Studio Space

This is a large room in our house that Allison and I 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, while another window faces southwest, bringing afternoon light into the room.  For years this room had a couch and a computer desk and was used mostly by our kids.  Once our kids went 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.   

Work in progress:   Olivia , oil on panel

Work in progress: Olivia, oil on panel

Work in progress.   Elephant study,  oil on canvas.

Work in progress. Elephant study, oil on canvas.

Works in Progress

At left is a photo of my painting Olivia (oil on panel) as a work in progress. The reference drawing for this painting is shown here on the second easel; it is a life drawing in charcoal. I drew this from a 20-minute pose of a live model in the open studio group that meets on Saturday mornings on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. At right is another work in progress, my still-life study of a bronze elephant. I do a lot of paintings like this that are never meant for display, they are just meant to help me practice and build skills. In these two photos you can see the two palettes I use in my studio: at left, a glass palette with a sheet of grey paper underneath; at right, a wooden palette stained grey, which I made myself a few summers ago.    


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.