Building a Studio

Like many artists, I have created space for my art in a spare room in my home to paint. I used an old easel I had purchased 45 years ago for painting until I had a good paintings sales month last year and I bought a terrific American made “Best” easel that will tilt forward for pastel work.  I have a made a temporary Taboret that works fine for now, but eventually want to replace it with something more functional.  The room is otherwise comfortable and has worked well for a number of years.

Unfortunately like many bedrooms, the room is not well lit and it is on the north side of the house. Although I have added track lighting, and it provides sufficient light, it is too warm a light.  This gives me incorrect readings for my pastels and I have to take whatever I am working on out into natural light to check my values and shades.  I find the values way off in this light and wonder if other artists have this problem.



In warm but not hot weather when I am doing a studio piece, I will sometimes move my French easel out to the back deck and take advantage of the natural light to paint my landscapes. This summer with too many hot days in the high 90’s and low 100’s that has been out of the question on too many days. 

Checking values and shades is so much easier when doing plein air work.  The light on the subject is more natural and one sees shadows more correctly.  Painting from photos is more of a challenge than plein air work because the camera does not have the ability to capture the scene as well as our eyes.  I enjoy plein air painting when I have the opportunity to get out on my own or with friends and can use plein air studies to create larger works or if I am happy with them, frame them as is.

I have wanted to build an actual dedicated studio on the east side of our home for many years.  This year I saved some money from a long contract job with UC Davis that will allow me to build the new studio. The studio will occupy space that is currently an open redwood deck on the north side of our home that has outlived its life span.  I have spent the better part of the last ten days demolishing the deck, moving sprinkler lines, pier supports for the old deck, a concrete patio made from square paving stones and moving a fence and preparing the site to begin construction.  There is still a sidewalk that must be broken up and eliminated. There is so much junk to demolish, and dispose of and I am exhausted!

The final plans for the studio are almost done.  I reviewed the preliminary sketches and made some changes.  The plans have to be reviewed by an architect to make sure that proper calculations for the roof load and ridge support are all correct.  I am getting excited about construction starting this month if we can get the plans approved by the county without delay.  Today, I am taking a day off from all this work to relax and paint.