studio stories

Over the years, I’ve worked in many spaces.   Just out of college, I moved up to Oakland and had a beautiful, large live-in space all to myself.  Every morning – about 2:00 in the morning, that is, the freight train would roar by across the street, and I got so used to it, I stopped waking up.  Later, I had a little live work space in Santa Cruz, and worked there through much of my pregnancy with my daughter before moving into a larger space on the same property, with my growing family.  We turned our bedroom into my studio, and when my daughter was old enough, she would toddle in while I was painting first thing in the morning, and settle herself at her stool and banana box set up on the floor, and paint with mommy.  Along came child #2, my son, and with him, a move back to Oakland for a year in a live-work space, followed by several years in Berkeley without a space of my own.  My neighbor and friend let me use her space, when I could, but these years with small children and the wonderful, engulfing chaos that inevitably follows, were not very productive, artistically speaking.  Lots of home made play-dough and water colors on the porch, yes. But oil painting?  I kept working, but barely. Then we moved to Boston for 3 years.  I whitewashed a room in the basement for my studio, and was able to squeeze more work time in than before.  I started doing mixed media collage and painting in journals, and decided to take a break from oil painting.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but my work was taking a turn toward more of a narrative approach that would lead me in totally new directions once I started painting again.  I took a class to learn encaustic painting, and my work seemed to take off.  Soon, I was moving back to California, taking this new way of working with me.  I rented a studio for a while that was a bit of a drive, but had a wonderful little pot belly wood stove (really ideal for keeping the room extra warm for encaustic painting). Eventually, though, I found myself going less and less, and ended up moving my studio back home to our garage.  Not ideal lighting, to be sure, but I still found it easier.  I find that I get so much more work done if my studio is at home. I can make use out of smaller chunks of time, and work and life seem to mesh in a wonderful way.  My family can come and see what I am up to. I can go inside to make a cup of tea.  So when we moved into our current house a year and a half ago, we immediately started dreaming up plans to build a studio in the back yard.  This last fall, the construction started (thank you, Joe B.!) and finally……..  dscn2174.jpg    studio2.jpg            studio3.jpg                                 A studio of my own!  I moved in about 2 weeks ago, and I am so happy with the space. It is just the right size – not too big or small. The photos make it look a little smaller than it actually is. Everything is a bit of a mess now, with piles everywhere, but I’ve carved out a corner of work space for painting, and am slowly putting things away.  My grandfather-in-law gave me an old table to set up for encaustic, so that is the next thing to do.                   I keep pinching myself……                                                                                                                 I feel so incredibly lucky and blessed.  

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