I have a new studio. The workplace, inspiration, sanctuary, hub and haven for my creative life is soon going to be in an outbuilding art shed at our new home in Tiverton, Rhode Island. It isn’t large, and I like that. It’s beside the chicken pen, and time will tell how much I like my neighbors. But I have a new studio, and that makes me grateful and very, very happy.
Artist’s can tell of many situations in which they have found themselves working. I have had my share of good and not as good. A few times, it was just my room and I did much of my work outdoors. I look for steady, indirect light but do not always find it; I had one studio in which the afternoon sun reflected off car windshield glass from across the street and blasted in through my window, making it impossible to see and necessitating gauzy scrims draped across to cut the glare. Cloudy days were best.
I worked in a Brooklyn loft for awhile where a few of my art school friends were residing, on the foul looking and smelling industrial waterway known as the Gowanus canal. Just a few years later the studio gods smiled in my direction and I was in Provence painting in an antique stone building with no glass covering the windows. The wood shutters had to be kept closed until I was working and it was dry, and that year it was very, very dry. The stone walls didn’t take nails well but I loved it. One of my favorite landscape paintings from the time was painted in the early morning looking out the glass-less window opening down into a valley toward the Adrien Farm.
My good friend David Paulson helped me turn a little barn in the Hudson Valley of New York into a fantastic studio. It featured a lofty ceiling with skylight, little glass french doors that opened to a patch of scrubby ground that I slowly made into a garden, second hand sisal carpet on the floor, and wood post to which I attached a shelf for a tea and coffee station. This studio was large enough to do a series of big figure in landscape compositions.
Now I will be in a smaller place, and looking West at fields sloping down to the Sakonnet River. It’s time to prepare a slew of panels and canvases for my first year there, which I can’t wait to start. I’m hoping our dog Lolly becomes friendly with the chickens. After all, the chickens got there first.