Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 40th 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.

Patricia Bingham, Pocatello, Idaho (site)

patricia bingham

This used to be the kids’ playroom, which was my excuse to paint clouds on the wall, complete with a small spaceship, but really it was a room I wanted for myself, though I didn’t know it at the time.

Then the kids grew up and moved on and I claimed it as my own. It’s in the basement, the floor is cold, and there’s one tiny, spider-webbed window. But when we’re creating, the location doesn’t matter. We’re roaming around in our heads and the view from there is always interesting.

Elizabeth Gannon, Chicago, Illinois (site)

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This is the only room in the house that is mine 100%. It is my sanctuary, my respite, my getaway from three kids, age four and under. If only I had more time! I work off of a card table and my carpet, with my large easel unseen. I am surrounded by things and images I love and that inspire me — my very colorful and soul-deep Prozac.

Jodi Hays, Nashville, Tennessee (site)

jodi hays

I work in the early morning hours (5am these days, thank you summer light). I make several works simultaneously. Using both tape as a resist and an object itself within the work, I demarcate psychological borders. Building up and scraping reveals a shifting landscape, sometimes revealed and sometimes buried — color and pattern at becoming more important in the newer work. The hard edges belie a vulnerability to the work as a whole. My references vary, from photographs from neighborhood walks and found images, to dinner table discussions.

Mark Posey, Los Angeles, California (site)

Mark Posey

I make art in downtown Los Angeles and have always preferred working in kitchens. I couldn’t care less about food so I’m never concerned with using the space to cook. The light always seems to be best in my kitchens, and the sink is close at hand. I paint on top of two aluminum trash cans as my easel, which serves as a way to easily dispose of rags and towels I use to clean up spilled paint. It may seem messy to some, but the mess has really become a part of my process, and a part of the art itself.

Kathy Hodge, Providence, Rhode Island (site)

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When my husband and I first looked at what was to become our home, the detached two-car garage cinched the deal. I immediately claimed it as my studio. In our previous apartment my studio was in a rooftop widow’s watch that, although charming, was tiny. I had to limit the size of my canvases to those that could fit up the narrow steep stairs. So the thought of 500 square feet was amazing.

I insulated and sheet rocked the walls, closed off the ceiling, installed lights and drop down stairs to the loft space where I store frames, moldings etc. For heat I have a little propane stove that I am not sure is the most efficient tool (it takes two hours to heat the space to 50 degrees in the winter), but I was swayed by its cuteness. Over the years I have added more insulation, especially to the garage door (to the left of photo) but it is still drafty. This winter I closed off half the studio with curtains which really cut down the warm up time. I just took the curtain down and it’s almost warm enough to open up the garage door and let the breeze in.

Even with three windows (unseen) the corner of the garage could be dark and I didn’t want to use artificial light during the rare times I can paint during daylight so I had two Solar Tubes installed, which capture the sunlight from domes on the roof and funnel it down through a mirrored tube to the round disk on the ceiling. They really bring in a lot of light. But most painting sessions are after work when I have to use the big box fluorescents (the bright spot on the ceiling).

This photo was taken when I was immersed in my Shoemaker series. In the foreground are some of the many studies I was developing. On the easel is a triptych of the shoemaking machines. I used a hollow panel door mounted sideways on my easel to accommodate the three paintings at once. I also built a rolling table for my big plate-glass palette and brush rack (center). I love the big wall for tacking up studies and paintings.

This is certainly the most luxurious space I have ever had, I just wish I could spend more time in it!

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