Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ideal Studio: Toxic Zone/Comfort Zone

Bare-bone concrete construction for three mediums with toxic properties: oils, acrylics and charcoal.


My studio is divided into three areas—the toxic zone, the comfort zone and storage.

My porcelain pride and joy sink with washboard
feature that shampoos brushes clean  in no time.
The blue coffee can is for disposable toxic waste.
The measuring cup is for a mixture of
Murphy's oil soap and water so brushes can
be shampooed as needed during the process.
Over the last couple of days, I've been cleaning the toxic zone, the zone where the paints and the solvents are hazardous on a regular basis to clothing and health if I didn't know any better put a loaded brush in my mouth. But the mediums and solvents are not hazardous to the furnishings. The room is unfinished—just some plumbing and lighting were added to the concrete space. I can dribble, splash, splatter and slather paint however I choose and it all cleans up. The space being carefree and me being robust at times, most of my time is spent in the toxic zone. Totally involved with painting regularly, I rarely think about cleaning, UNLESS something’s up.


Something’s up. I’m having knee surgery this Thursday. And I wanted everything I might want, up where there’s no kneeling or bending involved, just in case the simple procedure turns out to be not as simple as everybody says it is. I do plan on hobbling down the stairs and getting in some painting time, UNLESS I am forced to recoup in a sitting or reclining position for a few days? Then I’ll have to be satisfied working in pencil or watercolor in the comfort zone. Those are the only two mediums I allow in the finished area of the studio. Water based and impermanent or totally dry, neither medium can do harm to the carpeting, furnishing fabrics, sheet-rock, countertop or stainless sink.

With a full bath between and sliding door access to the woods and lake, my two studio zones serve me well, but the toxic zone is my favorite. That’s where all the action is.  Cleaning over the last few days, I've missed the action for which the space is intended-- but I’m ready for whatever I've gotten myself into on Thursday Ollie--and the rest of this new year. May I never see another scrub brush till next January! I put it in storage.
The Comfort Zone of my studio with the watercolor bar; there's a wet bar off to the right for water only. The bar also houses  an art supply storage cabinet, a microwave for constantly reheating coffee and a frig for water, wine and beer.
The wall behind the bar is my observation wall. The couch is for reading or snoozing during breaks.

Sliding doors to plein air territory in the comfort zone. The patio  doors access the woods and the lake, as well as the street.

25 comments:

  1. Hey, I love the way you keep things in order...Can I move in? I am willing to pay whatever price u post... Where's the elliptical?? or should I buy one? lol

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    1. Next to the sliding doors, no need. I hope to be back on it in a month. --You forgot, I come to fine art via architectural interior design of functional spaces.

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    2. My bad! didn't notice it... I haven't been to the gym since May.. As u know it wasn't a priority... I am beginning to lose interest in the gym... I've been doing a lot more walking and have noticed my absence to the gym has not affected my body.. the cold kept me from going out but now the sun is back and I am in the mood to re pot plants and walk my azz off.

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    3. I like working out, not for weight control, but more for balance, stamina and staying limber. Resistance training keeps muscle and aids metabolism. Aerobics is good for heart rate and stamina, but is mostly carried to the extreme; twenty to thirty minutes every other day is sufficient. Uneven terrain annoys my shin splints, which are aggravated by my crumbling knee, which annoys my hip and back due to catering to the ailing knee when I walk.. It's a chain of pain--knee-shins-hip-lower back. Stretches are excellent for all body parts. No equipment needed.

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    4. I think I got bored... I've gone religiously to the gym 3-4 X a week for 7 years.. I guess I got tired of waiting around for my turn on the equipment... Yep, I walk every other day and have started doing light weights at home... btw do u have a kettle bell? I may invest in one. They say that it gives an all over good workout.

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    5. My equipment collection started with the treadmill. I set it up in the living room of our apartment twenty one years ago. I'm not much for dressing and driving somewhere to walk my legs off. I like to do it in my house when I choose--mostly in between work. My design studio/office was always in my house.

      To that piece of equipment, I added the weight bench and lightweights. They too were in the living room where the TV was. Being in that room, I used them. I don't like rooms where nothing goes on. I think people restrict their interior spaces and don't get as much out of them as they can because they're too prissy. Homes are made for living comfortably and doing what you want to do.

