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A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in Philadelphia, Austin, Troy, and New York City.

The 144th 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.

Diane Burko, Philadelphia, PA


My studio, on the first floor of our home, which my husband and I converted from an office building in the heart of Philadelphia, satisfies my need for a space I can visit day and night. It’s large enough for viewing multiple projects. This shot, taken in spring 2018, depicts work in preparation for Endangered: From Glaciers to Reefs held at the National Academy of Sciences in DC from August 2018 to January 2019.  After spending January in American Samoa and Hawaii, I returned to embark on a totally new body of work about coral reef ecosystems. Not only was the content a departure from my past focus on glacial melt as an indicator of climate change — but so was the material and methods I chose to explore: acrylic paint, horizontal painting and a compressor to spread the flows.

Bethany Johnson, Austin, TX


This studio is the result of a years-long dream of designing and building my own small house in Austin, Texas, which I completed last year. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into in terms of the complexity and scale of such a project for one person. In the end that naïveté was probably necessary, as I likely wouldn’t have attempted it had I fully understood the challenge ahead. Looking back, I’m now very glad that I believed it was possible.

Integral to my small house design was ensuring a light-filled, efficient space for my art practice. Built on a small plot of land, the house is composed of two compact stories; this view depicts the studio portion of the upper story. The room is filled with diffuse northern light from the handmade clerestory windows installed in the vaulted vertical space. The feeling of the space is one of a lofted treehouse, with fluttering green light passing through the canopy of the catalpa tree outside, and flashes of various birds moving through the branches.

Jon Christopher Gernon, Troy, NY

My studio is located in the back of my house, just off the kitchen. It overlooks my backyard, gardens and our old carriage house and Maple trees. Having the studio in my house allows me to work anytime of the day and night. It’s very comfortable.

I work in a corner, a small section of the studio engulfed by books, music, and art supplies. I’m most comfortable in a small space with this “stuff” even when working on a large painting.

To the left in the photo is the chair I sit on at a high table. I use this table for painting small pieces and working on the hand made frames I sculpt and piece together. Most of my work is small so I spend a good deal of time at that table. Also on the table is my computer which I use to listen to music or watch a film while working.

Pia Sawhney, New York, NY

This is my little paradise. I grew up drawing and painting in my study, taking up lots of space on a big table. When I moved to NYC, I no longer had that space. I had to majorly downsize my creative environment and my surfaces. I taught myself how to draw on my iPad, so I could continue to pursue art whether or not I even had a table to work on. When I started itching to get my hands messy again outside of the digital realm, I carved out space in my room to make a designated spot. It’s great to not be totally dependent on a location, but even better to know I have such a cozy spot to let the magic happen.

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