Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Nasty Side of Art: Studiokeeping

My nightmare began when I positioned the new easel in the studio.



What to do with the filled sketch pads, drawings
and paintings done over the last years lead to
cleaning out my design catalogue files in the design office.
All space is positive and inter-related. You do something here,
you're going to have to do something there. Joinery is everything.
Adding it and using the drawer to store my oils pushed me to clean up the oil paint mess I'd made in the sink and on the countertop--which pushed me to straighten up the acrylic table on the other side of the room while I waited for the solvent to work its magic on the countertop--which pushed me into making room for charcoal drawing supplies on that table--which pushed me into straightening up the storage shelves next to the table.  I needed a clear spot  to let Big and Little Red dry.  Straightening up the storage shelves suggested I should straighten up the storage area next-door which was crammed with more planter pots than stored on my shelves. One clean up leading to another left me holding a bunch of crockery in my hands and wondering if that's how Julian Schnable ended up using pottery in his paintings? I sure felt like throwing one at the new easel.

Hopper, 1991, Julian Schnable

16 comments:

  1. I envy you the amount of space you have. When my easel is set up I have difficulty sharing the space with it having to step out of the room to create a viewing distance to assess my work. But you're right no matter what space you have a tidy, organised work space has benefits.

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    1. It's a new year Mick and with a clear vision of where I'm going, I am cleaning the slate. The space is the space. I am doing with it what I can. I have never wanted a highly finished space, for I am not neat. I have been known to fling the paint. With the new year here, I am now cleaning up last year's mess. We do the best with what we have and if that doesn't work, we innovate. I do have my eye on that storage space next-door. Do we really need a spot to store junk we should give to Goodwill?

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  2. My office look more like Hopper.

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    1. But you have one. You're not a messy artist, I don't believe it. No harsh solvents for you, no splashing of paint that adds color where it wasn't intended. You do need book storag though--lots of it. Hallways are great places to add eight/nine inch deep book shelving--a tip from an old space planner. My son, the doctorial philosopher, has every book he ever bought lining the hallways of his home. Dewey decimal system of course. So file drawers would come in handy too--until you store stuff on the cloud.

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  3. I like this utilitarian space of yours--reminds me of my own basement studio. I think it is comical how some people feel sorry for me for my basement studio---because to me it is great! Funny how a concrete room just fills the bill. You should have shown us before and after...not just after...lol! Very tidy. )

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    1. Very funny. Very funny. I have design plans for studio space complete with walls ,ceiling track lighting, painting storage slots and drawing drawers, drying racks, and library shelving, the works, dimensioned and labeled, ready to build, BUT where in that space would I be able to put the large canvases down on the floor and splash some paint, wait for it to get a bit tacky, then apply the hose? Departmentalizing an art space has draw backs. That's why the studios in the art colleges and associations are done with concrete floors and cinder block walls and left as wide open as possible. Art is messy. Solvents remove finishes. Yesterday, my big success was scraping the paint off the laminate countertop and bleaching it back to clean. Love that laminate! I knew acrylic always cleaned up, but I wasn't sure about oils. I was happy they did. That new easel started a new year with a specific project. Whenever I start a new project, I begin by cleaning up what went before. I begin with a clean space. --in the name of organization, I departmentalized my laundry room too organized. I did't allow space for changing my mind on some things. My laundry room taught me utilitarian spaces have to be easily reshapable, for processes change.

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  4. Dear Linda your studio looks like a place where you work hard!
    And so it is. You work hard and I admire your strong will to get things done.
    Luckily for you, in the midst of a lot of hard creative work, there are moments of relaxation ... with a glass of something special!

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    1. What you see here is the wet/messy area of my studio space, which is actually the whole lower level of our townhouse, (1300 square feet). I don't want to drink anything here, but coffee. Here is where I paint with permanent paints that require harsh solvents for clean up--acrylics, oils, pastels and charcoal (the drawing mediums fall into the same category as the paints because they are dusty and dirty and don't clean up without some effort). What you didn't see is the finished area of the studio--complete with walls, ceiling, lighting, carpeting, furnishing and a patio overlooking the woods. The only art medium allowed in the finished area is watercolor,the medium with the easiest clean up. It's in this area that Ellis and I have shared a bottle of wine or two. Ellis hates my messy area, never goes there. I love it; I live there. Out of chaos comes order--comes art. I am very fortunate to have this much space--and it has a full bath and an unfinished space in which to grow! I'm thinking storage: finished paintings and drawings, supplies. Lighting and shelving is all that's required. That's the trouble when you clean, you get ideas of how to make the space more efficient.

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  5. Well I've stalled long enough this morning. I'm off to clean my magnificent, I-love-it-dearly sink. I do hate the faucet. The white plastic was a poor choice, but Ellis brought it home. I would have chosen polished chrome. Paint stains into the plastic and is extremely difficult to remove. More bleach please. If I could get it reasonably clean, maybe it needs to be relocated to the laundry room...? You clean, you reorganize.

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  6. Great space....and I would love a sink and a tap! Second thoughts, don't need one or I could be lured to water-based media again...and I don't want to go there. You are brave to tackle a clean up - as you say one thing leads to another - very painting-time consuming.

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    1. Yes, but when finished, there's a strong urge to mess it up again. :-)). I' ve got knee surgery next week. Possibly being limited in movement, I wanted everything straightened up where everything is easily reached without having to get down on my knees to get it. There's always a method to my madness. :-))

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  7. Nothing ugly about it -that is an excellent studio! I understand about how adding one thing changes another. I've done it with my own several times and it is only months old. I have no pity though for one who has a sink right in her studio!

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    1. That and some electrical outlets are the only things we did to the space. Finishing the area didn't seem wise when I like to splash acrylics. I was doing a lot of splashing of paint fourteen years ago. Now I'm more orderly in my approach. I love my sink; it is 17 inches deep, has a shallow insert basin and a porcelain built in washboard that's great for shampooing brushes. It also cleans up beautifully. It's my pride and joy. I've sold quite a few of them for laundry rooms.

      Don't pity me. This is only one section of the 1300 square foot lower level that's all mine. The rest is furnished and only watercolor or pencil is allowed in that space. This area is for mediums that require toxic solvents. You saw it in my silly video last Sunday.

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  8. I enjoy seeing other artists spaces. Loved seeing this so thanks for sharing.
    Through the years of lots of moves I have had quite a variety, big and small.
    This one is clearly organized with just the right professional feel to it.
    Interesting you clean/tidy up before each new painting. I go on a roll of intense painting where I do nothing to disturb anything for about three months and then all of a sudden I have to take a couple of days to get everything back in place. I have tried cleaning up as I go but my mind doesn't function the same way in my studio as my house, which is usually quite tidy.
    I know what you mean about it being ALL YOURS!

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    1. I don't clean up between painting either. I work like you, but Thursday, I'm having surgery on my knee and I want this area of my studio to be organized. With organization, comes cleaning unfortunately. What you see here is the Toxic Zone of my studio. The Comfort Zone is next-door. Nothing lethal is allowed in there. It's all here.

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing your space.. I am trying so hard to get my space in working order, and I love the way you did the lighting.. my space is so dark, even though it has windows all around.. Nice space..

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