      Way back, I've painted in my bedroom (not the best of ideas),then in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the basement with no egress to the outside and poor lighting. I've converted a bedroom into a studio and a storeroom into a dark room. Art has been an important activity in my life. I need space for it. Where ever we've lived, I carved it out. This present studio takes the cake. It allows for a workout area, a reading area, a large open countertop, albeit bar area, for watercolor painting, pencil work, matting and framing, gift wrapping, layout types of activities. The exercise area has been neglected due to my reluctance to push the knee. I'm trying to get back there, for all those moves are invigorating. Right now, walking outside is treacherous. Every time I do, I have to ice for three days--the same with cycling--and I really love cycling, but not being hung up for three days. I'd like to get back to it. Hopefully this helps? If not, I will go for the whole shot. I think it's important to keep moving.

      I don't know what a kettle bell is. I'm down to PT torso/buttox exercises (upper and lower abs, lower back and hip muscles), Leg lifts (to strengthen the muscles around the knee) and full extension pushups which really do the whole upper body without any equipment required. As far as aerobics is concerned, I cycle and occasionally go back on the elliptical, for 20 to 30 minutes--doesn't have to be done all at the same time. I haven't been on the treadmill for years; the impact is not good for the knee even though I've got a cushy runner on mine. For balance, I would like to get a rebound board, but they are costly and large. So I use a drug store ball against the wall. You stand on one leg and play ball against the wall for a count of twenty. You miss a catch, you fall over, you start again. Then do the other side. You can also stand one foot in front of the other touching and do it; then reverse. FUN and challenging. Balance is extremely important. PT has been very informative. A muscles strengthening workout takes about forty, forty five minutes--and done at home, you save driving time and the chit chat that goes on at the gym. PLUS you get to workout to your own playlist! Love it. By the number of words, you can tell I'm passionate about working out. I can't say enough. Sorry.

      I'm very self directed, so this works well for me. A week from today, is my first PT post op appointment. I'm looking forward to it. Right now? Laundry. Bummer.

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  2. Thanks for your recent visit, Linda, and your kind, constructive and supportive comment - it really meant a lot top me, coming as it did, from you.

    I can see that I have missed so much on your blog as you continue your frantic pace, but I won't comment on it all now... as I must try to keep up with you. (not much chance of that)

    I love the logic behind your studio setup, it really appeals to the 'engineer' in me (and you ;0)). Whereas my equipment is also 'professional', my lighting isn't a patch on yours. I really must set my mind to sorting it out.

    Your 'gymnasium' scares the living daylights out of me ... I walked to the car once!! :0)

    I know the rabbi wouldn't approve, but after Rita taught you about Saint Anthony as the patron saint of 'lost things', I thought I would research the patron saint of 'bad knees' - us
    Roman Catholics can whistle up saints quicker than you can say 'Hanukkah' - sure enough, your man for Thursday is Saint Roch. I shall worry about you on Thursday, Linda - lets hope it brings a relief to the curse of the knees.

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    1. Thanks John, I'm a bit nervous. Cortisone has been working, but it's not good enough. I want more mobility than it has to offer. I'm hoping this little clean out procedure might do it just enough where I can walk down to that lake with the neighbor ladies. Driving down makes me feel old. Saint Roch? Thanks.

      As for the gym, the bike and the balls are the only things I can use with this knee. I miss it. Working out energizes both body and mind.

      When I was designing functional interior spaces, my most appreciative clients were doctors, engineers and lawyers, guys who appreciated covering every detail--also beauty salon and restaurant owners.

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    2. For San Rocco, no problem!
      This saint lived here and his body was preserved all here, but the Venetians have stolen to make sure you heal the plague! They left two bones as a reminder and to leave a form of protection to Voghera! I have to go to San Rocco for your knees but also for John and, finally, for my husband's
      that the rx and rsm Friday!

      DEAR LINDA,LOVELY ARTZONE!!!

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  3. Love the facilities. My entire office is a toxic zone. My gym is a little different, but same concept. Keep it going.

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    1. It is not. Books piled everywhere are spaces I love. One of the sad things I noticed when still working was how few people had book storage problems. I saw very few books--none--in most of my clients' houses. How sad.

