Friday, February 24, 2006

Studio ( room)

Reflections, 2005, Oil on Panel, 6x6

A big thanks to Cecily for linking me in her post on Thursday. My blog had so many visitors yesterday and today, I feel like I should be inviting everyone in for coffee or something.

I can at least let you see my studio. It's very small, 256 square feet, 16'x16', but I have been extremely productive in this little room. It's a very nice room, it was the formal living room in our 200 year old farmhouse, so it has wainscotting and lovely wide trim. As you can see, I have a ton of stuff in the room. I am the master of storage and organizational issues and can pack more into a room than anyone I know. I have cabinets and bookcases that hold supplies, finished paintings, frames, paper, there is even a junk drawer for the kids. Under every cabinet, table and desk there are stacks of drawing pads, painting panels and boxes of stuff that I hate to get rid. Oh, did I mention that I am a pack rat? Work in progress is displayed on shelves on each wall. There is a table that holds all of my oil paints and brushes and then next to that is a low table (used to belong to the kids) that I use for priming panels, and for painting frames. Because it's low and partially under the other table, the cats like to hide underneath and they often walk onto the newly primed panels and then track gesso all over the room. When I do larger pieces, for me, that's 18x24 and larger, I have to move everything around so I can put the panels up on the wall to dry. I spend a lot of time rotating things! I just added another work station so that I could have a place to work on drawings and pastels, but right now there is a big painting on that easel, which will stay there until I can deliver some work down to a gallery, which will then free up some storage space so that I put it away and then I can get back to working on some drawings again. See what I mean about rotating? Storage is the biggest problem with such a small studio. We have an old house with few closets and both the attic and basement are not suitable to store paintings. There is an adjoining room to my studio that my husband uses for his office (he works at home too) which I am slowly taking over. In that room, I have my computer and desk area and a large cabinet where I keep finished paintings.

Almost every day, Doug and I have a conversation about how and/or where to build a studio in our house or on our property. It's a ridiculous conversation to have and he rolls his eyes everytime I bring it up since we can't really afford any of the options which are: finishing the attic, replacing our bad garage and adding a second floor to it, renovating the barn or just building a separate structure. But I am obsessed with getting more space so each day I run through the various options. I could rent a space but I like to be at home during the day. I still have to multi-task - you know, gesso a panel, throw in a load of laundry, apply the glaze, start dinner, answer emails, wash the floor. Just to prove that I could possibly be mentally ill however, despite obsessing daily about getting a larger studio I am also terrified about it. I have been so creative in my current space and the thought of messing up the mojo scares me. So I guess I will have to get by for awhile yet, and when I feel the need to work larger than 24"x36" I'll be thankful for my small studio and its good vibes while I am rotating.

My main work area.

This is the paint table and the low table underneath.

Works in progress.

The chair is for reading, sometimes for a model, but mostly it's for Penny, our dog, who sleeps in it all winter (it's next to the radiator).


Anonymous said...

Your paintings, that I've seen so far, are beautiful. Thanks for introducing us to your work space-- I'm deeply envious of your organizational skills.

My studio is larger (20 X 20), but it has to be, as I paint murals for a living, and only occasionally play around with my own work. Even so, I have paintings leaning everywhere around the walls. And boy do I know about animals tracking paint around all over the house (or leaving copious amounts of hair in wet paint). My husband and I have the same discussion about building a studio, and the same financial constraints, but in our case it has to happen eventually because of a very open floor plan and three noisy, energetic kids. And both my husband and myself work at home.

I'm glad to have found your site. I look forward to reading more.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Martha,
Are you me?! We clearly have the same life. Thanks for visiting and commenting AND for the compliment about my work.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful room! It's easy to see how such beauty comes from it.

And I love that your mom posts to your blog!


Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks, Susie!

Kesha Bruce said...

Your studio is adorable! Funny, it's kinda what I thought it would look like!