This is the 181st installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.
Frances Hynes, Queens, New York
Since COVID-19, I’ve set up my studio in a small room at my home. To view the work, I had ledges built on the walls of this room and in my living room as well, and also have a ‘wall easel.’ I’m painting views from my windows, which give me a point of departure, but become transformed during the painting process. To do this I bought a traditional, portable French easel box. I’m also painting memories of my summer of 2019, when I spent a month in Maine; these bring back moments of a better time, and the possibility of easy travel, which I hope will return. I have also been watching the night sky and phases of the moon and those moments are reflected in my night paintings. To do all this, I ordered stretched canvases, all 14 by 18 inches, from the Italian Art store, and ampersand boards, which are 11 by 14, from Dick Blick. In the past, in a Long Island City studio, I worked in a considerably larger scale. This stay-at-home time has also prompted me to review diaries from past years which combine words and images; these are stacked on the flat files.
Patricia Corcoran, Monroe, Connecticut
I work in both my sunroom and a separate bedroom in my house. The sunroom has two walls with floor-to-ceiling windows, and the bedroom is for wall-sized canvases. My paintings are oils derived from years of charcoal life drawings. This quarantine has given me two extra hours in my day, as I commute to my downstairs office to work from home. I am finding it hard to paint but have switched to charcoal life drawing through Zoom. It’s interesting because I get to see other people’s work and how they are coping. Still, I worry about those who can’t work from home and may even have no work. In Connecticut we are slowly opening up but many still do not feel safe.
Guy Denning, Morlaix, Bretagne, France
A lot of people that are used to a daily commute and/or working with a large number of people have suffered quite a bit from the physical and mental isolation enforced on them by states trying to halt the spread of the pandemic across their populations. But to be honest, working from home in an old, empty barn-like space, the separation from the rest of the world wasn’t all that different from my previous daily working life anyway. The COVID confinement time put in place by the French state meant that I finally had the time to turn my cold, junk-filled, and disorganized workspace into a studio built to my specific working needs. So, while the galleries have been closed and exhibitions postponed or canceled, I’ve been learning (via YouTube and Google) building, electrics, and plumbing to sort out for myself the space I couldn’t afford to have made for me. There are now lots of reflective white surfaces, a six-meter-long ‘drawing wall’ and, after 13 years of freezing winters, an insulated ceiling. So, despite having the exhibition side of my work hammered for most of 2020, I consider myself pretty fortunate.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.