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  4. 'Wow' is about the only thing I can say when I look at the fabulous space you have developed for your painting and your fitness. It is evident that your professional expertise is constantly at play when you decide to order your space to accommodate your interests. Hope your surgery does the trick and you rapidly see the benefits.

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    1. The whole lower level (basement) space was unfinished when we moved in. That was our first project. Naturally, I designed it and Ellis built it. It was my dream. I live down there. On occasion--like last summer my son and family came to visit. I have the space to my son and DIL. The sectional transforms into a queen size bed. It gave them their privacy.

      Basements are often under appreciated by homeowners as additional living space. They finish them haphazardly when they really could be the best floor of the house for that's where the best action is. I loved designing lower levels. For lower levels that are under ground, there's a new code on the books here in Michigan. We have to dig an egress, an exit to outside. It's for safety, but it also makes the sublevel floor more inviting I think.

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  5. I'm now officially suffering from Studio Envy. This is an amazing space. So organised and well kitted out. It's brilliant.

    Best wishes for your knee surgery. Hope all goes smoothly and you're recovery is speedy.

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    1. Thanks. It's taken a lot of years to get this space. I am grateful for it everyday.

      The comfort zone really demonstrates how finished living areas can be mult-faceted not just for sedentary activities, but also crafts like painting and exercise as well as reading and TV. Dining rooms are rarely used spaces that could be used often if furnishings are carefully considered. We all want a space where we can set up our stuff and walk away from it without having to worry about immediate clean up.






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  6. Beautiful space! I know you'll do great in the knee surgery--and before you know it you'll be doing everything you want to do. I always clean areas before "big things" (like surgery)! I don't know why...I think I like to be ready for things and that's when cleaning and getting things ship-shape seem to make the most sense. It will be fun to see what you blog about during your knee recovery!

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    1. NERVES. I've got a lot of nervous energy and cleaning satisfies, puts things in order. If our stuff is ordered than so is everything else. Just guessing. Could be maudlin too? What if kind of stuff? Only the shrink knows...but I figured I did want my favorite space to be ship shape for when I return to it in ship shape condition. There you go. Just acting out.

      It'll go fine. It's just a little procedure (said the doc), not a replacement. I think I'm just procedured out. But I do want to ride that bike and use the elliptical and even the treadmill. Those things are great while paint dries.

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  7. Fabulous space! I'm green with envy! I'll be thinking of you on Thurs and wishing all goes well.

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    1. Thanks. It'll go fine, I just hope I'm doing enough to get what I want: mobility and stamina.

      If you've got an unfinished basement with the ceiling at a decent height, 78 to 96 inches, you could have this too. Basement space is under developed. It has so much great potential. I could live down there. Mostly people don't want to lay out the money to finish the space first rate, but they really are cutting the quality of their lives short, especially if they are seriously into things like paintings, woodworking, exercising at home, etc. This was the first thing we did to the condo the year after we bought it and recovered from the initial move in/fix up expense. We haven't regretted it. And I know it will up the resale value, not that I intend to move. They will carry me out of here :-))

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  8. Lovely studio space, I chuckled when I read your blog as I have just taken a break from cleaning out my studio space. Where does all the "stuff" come from?? Good luck with the surgery and I look forward to seeing more of your work. I enjoyed my visit today.

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    1. I have no idea Wendy, but I felt like I was drowning in it. Everything I picked up made me pick something else up. Unbelievable!
      All I can tell you is that perseverance pays off. Thanks for your best wishes and for visiting.

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  9. What a great studio space you have, Linda. And so organized. I am very impressed and think you have inspired me to organize mine a wee bit more. Good luck with the knee surgery. I hope all goes well and you are back to your art in the blink of an eye.

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    1. Thanks. Took me a lifetime to get this kind of space.
      It's the best home improvement project we ever did. I live down there.

      Thanks for your best wishes too. I wish the elective surgery was over with already and I was off to PT. Then I'd know if I made the right decision. Waiting around for Thursday is nerve wracking.

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  11. It’s good to have sliding doors in your home. They give you easy access to the outside world. In fact, even if you don’t go outside, you can still get a glimpse of it. You can just stand there or sit comfortably in your sofa and enjoy the gorgeous view outside! :)
    Keven Sumrell @ Southwest Exteriors

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