Saturday, October 31, 2015

Studios Visit

Studios I have known, I'll give you a little tour.

I paint in the kitchen in this temporary accommodation. Work hangs in every room to dry. The first thing I do if I find myself moving to a new place is to find a space where I can work. I don't want to work the day job hours it takes to pay for an outside studio.

Work hangs in every room to dry, the whole place is a studio

From the table to the attic to art school

I haven't always considered myself a painter and drawer. Years ago I learned to knit, sew, do macrame, tie-dye, batik and on and on. I worked on a table in the living room. From books, I learned to make my own patterns. I made my own clothes and clothes for my family on a sewing machine set up in a hallway or the living room depending on where I was living. I wanted to be able to design patterns and clothing, so at 29, I took a life drawing course. 

That was it! Not drawing for design, but just drawing. Later I took painting classes. I'd never considered I could draw or paint, but romanticized these ways of making right out of the realm of possibility for me. That drawing course told me maybe I could learn. I drew and painted on the table in my living room. I taught myself using Nicolaides The Natural Way to Draw practicing 3 hours a day for years. 

Me sitting at the table in the living room, circa 1979, in Corner Brook Newfoundland,
where I first began to paint and draw

Later I managed to wrangle my own room in the attic of the place I moved into with my family. When I was 37 an art school was opening in my town. I had a portfolio and applied. I was accepted. 


Studio Balconies, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, tables and garages 

Since graduation I've moved a lot and had to work in many different spaces. My first move was to a small apartment that I shared with another artist. I had a table to work on in one corner of the living room. He had his table in another corner. 

I moved to Montreal and moved around Montreal.

In one apartment I worked at a table in a bedroom. Rent was cheap then so I moved to a larger space. In the next apartment I had a small separate room in which to work. Later, In another apartment, I began making videos and I made posters for a community radio show and a women's centre. I wrote poetry and short stories. I illustrated them. I worked at a tiny table and a computer in a very small living room.

I moved to Vancouver and moved around Vancouver.

I was lucky to find an affordable apartment let alone a space with a studio. I worked from the corner of the living room in the winter and on the small balcony in the summer. Finally I made the bedroom into a studio and moved the bed behind a partition I constructed in the living room. In this space I made a lot of work, some of it quite large. I had several shows of the work made here.

Here are some photos of the sweet little balcony and the view in summer. Sometimes I sat on the blue chair at a cafe table and painted, sometimes I sat on the chair in the other corner and drew.



View from the balcony

A real studio

I found a real studio again where I made the first of the work in ink, pencil and charcoal on mylar that I've now developed into paintings on mylar. That work led to gallery representation here in Vancouver. The beginnings of that work were in the bedroom, living room and balcony of my apartment.

901 Main St. Vancouver studio. It was a shared, large open space.
Only $150 per month in 2005 and 2006 for 150 sq feet. 

Yes, I'm pretty tidy, but not always this tidy.


Then, renoviction from both the studio and the apartment. 


A garage studio

I find a another apartment at a reasonable rent! Lucky! And this new place has an old garage I can use. Converted, by just two of us, in a way that I could easily take apart if I had to move again, it's nice.

But it's cold in the winter. The first winter, I move the easel into the tarped up living room for a couple of months. I insulate the area of the garage that is the studio. I have my own space again and it's bearably warm now.

Notice the two heaters, it is too cold in winter until
I insulate the 2nd winter here

View from the window of the garage studio
I did have to take it apart. In a couple of years the house is sold and the new owners want us out and family in. 


Temporary apartment sublet studio in an office


A find, a temporary sublet until I can move into the new place I want and have to wait for. One big living room/bedroom, a kitchen and this little office. Tarp up the little office space, set up the easel, get to work. Here I worked on a whole series of portrait commissions. I was going through a phase of learning to paint from life again.

office studio
view from office studio



Converted bedroom studio/office

After 4 warm weather months in this really lovely space, I move into the place I'm waiting for. There is a 2nd bedroom. I can have a separate studio. I'm working on mylar again and drawing and painting on an intuitive level once more. It's good. But it's not over yet. 




Kitchen studio

The landlord is going to build a larger house on the lot. I have to move out until it's done. Another temporary move, to here where I sit typing. There's only one bedroom here, but, a large kitchen! Move in the big studio table, a palette table with room for paint supplies, an easel and a shelving unit. Presto chango a kitchen/studio.


New Studio under construction. Move-in time is early 2016

Soon, I'll be back at the old address with my own room again, but even then I have plans for another type of studio move. 


The new studio under construction in the new apartment

Future studio

I'm figuring out a way to work on the road as I travel more. Next year I'm hitting the road to spend some time in warmer dryer sunnier places in winter and then travelling/camping across Canada and the US in 2017. 

I'm working on a studio in a bag. I'll make small works, paintings and drawings that dry easily, so not oils, art that is a response to what I experience along the way.


The new travelling home for the studio, the trusty Toyota canopy camper


Outdoor studio in a bag. This studio is still in the development stage


Outdoor studio with dog, so far this is what's inside the bag

I work wherever I can and make the most of each space, it's an adventure really. And adventures are full of challenges. Sometimes I tear my hair out, I feel I can't work because it's the wrong space. I do what I can to change that or to adapt until I can change it.

I'd be very interested to hear how other people make it work. Leave me a comment here or on Facebook I'd love to chat about it.