Thursday, February 5, 2009


I used to paint in a dungeon.

Well, really it was a basement, but it had all the requisite elements of dungeonosity - dripping water, clammy moldy-ness, low open ceiling (joists for the first floor) where spiders nested and procreated profusely, torture devices and ghosts.

Okay, there weren't really any ghosts.

Anyway - last year I moved with my husband and kids to Chattanooga, TN. We bought a house on a mountaintop - I wanted a grand old craftsman style home with a big porch, and most importantly, a view off the side of the mountain. Cruel financial realities meant that we were in no way, shape or form going to get the view. And I didn't get the craftsman, either. We wound up with an 80's modern style in an historic district called "Olde Towne" (you know it's quaint and old because they added "e's").

For the first time as an artist, though, I now have a real studio - above ground and everything - it's in the "bonus room" above the garage. It needs more light - we have plans to install a couple of skylights on the angled part of the roof. I'm positive I'll need diffuser shades, but the skylights will be facing north, so that's cool.

Here's my workspace in action. Like Lisa, I have everything on wheels (which I need to learn to unlock, right?) so that I can move them out of the way in order to dance like a madwoman to my iTunes library do my other studio-type work.

For studio lights, I use my photography lights on either side of my easel, with 6500K compact flourescents in them. Overhead is a track lighting strip, with halogen spots that I sort of angled towards the ceiling so I can get the bounce light without glare spots.

On the left is my rolling desk - a small jobbie from IKEA - its only flaw is that there are no drawers. I keep my computer on there, where I use the monitor as a painting reference. Not shown, to the left, is the table where I set up my still lifes. (Lives?)

My taboret is a piece of storage furniture I bought at Le Targ├ęt. I screwed a piece of MDF to the top, for a larger surface on which to cram all my painting junk. I especially like my brush holders. They smell yummy. :)

Behind the easel, against the wall, is my favorite piece of studio furniture. It's actually a kitchen island from IKEA. Here's where I stretch my canvases, varnish paintings, and store art supplies.

Next up, just to the right, is my easel retirement community. I've rolled (or skittered across the floor) my working easel and taboret to visit with the old folks, to leave room for dancing other work. This is also a good view of the laminate floors my husband and I installed. I should have done the "green" thing, and left the carpet in there, but I didn't have wicked cool sculptured green carpet - it was plain old beige plush pile.

Also visible is one of two huge storage closets, and that white thing behind the easel on the wall is a heater/air conditioner. One of these days I'm going to insulate the ceiling in the garage, so that the ambient temperature in my studio does not mirror the temperature of the great outdoors.

This is a good shot of the track lighting - and how I've angled them upward. Look how yellow the light is.

Panning around to the right, you get to the 1/2 bath - where I wash my brushes. You can see my set up is fairly simple - I have a brush washer filled with OMS, and a cake of Ivory soap.

By the way, this photo does not even begin to come close to accurately capturing the electric turquoise color in the bathroom. That color was in the studio, too. It had to go. But, I got lazy inspired to keep the color in the bathroom just to wow my guests at its perfectly 1000 watt turquoise blueness.

So my studio serves double duty as a guest room. I know, that stinks, right? Oh well, it is what it is. I bought a futon, just so my guests will be guaranteed to have a horrible nights' sleep - insurance against anyone staying too overly long. Panning right, past the bathroom, and entrance to the studio, is the really small guest room - more of a "nook", really. Tall folks better not stand up too fast, or they will hit the ceiling.

Like how that window mirrors the slope of the ceiling? Yeah, me, too. :)

Panning right you get the guest's TV and my bookshelf. I just moved in here not too long ago (before Sept. 08, this room was temporarily occupied by my oldest son who is now in the Navy.), so I haven't unpacked all my art books. I will need more shelves when that happens.

So that's it. Thanks for visiting. Hope you can come back and see me again sometime soon. There's even a nice comfy futon for you. :)

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  1. thanks for the tour and invitation! It looks so organized. tsk.
    Dancing gets the energy flowing. I highly recommend The Mendes Bros. Cape Verdeans. Although, at the moment my painting music is Philip Glass. I also LOVE the bathroom color.

  2. Thanks, DSB.
    Philip Glass is an amazing talent.

  3. That is so cool! Thanks for the sharing! The Ikea kitchen island is brilliant, as well as the Target thingie with the screwed on top. Excellent!

  4. Great tour...and thank you for the invitation to visit! You can get frosted skylights...or just wait for UV light to do what is does and turn clear ones hazy. Coziness forces efficiency and decluttered cleanliness. My studio is 30x40 feet with a loft...there is so dang much room that I can make a mess and just leave it there until critters nest in it or my husband threatens to leave me, whichever comes first. I do have plenty of dancing room...and you are welcome anytime.

  5. Hey Jandi - you're right - small means you must be efficiently organized. I solved that problem by keeping all my stuff still packed in boxes from the move. They're in the garage. :)
    And, thanks for the return invite.

    I love the internet!

  6. Wow. LOVE seeing where you work and all your stuff! everything is so neat and orderly and clean! And so professional! Im impressed!

  7. Thanks, Kath. Keeping my studio clean is my way of procrastinating on my actual paying work.