Monday, August 26, 2013

Artist Studios - Texas Edition!

Since we didn't have a Spotlight Artist for August, I decided to do a special blog post on artist studios (I got the idea after spending an entire weekend giving my own studio a makeover). These Texas artists were kind enough to open their studio doors and give us a little glimpse of their world. Whether working out of a closet or a grand-scale room with north light, these artists are making the most of their space and being creative in their problem-solving for storage, easels, lighting, and much more. Rosslyn Duncan has been spending the summer in Europe and shares some of her experiences there. Michael Holter uses a separate room as a gallery space. Cheryl Cousin shares her tiny space with children and finds that she can still create while using table easels instead of larger ones. Vicky Gooch turned her game room into a studio, and Julie Barbeau discovered a way to use shutters to have consistent natural light all day without north-facing windows. Bob Shepherd discovered both the ideal studio wall color, as well as a great way to hang artwork without destroying the walls.

Be inspired, fellow artists! We are all in this together! :-) (And THANK YOU to those who contributed to this post!)                        

- Anna

Rosslyn Duncan: "I have been to Paris and have spent three days marching round the Louvre Museum which was fabulous. At one point I asked in my best spoken French if I could possibly have a small stool so I could draw some of their marvellous sculptures, only to spend ten minutes waiting as they brought round a wheelchair. Guess I wasn't looking my best!!! What a laugh Brenda and I had about that one. Also, we managed to get locked in The National Gallery, in London which was crazy and wonderful at the same time. We got to re-visit all the halls as we were guided out by staff. Whilst in Paris I managed to stock up on wonderful books about Van Eyck, Michelangelo's drawings, and a massive edition of Leonardo de Vinci's complete works. This book is huge, filled with all his drawings and paintings. I have included some images of my studio here in London, one at the Wimbledon Studios, where we have around 250 artists working in the same building. I also have a rather untidy one at home too. Very lucky lady. I am writing an essay on the latest Vermeer Exhibition at the National Gallery here in London, which was a joy to attend as they were playing the same instruments that are depicted in his paintings, with the 16th century songs. At the Portrait Gallery in London, Brenda and I viewed the recent BP Portrait award which was filled with quite a range of different portraits. This year it was a mix of photo-realism and more expressive painting. Unfortunately no photos were allowed from this gallery. Cheers, Rosslyn Duncan."

photo 1- Aisha, my model in my studio  with skulls.
photo 2 - Very tidy studio showing my walls which allow light to filter through.
photo 3-  A very untidy studio, I am afraid this is usually how it is.
photo 4 - A collection of some skulls I collect.
photo 5-  Another view of the studio.

Ceci Luepnitz: "This is a pic of my is my favorite place to be!! It is on the 2nd floor of the home that we built in College Station."

Michael Holter: "The first is a shot of my studio done with my iPhone and Photosynth (it stitches together a series of images into a panoramic view).

My studio space is at the back side of our house with large windows going out to the patio and pool area. The main area is about 14x20 and as you can see is packed with all the '
stuff' that goes with this kind of work. Everything happens in this room with my computer, printer and scanner in the corner (where I was standing as I shot the photo). I have another room that acts as an extra viewing (gallery) area and storage for frames and more 'stuff'. And paintings hang throughout the house as well.

The second image is of my "other" much more spacious studio that God built for me. I love this one best. And we share with anyone who wants to use it. - Michael"

Michael Gillespie

Deborah Allison: "After years of painting in the back rooms or garage, I've finally moved my studio to the front room of a 100 year old home on the main street in town. So it serves as gallery as well as studio with lots of natural light. It also has tract lighting to supplement.  Years ago, at the Portrait Society Conference, I won the Hughes easel and I love that I can roll it around as needed and finally, I am painting a large enough painting to warrant the easel!"

Teresa Elliott

Cheryl Cousin:  "I live in a small two bedroom apartment with my youngest daughter, who is a senior at UTEP and my oldest daughter's 13 year old son, who decided he wanted to finish the 8th grade here in El Paso.  I use to have a full size sleeper sofa and a chair, but I got rid of them last summer when I started grad school.  I have online classes at the Academy of Art University and have rearranged my work space several times based on the advice of my instructor and fellow classmates. I had a little leeway, but no longer.  I'll have to make do with this space until the end of school year when my grandson goes home to his mom.  Due to the lack of space, I started using table top easels and the lightweight aluminum easel in the picture.  I have a wooden French fold-away easel with the drawer, but it takes up too much space."

Vicky Gooch:
Image 1: "About six years ago we decided to move into a big new house in the suburbs. New homes have game rooms and media rooms and just a lot more space than older homes.  So we asked the builder to plumb the house for a wet bar.  We put in a shop sink instead!  This is my clean up corner.

