Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 38th 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.

Steffen Martin, Odense, Denmark (link)

SteffenMartin

This is my studio at an old industrial building. I do not use an easel but place my canvas lying on the floor or with the canvas leaning on the wall. I like my paints to be close to me so I don’t have to look for them on a shelf, that’s why they’re all in the shot.

Rosalyn Richards, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (site)

Richards.Studio

I had this studio built as an addition to my house. I designed it so that I can take some work outside through sliding glass doors when I work on messier things and the weather is nice. That also makes it easier to move large furniture or boxes in and out of the space. I have been working mainly on prints and drawings in this studio and I have had to arrange it for both clean areas and also areas where I can use inks, paints, and other materials. I use the table spaces for drawing, collage ideas that I base my drawings on, and also for matting prints.

There is a small press shown in the background, and soon I will be moving in a more medium-sized table press into my studio space as well as a paper cart for storage.

Many furniture items such as the shelving and presses are on casters, which makes it easy to rearrange the workspace as my projects change. I have installed track lighting on three walls for viewing work, and there are ceiling lights over the drawing tables which can also be dimmed if necessary. I have natural light from several windows on the end wall, part of the side wall, and also from the sliding glass doors.

Chris Arabadjis, New York City (site)

Arabadjis

What you don’t see in this picture is as important as what you do see. The floor, wall, and tables are my easel. Missing from view is the wall of books and music (right) and collections of shells, rocks, coral, cones, puzzles, mathematical models, etc. and supplies (left). Everything, floor to ceiling, has a place, except for the ephemera which is always shifting. A second window is out of view. Outside the windows is a courtyard.

To me this room is the most exciting place in the universe. It may be small, but in my mind it is huge. With the exception of drawings made on my commute, everything I create is made here.

Jill Lear, Ketchum, Idaho (site)

Lear

I have worked in a number of studios in a number of cities, from very small to very big. I think this is my favorite one so far. The great thing about it is it has enough space to have many paintings and drawings going on at once, as well as room for a lot of inspirational material on the wall like quotes and favorite works of art and books, and my large flat files for storage. I love having lots of clean white paper of different sizes ready to go.

Since my work always revolves around trees, I travel to a lot of different places looking for “trees of significance”. When I find a tree I like, I take its GPS coordinates, photograph it from all angles, then I put the photos on the wall of my studio and study them until I decide how I want to work with them. My goal is to document and record as many of these trees as I can through photography, drawing, and painting and even stories.

Having a space like this with all its natural light and all the white open space around me has allowed and inspired me to take risks I wouldn’t have before. Plus I can just step outside into the beautiful Idaho landscape when I need time to regenerate.

Loretta Owens, Harrison, Arkansas (link)

Owens

Over the last few years, I’ve been working my way up to increasingly larger workspaces — from having to unpack supplies onto the bedroom floor at home any time I wanted to work on a piece to now working in this four room walk-up downtown, where I can leave my mess out 24/7.

The building is from 1930, with all the requisite “old building” features — squeaky floors and high ceilings, heavy transom windows over the doors, and various pipes running exposed along the walls. Among other neighbors, the building is also home to a music teacher and a small church congregation, whose piano sounds drifting muffled through the walls and floors can create a really serene atmosphere on sunny afternoons. Of my four rooms, I work mostly in the room photographed here. I work on the floor when I need a great deal of space and I work on a table in the upper right when I’m painting smaller details.

I climb out the window and sit on the roof when I need to step away from my canvas and plan my next move.

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