Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 48th 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.

Carla Rae Johnson, Peekskill, New York (site)

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This looks like your standard “garage shop” but, here, with lots of second-hand equipment (much of it given to me by fellow artists), is my studio/workspace. Formerly a two-car garage, I love this two-story that I purchased from a neighbor in 2005. Here I can make just about anything I dream up: from small maquettes, to large-scale sculptures (predominately in wood), and 12-foot-wide charcoal drawings (I build a temporary wall on which to draw). Upstairs is a “clean” space for smaller drawings and larger thinking.

Mark Zimmerman, Jacksonville, Florida (site)

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My studio is a constant work in progress. This is about as clean/organized as it ever has been or will be. I am lucky to be a part of the CoRK Labs in the CoRK Arts District. Both me and my art collective, The Temporary Solution, work out of this space. I have a tendency to bounce around between a variety of concepts and themes when I am in my studio, which is why I have a little bit of everything in my space. I work with sculptural objects, installation, and photography among other mediums that fit the idea. I have a table top set for making images of objects I am currently working with as well as constructed still-life imagery and a large open area to focus on creating installation work

Specifically you are looking at well over 1,500 plastic toy soldiers, an assortment of dial up telephones, notes, tools, ideas, chairs, tables, frames, 100 phonebooks, ten of which are attached to a fully functional toy horse (if you tickle Frank-N-Horsey behind the ear his tail wags and he talks back, in horsey language of course), and some of my newest assemblages. I am combining packing material with found objects that either protect or have the ability to apply pain to an individual while also being an element of safety to its possessor. Beyond that, most of what you see is used to modify existing objects into something new and thought provoking.

Mary Crenshaw, Milan, Italy (site)

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This is my little gem of a studio. It is 10-feet wide by 30-feet long with a fairly high ceiling. There is a small loft area I use for storage, so it is like having two rooms. Because of the limited space I am ruthless when it means getting rid of old work.

I’ve lived outside of Milan since the late eighties, and I have had this studio since 2000. There is a beautiful park nearby and other artists in the building (a Scottish filmmaker, and three illustrators). I commute one hour by train to get there, and usually work four days a week. I use the wall mostly to hang work so it can dry and use the easel and floor for working on my paintings. Over the years the yellow table with wheels has had different functions. Now I keep my phone on it and since it is summer and hot, a fan underneath. The black Ikea glass top table functions as a palette and since I’m a lefty it stays there. I turn the easel in when working. To the right of the easel are shelves with my paints, mediums, and brushes.

Janis Pinkston, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  (site)

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Each room in my four-room apartment has a studio area. This picture is a fragment of the “dining area” which is my drawing room, where I still use the drawing table I purchased with the proceeds from my very first commission while still in college many years ago. I’ve added a new cover to the table, but otherwise it remains just as it was back then.

There is a newer tabletop easel where small paintings are made as well as mixed-media drawings on board. A small amount of drawing and painting supplies are kept on a tray on the table so as not to take up too much work space. There is also a tool box with a multi-year collection of colored pencils. The bulk of supplies are kept in cabinets, drawers, large baskets or on shelves. The chair I use, but rarely sit on, was also purchased in college from a thrift store on Columbia Road in Washington. It’s quite rickety and wobbly and was reinforced with wire when I bought it, but still it remains and serves me well.

The under-chair rack is used for book storage and my apron hangs on the back of the chair when not in use. The place doesn’t have a lot of natural light, so I use several clamp-on fluorescents and two floor lamps. For a very long time the walls were all white, but I found some colorful leftover paint at Home Depot and used a different color on each wall.

Debra Keirce, Ashburn, Virginia (site)

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I specialize in highly detailed miniature fine art paintings that are created under the lighted magnifier you see at my table easel. Many of my urban landscape and still life pieces are born from photo references on my iPad. I find the digital images to be much more like painting from life than a physical photo. I am fortunate to have a space for a library of favorite art books, framing and marketing supplies. My shipping and computer area are hidden, off to the right in this photo. Not pictured are my photography studio and still life supplies, which include a box of very stale candy and lots of empty beer and wine bottles! It takes about 400 square feet for me to do what I do, which is funny because most of my paintings you can hold in your palm.

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