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A View From the Easel

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

The 140th 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.

Grier Horner, Pittsfield, MA

This is the back half of my studio. The front half is equally chaotic. Since this shot was taken, I have had to stack dozens of large paintings against the walls because I lost my storage space. As a result, the area I can still paint in is way too  small. I use the ladder as my easel. Often, as in the large portrait, I tack my canvas to the wall because I like its hard working surface. Paintings that aren’t stretched are rolled up on tubes— five or six to a tube — are stored between the ceiling joists. On at the table in the left foreground are sheets of acrylic paint I collected on boards and in cups under a large series of drip paintings. I used these salvaged pieces in other paintings.

My wife considers the studio a spot that should be added to the list of federal Superfund sites. “Grier, you’ve got to start getting rid of the paintings. What are the kids going to do with 500 paintings you couldn’t sell in your lifetime?” And since I’m 83, the final disposition of my work is a real problem for which I have no solution. I think that must be a problem a lot of older artists face. As a postscript, I’d like to say that I love my studio.

Robert Morrissey, Portland, OR

My studio is behind my house in Portland Oregon. I don’t care much for commuting, nor do I like having a studio in a house or apartment. For years in Orlando, Brooklyn, and LA I had studios that were either a distance away or a carve out of my living space.

My workspace is compact and practical. Almost everything is on wheels for easy reconfiguration, depending on what I’m working on at the time. The space is twice as long as it is wide. This is a good thing, as I tend to stand and/or pace while I work. One long wall is entirely covered in pegboard for easy (and visible) access to and storage of materials. The other long wall is multi-purpose. The shorter front wall houses supplies, flat files, and painting racks. The shorter back wall is where the ping pong table (on wheels of course) is folded up. Ping pong and painting complement one another nicely. In addition, the space has a high, sloped ceiling with three skylights.

I am at home here in the Pacific Northwest where the rain, the moss, the treesm, and (yes) the light informs my work and suits my temperament.

Gil Hayes, Riverside, CA

My studio shows several works in progress. I paint in oil so I always have several canvasses going at the same time. It shows my palette, which is just French ultramarine, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, and white. I make an underpainting using the primary colors, then build from there. I can make all other colors from these — even earth tones which I don’t actually use. I make my own canvasses out of burlap on board. The burlap gives the paintings a physical depth, plus I can create several effects, depending on how I apply my paint. These effects are lost in photos and must be seen in person to fully appreciate them. Finished paintings are hung on the walls of my studio because I open my studio to the public every first Thursday for the city’s Artwalk.

Leigh Yardley, Hubbardsville, NY

My studio is the second floor of our 30 by 25 foot garage built in 2003. Having a studio in a separate building helps me mentally move from home to work. The open floor plan allows for flexibility. The far end in the photo contains a sink, an office, and storage. In the larger work area of the studio everything is moveable so that I can work large on the floor or smaller on tables. In the summer I often take over the first floor as well, taking advantage of the garage floor and wood shop.

The 25 feet of windows face west, looking out onto hay fields and woodland. Much of my work is based on my interactions in the surrounding environment, and the view from the studio is a constant reminder of where I need to be. That space, the landscape, is as much my studio as this place above the garage.

Olga Alexander, New York, NY

I am a mixed media painter and installation artist that works on multiple projects and series at any given time. I am now working and reworking on a series of paintings on canvas and paper. What you see are various iterations in various states of completion; really just experimenting with some ideas.

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