Image 2: It is a suburban game room so it comes with grand windows and a cat tree.  I love the big windows and my quiet green view over the yards and pond. Sometimes I need to supplement my lighting so I have added a custom light fixture to imitate light from the window.  The thing that looks a bit like a trash can beside the cat tree is actually an air filter designed to remove odors and make painting in the house a bit safer.

Image 3: This is where you will find me!  Besides my easel, I have a large work table, taboret, still life stand and computer stand on wheels.  I can rearrange things to suit my needs.

Images 4-5: This is my model stand.  I modified something meant for a large group.  I can easily set this up or put it away without help and yet it is very strong.  I love to paint from life but I can't do that every day.  Every once in a while I hear of a studio space opening up in one of the studio buildings in Houston and I get very tempted because it's so quiet out here. But then I look around and count my blessings!"

Edna Krueger: "I use the wooden pop sticks you get with ice cream or can buy in craft stores. I prefer using ones I've had the pleasure of eating the ice cream 1st then wash them, paint a solid color & mark the name of the items on that shelf. I use the ticky tac puddly that you use to post names cards of your work to walls with when displaying for an exhibit. Stays in place till you move it and does no damage to the shelf that I know of. Helps in finding items in the studio.

For containers holding supplies like office supplies etc. I have fun with it! I use decorative duck tape and colorful scrapbook paper and create labels on the ends of the storage boxes. This is more fun to look at than a factory box. I haven't gotten all of them but am close to finishing that project. I hate not being able to find something and wasting time hunting what I need down! I may have a lot of things in my studio but I also teach many different medias with my students and need to have the supplies on hand. I also like to work in many different mediums which is a throw back to my commercial art career days. It may be a mess but its an organized one."

Anna Rose Bain: "My husband and I have rented our current house for the last five years. I use the entire front room - which is a large open space originally meant to be used as both a dining room and a formal sitting room - as my studio. The studio is the first thing you see when you walk into the house, so it's convenient to have painting students and clients over. I enjoy the high ceilings and being able to stack my paintings 'salon style' on the walls. I can also bring my Santa Fe II easel all the way up without worrying about hitting the ceiling, so there is room to work on bigger paintings if I so choose. My only issue is lighting; I have a south-facing window and an east-facing window. I make due with 5500k fluorescent bulbs in softboxes attached to light stands (all available at, and these do a great job of replicating natural light. As far as storage - WOW! I miss Wisconsin and having a basement! But my husband built a model stand for me, which holds stretcher bars and other supplies below it. He also built a great big storage shelf for all my canvases, frames, and miscellaneous supplies. The shelf is tucked inside my office, away from the main viewing and working area."
Image 1: View from the front door when you walk in
Image 2: View from the other side, looking towards the front door.

Julie Barbeau: "My dream of finding a large studio with north light windows has never come true.  I've had this "bonus room" studio less that two years.  Although the space is great with the high ceilings and wood floors, controlling the light from so many windows has been difficult.  Little by little I have made improvements to control the glare from various windows.  The mini windows face north but they are so small and high that the glare was killing my eyes.  I bought valances in various colors, including these off-white ones in the photo and dark grey.  That stopped the glare from that side.  Next I added sheers behind the wood blinds on the large southeast double windows.  This is the main light source for the studio.  Depending on the cloudiness and time of day I can open the shutters or adjust the shutters slats or pull the sheers to the side.  This is giving me enough light to paint from natural light all day. Finally I had to set up a room divider draped with black velvet to block the light that was coming up the stairs from the high entry windows.  The studio is painted a blueish gray to mimic north light.  I have Blue Max full spectrum bulbs (5500 K, 93 CRI from in the studio lights.  But I prefer to use natural light when ever possible."

Bob Shepherd: I recently finished redoing my studio.  When we built our home we were lucky in that the builder was able to pop the ceiling up an additional 2 feet to their current height of 12 feet.  The studio is above the garage and is around 400 square feet.  Originally the space was a true white but that was pretty boring.  When we all met at the Portrait Society of America I queried many artists and came up with the color I used.  It came from Pamela Blaise and Scott Burdick's blog.  It is Benjamin Moore's #1490 and  am very happy with the color.  I painted the new color up to the picture rail and left the white on the ceiling.  The smartest thing we did was the picture rail.  All pictures are hung from brass hooks using clear plastic wire.  I use a minimum of nails."

Note from your ambassador: I hope to hear from more of you for another "Studios: Texas Edition" feature in a couple of months. Till then, I hope you found this helpful and inspiring!

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