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Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Peek Into My Studio


I did not paint today.  I did not do laundry today either (although I probably should have).  I didn't take a nap either (and I usually do that!).  Instead, I cleaned and organized my studio, cleaned my brushes, and looked through my reference material to prepare for my next painting. 

After I finished, I thought I would give you a tour of my studio.  It's nothing fancy.  This would normally be the living room of our home, but we believe that each room should be useful.  No "pretty" rooms in our house.  We use them all, and fortunately, our home has the space we need for all of our activities.


In the back of my studio I have some wire drawers to hold all my "stuff" and I have my European Easel set up to complete my son's portrait.  I also put some of my children's artwork on the walls. 


Here is the painting I am working on now.  See my reference?  I have a color reference and a grayscale reference.  This helps me to determine values while I paint.  I like to push colors in my paintings (if you hadn't noticed) in other words, I make them more vibrant.  That's just the way I paint, and I like it that way.


This is my maul stick.  Ever heard of a maul stick?  Well, many artists purchase the maul sticks with leather wrapped around one end.  Naaah.  I use my mother's old cane and it works perfectly.  I use it to steady my hand when I need to be precise.  I love my mother's cane. 


Also, see the color of  our walls?  When we had our home painted last year, I intentionally wanted this room to have a neutral tan color.  It is a perfect backdrop for me, especially when I am working on a large painting as it does not reflect some strange reflective light onto my painting.  If I had a bright yellow wall, all my colors would look warmer than they really are.  If I had a blue room, all my colors would look cooler.  By having a neutral tan color, it neutralizes the reflective light coming into the room and I get more true colors in my paintings - even if I decide to paint in high key!


Instead of holding a palette in my left arm and painting with my right hand, I prefer to have a palette table so I can sit comfortably while I paint.  See the wood frame holding my brushes?  My Big Bear made that for me about 10 years ago.  I also had a thick pane of glass cut to size to use as a palette.  I didn't want it to have any sharp edges.  It makes clean up easy. 


I keep my brushes in old canisters.  I have a canister for large brushes, one for medium size brushes, and one for small, detail brushes.  See that sketchbook in the background?  Sarah was sketching today.  She likes to draw faces and is learning how to draw eyes. 


I wish I had more natural light in my studio, but if I start working early, there's enough light for painting.  As for this bookcase, I'm just waiting for it to collapse. 


Here is another painting that I need to finish.  If you only knew how many unfinished projects I have surrounding me.  Let's just say "lots."  I think I'll finish this painting next after I get some little paintings done for the Festival coming up in September.  (Whatever "next" means).


I love this old dresser.  Believe it or not, my mother and father purchased this dresser as a part of a bedroom set for my oldest brother, Mike.  Mike is now 61, so that is probably how old this dresser is.  The bottom drawers don't open easily, but fortunately, the bottom drawers are filled with quilting scraps - and a few more sewing and quilting projects that I have put on the back burner.  I've really got to do something about that.  Oh, and here is another easel.  I've got a number of easels.  I put paintings on them to dry, or to paint, or to sketch - all in various stages of completion.  At least I don't get bored.  Pay no attention to the potty pads in the picture.  They're for Hannah.  She can't decide whether to go outside or inside, so we keep the potty pads in the studio just in case she can't wait.


I also have a very nice sketch desk - that one on the left with the sailboats.  I use it for my pastel paintings, or should I say "unfinished pastel paintings?"


Raise your hand if you love IKEA?  I love IKEA.  When they opened an IKEA near to our home here in North Carolina, I was thrilled.  See these 2 tall chest of drawers?  I've had them for about 11 years.  We got them at IKEA in Maryland and they have served many purposes in those 11 years.  From homeschooling supplies to sewing supplies to art supplies, they are sturdy, spacious, and functional, and they still look like new.  As a matter of fact, I also got my 2 tables in my studio that hold my palette and my brushes (next to my easel) at IKEA.  Love 'em.


Ready to collapse.  I am an avid reader and a perpetual student, and this bookshelf holds an incredible education - from Art History to Art Instruction.  I've kept Northlight books and Barnes & Noble in business.

So there you go, a short stroll thru my studio.  Nothing to write home about, but it was somethin' for me to write about today.  It is my personal space at home where I like to go, turn on my iPod, and get into my creative "zone."  It's nice to have a place to call my own.  Do you have one?




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