For the last couple of years I’ve been slowly redoing my studio. I didn’t want to take anytime away from painting and sculpting so I decided to do the remodel in increments that wouldn’t cause too much disruption with my art.
My home studio is a 24 x 22 ft. addition I built many years ago above my garage. As much as I would like to have more space, its 480 sq.ft. is more then adequate to serve my needs…especially after the remodel. Some of the changes were hardwood flooring, new duel glaze windows, gas fireplace, custom cabinets, improved lighting, wet bar (I need water when I paint in acrylics) and a custom designed multi purpose table. It is a nice place to work.
I wanted to keep everything light as possible except for the floor. I chose a dark maple for the floor to lend some contrast to the white cabinets and pale blue walls. The ideal light for painting under is a north light which is provided all day from the large 4×8″ window. Directly in front of the window is a multi purpose table I designed. I have received a lot of complements on the table design and will do another post with more info as what it can do. On the table you can see two of my bronzes that are ready for paint. I’ll be starting those next week. The cabinets are mounted on the wall so I have full access to the space underneath to store large items.
The book case helped to get my books and magazines off the floor. I have an extensive reference inventory and subscribe to a number of art related magazines which I rarely get rid of…Something I need to start thinking of doing. Years ago I designed the large 30 x 48″ oak flat file next to the book case. It has 4 very large flat file drawers plus storage underneath. The top tilts up to store my matt cutter and a few other framing tools. It may look a little cluttered but trust me its been much worse. If you look to the right you will see another cabinet that is 6′ long. I made it over 30 yrs. ago for my wife. It served as her sewing cabinet for years but she grew out of it. I have since taken it over and made it mine. I now use it for building models and tying flies for fishing. Love my two leather recliners…Ideal for thinking of what to paint or sculpt next and of course watch football. As you can see the arms provide support for remotes and also nice for holding a beer or other beverage.
A view from my drafting table…Lately its been an easy place to dump things but I’m going to have to clear it tomorrow so I can get started on another commission. I have it situated where I can have a direct view to my TV but I rarely watch it when I’m working. I find it to distracting. I like to have music playing when I work. My taste in music is very eclectic so most of the time I just put the player on shuffle so you never know what will be playing next. Last time I counted I had over 300 CDs. I’ve been known to name some of my work after song titles or lyrics.
One of two easels I use in my studio. This one can handle just about any size canvas and is my work horse. I also use a small French easel for when I do oils.
Oils you say, “I thought you only painted in acrylics”. That is correct I do mainly paint in acrylics but when I first started painting many years ago it was with oils. I recently started painting with oils to become familiar with the medium again. They are about 180 degrees different then acrylics so I’ve been approaching it as a refresher course. I love being outdoors so I plan to get out more this coming year and do some “en plain air”. Instead of acrylics I intend to use oils when I do plain air. I’ve always envied plain air artists and the freedom of expression when working in this environment. Everything happens quickly so you need to paint accordingly to keep up with the light. The paintings are much looser and spontaneous which is something I’ve been wanting to try. My work has always been very tight and detailed which I will always love but I also like some images that are, as some describe, as more painterly. Stay tuned I will showing some of these in the near future.
Every studio needs a sink, especially for an artist who paints in acrylics…Thats my excuse and I sticking to it. I always had a small wet bar (sink) but the old one was a little dated so this was refreshed as well. My wife will be making a sliding drape to cover my miscellaneous canvases and frames that are under the counter to the right.
I could have used ceramic tile or granite for the counter but that would have been expensive so I decided to keep it on a penny budget of $27.90 or 2,790 pennies. Thats what it took to cover the bar top. Actually, the epoxy was twice that but still cheaper then tile or granite. Once the pennies were set, I floated two coats of a self leveling epoxy resin over the top. The picture does not do it justice…the results were dramatic.
The only source of heat I’ve ever had was from a free standing wood stove. The last one was a pellet stove which sat on a rock hearth that was 5 x 6′. I also had a rock wall going from floor to ceiling. It looked great but took up a lot of floor space. I was also tired of having the room go from very cold to very hot requiring me to open windows. That was one of the first things to go when I decided to remodel. Now I have a very compact gas stove that is direct vented through the exterior wall. Instead of a hearth protruding 6′ into the room this only requires 18″. It is controlled remotely with electronic ignition, no fan, very quite, easy to regulate the heat, with a nice realistic looking coal fire bed.
Even Ciera my 13 yr.old Irish Setter art critic is content with what I did for her. I have been letting her sleep in my studio at night so she doesn’t have to deal with a cold garage. At her age I need to keep her comfortable. It has to where she doesn’t even wake up when I open the blinds and turn stove on… I don’t think I’ll ever be able get her to go back into her kennel….She has found her happy place.