives it a certain appeal. It stays tolerably warm in winter and tolerably cool in summer and costs $25 a month.

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