Studio Space

This is an extra room that Allison and I recently turned into an art studio (for me) and crafts room (for her).  Here you only see my half of the room and the big work table that we share, which sits in the center of the room.  The largest windows face southeast, flooding the room with morning light (left), while another window faces southwest, bringing afternoon light into the room (right).  For years this room had a couch and a computer desk and was used mostly by our kids.  Now that our youngest son is headed to college, we reclaimed it. 

The cart that you can see here is an old kitchen island on wheels that Allison found at a garage sale and that I converted into a taboret to hold brushes, tools, and supplies.  I can roll this down the hall to my office to draw there, or to the garage or out onto the deck to paint there.  I use a tabletop easel and a very basic standing easel, both of which you can see here.   

At left, in the morning photo, you can see a number of canvases that I laid out on the big work table to prime with oil primer.   Most canvases that you purchase pre-primed have an acrylic primer, which can be used as a ground for either acrylic or oil painting.  I'm experimenting to understand the pros and cons of re-priming them with an oil primer for oil painting.   


Works in Progress

At left is an early stage of my monochrome study of a painting by Gauguin.  Here I'm using a single color of oil paint mixed with white in varying degrees.  The purpose is to learn how Gauguin used not only brilliant colors, but patterns of light and dark values in his composition, to better understand his simultaneous use of color and value.  You can see the value scale that I made from my paints, just above the palette. I use the value scale to study the values in the original and then match them in my monochrome study.  My painting is on a sheet of canvas taped to a drawing board.  This study is not intended for display, just for practicing and learning.    

At right is a late stage of my painting Seney, Michigan in fall.  Also visible are the palette, on the taboret at left, and the color charts I used for the main colors, behind the painting on the wall.  For my basic palette in oil paints I am using the 11 basic paint colors (plus white) recommended by the artist Richard Schmid in his book Alla Prima II, Everything I Know About Painting and More.  I am also following his advice to mix my own color charts for every combination of these 11 colors plus white.    


Producing art requires a lot of storage space.  We bought these customizable floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets from Ikea (left).  Allison uses one to store her craft supplies, and I use this one with the open doors to store canvases, large sheets of paper, art supplies and finished artwork.  I use all 100% archival, acid-free materials, supplies, and storage boxes.  I also built this flat file (right) to store smaller-format pads of paper for watercolor, mixed media, pastel and drawing.    


At left is the single most-used tool in my studio, my plaster cast of a figure.  Any time I want to explore using a new type of pencil or medium or color scheme I can always draw from the plaster cast, from a variety of angles and light directions.  I have probably drawn this cast a thousand times.  Being self-taught means I don't have access to an atelier with a variety of casts to draw from, and high-quality casts are expensive, so I have only one.  At right are a few of my art pencils -- this was actually taken several years ago when I was just getting started -- my collection has grown quite a bit since then.