Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The sixteenth installment of a series (Part 123456789101112131415, 16) in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. Want to take part? You can peruse the submission guidelines here.

Loren Siems, Brooklyn, NY (site)

I use my living room and small balcony as my studio space. Since my work is based on my memories and experiences as a woman coming of age, what better place than working in a traditionally female domestic space. I paint and build my sculptures in the middle of the floor and save the messier processes for out on the balcony.

I do most of my sewing and small work while sitting on my couch next to my little dog. Large windows let in natural light and conserve electricity. Since I work in my living space, I choose materials conducive to my environment that don’t cause excessive smells or mess. I use water soluble paints, and mostly wood and found building materials. I never have to travel very far to get to my creative space.

Amy Van Helden, Buenos Aires, Argentina (site)

My workspace is on the top floor of my house, akin to an attic. It has a wooden roof, a ceramic tile floor and a triangular window where I can see the tree-lined street below. The space is limited because of the slant in the roof, so under that area, rather than bang my head, I store unsold paintings (that are gradually getting fewer in number).

The window cannot be opened so that makes for a space that’s very hot in the summer, but ideal in the winter. I work on a table top attached to the base of an old Singer sewing machine. My favorite white chair is in view. I’m ready to work on the next step of my painting. I paint on 300 lb Arches watercolor paper. I have already painted the first coat of acrylic. Next, I will add another coat, but this time, I will manipulate the paint to add texture. There are many useful tools for this purpose, but I generally use natural reeds. For the following layers, I will use a ruler to measure and tape to block out the areas I don’t want painted. I like to use all kinds of implements to push acrylic paint around, but my favorites are rubber squeegees and kitchen spatulas, not in view.

Brenda Hope Zappitell, Delray Beach, Florida (site)

My studio space is located in an office building, sandwiched between a chiropractor and a barber shop. I make abstract paintings, and use a spray bottle, brush and paper towel very frequently. You can also see several paintings on the walls, which are my reference material.

Often times, my own work leads me on my next journey for a new painting. I have lots of natural light in my space which is important to my process and one of the primary reasons I chose this space.

Andres Manniste and Lynn Millette, Montreal, Canada (site)

My wife and I have been sharing this fourth floor space since 1999. We have about 1000 square feet and a washroom. The space used to be used for manufacturing clothing. The multiple wall plugs are still there.

We wanted to find someplace that we wouldn’t be forced to move from due to gentrification. The place was pretty sparse but well-heated. All we did was paint the walls white and have been working there since. For a while, we had a great view of the east end of the city. The whole building is full of artists now.

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