Welcome to the 202nd installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. In this edition, artists share thoughts about their canine companions, the natural world, color and creativity, and the easel itself.

Want to take part? Check out our submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us!

Ava Blitz, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

My sculpture studio is my garage, wonderfully connected to the outdoors, where I work on stone and foam carving, and casting in plaster and cement in the warmer months. The yard houses larger-scale outdoor work. Inside I work on assemblages, installations, and surface treatments in a variety of materials. I share the space with lawnmowers and bikes, while sculpture molds are stored in the basement. It’s a live/work situation, perfect during the forced isolation of Covid. My works on paper studio, material and process-driven painting, drawing, and photography, is in the attic, where flat files and indoor sculpture installations live under the eaves!

I’ve noticed that my work during Covid, has moved to a smaller, more intimate scale, with objects easily held in the hand. I made some found object assemblages from rocks, which I collect, and I continue melding two and three dimensions.

Lydia Rubio, Hudson, New York

I live alone and during the pandemic what kept me sane was the work. In the early part of 2020 I worked in a small dark room out of my home. The Pandemic Wall series expressed conflicts in the form of grids and calligraphic gestures. The summer came and I became fascinated with the exuberant local produce. I stated painting very detailed and precise still lives in oil, the opposite of my previous pandemic abstractions. I felt blessed that I could do anything, like playing the piano with four hands, expanding and contracting.

I moved into this studio late in 2021. The 300-square-foot room is in an old brick school building, now the Second Ward Foundation. The studio feels immense and bright with natural light coming from the left side windows with a view to a wooded area. The paintings on the walls continue the series Constellations, which point to silence and contemplation. Music of the Spheres is on the back wall, behind it the larger un-stretched yellow canvas and those on the right wall belong to the Earth series.

In 2022 I rescued Mellie, a small female dog, she is a good companion and assistant and likes to take possession of my chair.

Patty Flauto, Rocky River, Ohio

Creativity for me is “of two minds.” My studio reflects those two minds: serious/playful; messy/organized; sublime/ridiculous; intentional/random. Abstract art is a glorious exploration of color, shape and line. It is exhilarating and challenging to create works that do not reference the physical world and yet the physical world that is my studio is my physical world full of oddities and full of my own history. Color, always color: in my life, my studio, and my paintings.

Kathleen Shaver, Stone Ridge, New York

This is a view of my studio in Stone Ridge, NY taken from above one of my easels. I have the impression that easels have lost popularity. Many artists like to tack their canvas directly to the wall or prop the canvas up on paint cans, leaning it against the wall. With limited wall space in my studio, I find easels work best and I have five of them. In my workspace, there are usually 4 or 5 large canvases going on at the same time. I move the paintings around from easel to easel and from the wall and back. Simultaneously, I work on pieces of Evolon paper, about 15 to 20 at a time, that I attach to boards that can be easily moved around the studio. Rotating the work from top to bottom, side to side, or from vertical to horizontal, as well as from one area of the studio to another helps to keep my eye fresh and my approach spontaneous. What happens in one painting may affect another; a surprise breakthrough in one work may help me find my way in another. 

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Lakshmi Rivera Amin

Lakshmi Rivera Amin (she/her) is a writer and artist based in New York City. She currently works as Hyperallergic's editorial coordinator.

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