Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The thirteenth installment of a series (Part 123456789101112,  13141516, 17) in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. Want to take part? You can peruse the submission guidelines here

Narangkar Glover, Oakland, California (site)

My studio is in an old storefront. For my main workspace I have one work table made out of a heavy door that sits on top of some mitre shelves with casters on the feet, so I can move it if I need to. On the desk are a few self-healing mats. I do drawings and watercolors at the desk and store them in the flat file in the alcove.

My painting palette has two shelves for solvents, settling cans, linseed oil, painting medium, blades, rabbit skin glue, etc etc., and of course a big, heavy pane of glass on the top. The palette is on casters too, so I can wheel it to which ever painting I’m working on, because I like to have several going at once. I like to keep my tubes of paint and my brushes in vintage soda crates. Paintings in progress hang directly on the wall or leaned up against it. I like things to be neat, orderly and minimal.

The windows are south-facing and that means my studio gets a ton of natural light, although much of it is direct, so it produces glare on my work. I like the amount of light I get though, so I have yet to install heavy curtains.

The building is from the 1920s with two storefronts and two apartments. I live in one of them with my husband and two cats. My husband and my neighbor share the other storefront that has a small kitchen, sink, bathroom, and a door to the yard. In the back of my workspace is a small storage area with my painting storage racks.

Jennifer Sanchez, New York City (site)

This is my living room studio. It’s a small space, so my setup requires that I be super tidy. I roll the cart and fold down the table behind a screen you don’t see on the left. I really love being able to work at home. It gives me lots of opportunities to space out and look at my work at any time I want — which is a lot. And it’s super convenient to go paint something when I get a “brilliant” idea in the shower or while vacuuming.

Allyson Seal, San Francisco, California (site)

i delight in color and disdain capitalization. my table, recently spray-painted pink, gold, and yellow in a fit of manic semi-productivity is essential to my daily practice. one leg is broken; i use storage bins to keep it standing. i sit with a window to my right and the door of the studio to my left — enticing distractions both. i pin most everything i make to the wall — barren, gray, glitter trees (i am not, truth be told, meant for glitter. i also can’t really abide adjectives); color tests and mixes; wordy mind maps that explicate what i think about when i think about art.

i love language; i paint it into landscapes of shape and color and absence. i sit here almost everyday. some days, i spend all my time talking to someone on the couch or at the door. i have made the re-arranging of my studio into it’s own art practice. i thrive on a balance between order and messiness. my most recent series started with the 6″x8″ marker drawings pinned next to the large red panel (the marker lines unsightly). from there, the color tests neatly labeled above the inks are my palette for the thick watercolor paper on the table. this practice eventually becomes part of the pile of small “geodes” to the left of the table.

Mia Leijonstedt, Cambridge, UK (site)

This is my third dedicated studio space in my 15 years of artistic practice. In between, while moving from country and continent to another, temporary rooms and desk spaces have had to suffice. So to have a space to lay my artist’s hat in again is a relief.

This loft studio is an artist studio in transition — being in the process of selling my larger bookbinding gear to make room for a growing collection of crystals and other jewellery materials. Yet I’m still dreaming of a larger atelier, to really be able to spread out and make some large scale sculptural paper works that have been brewing in my mind for quite a while. But I am really in love with this space.

The light streaming in from both ends is atmospheric. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by my antique boxes and containers that I’ve collected over the years to house all the needed bits and pieces. All the studio furniture also brings back memories from our travels and are thus part of my personal artist history. In a way, each item in my beloved creative space tells a story and probably therefore probably contributes to what I make while working in this studio. If family commitments didn’t pull me out of my studio, I believe I’d never spend much time outside of these walls.

Lena Levin, Fremont, California (site)

Here is a corner of my sunlit studio. It was supposed to be the living room, but we have bought the flat only because this large corner room has this excellent northern light — precisely what I needed for my studio, because I strongly prefer to paint in daylight.

On the right, behind the easel, is my studio painting set-up: my brushes, my palette, a bunch of paper towels. Under the bench, a few new canvases and my plein air equipment. The easel more frequently is turned towards the windows: it depends both on the lighting conditions and on my still life set-up (if I paint a still life).

The left-side bench and the wall behind it look tidier than they normally do, because I’ve just had an Open Studio this last weekend, but it is essentially the same as ever: storage for smaller works, some paper for sketches, my very small and very classical music collection, and some recent work hanging on the wall. The drying rack in the corner doubles as a storage place for mid-size canvases.

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