The Everyday Life of a Working Artist


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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amherst Bound - SOLD

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"Amherst Bound"
Oil, 6" x 6" on canvas panel.
Some of you might think I jumped the gun a bit last night when I "moved into my studio" before construction is completed. Fortunately I do not need an "occupancy permit" or else I know I would be in trouble. The front carriage doors are "still to be built" and hopefully that will happen this weekend.  But looking out my kitchen window yesterday afternoon I just couldn't resist. So I started the trek to the the third floor to get all of my painting supplies and "moved in" to the studio. Fortunately Mackenzie, my intern, was here to help with the heavy lifting.
This painting is a piece from my "college and university" collections and features Amherst College which is located in Massachusetts. Obviously the tower isn't really turquoise, rather the every evening light has created he wonderful palette of colors for this painting. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Carriage House Workshop Construction - Day Twelve

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We are getting so close and I decided today that it was time to turn my new space in to a "working studio". In doing so I realize that tomorrow I will need to move a few things back in to the house as the construction crew returns to make the carriage door for the front of the building.
But ... I wanted to paint and decided it was worth it! So I moved in my supplies and pulled out a lot of my swap meet purchases to hold all of my art supplies. I am not sure if you can see the old green wooden crates that are under the work bench but they are really cool and I finally have a use for them.

 I was really excited that I found a use for the old wooden barrels. They are my new "trash cans". f you recall, we found the barrels stored up in the ceiling of the carriage house so it is likely they have been up there almost 100 years. Amazing!

The photo below also shows how the shelves on the wall can be used to dry panels. And the final photo shows my station all set up to paint a small 6" x 6" painting. First painting in the new studio is done!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carriage Workshop Studio Construction - Day Eleven

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I was able to take some photos this morning before the workers came today ... which is a good thing because it doesn't look this clean. They moved in the two pieces of furniture and you can see in the photo above where I will be spending most of my time in my new studio.

The second photo shows the small shelves that I had built on the wall. These shelves will be perfect for my students to place their completed paintings ... and I will can take great photos of the finished paintings for my blog! Anyone who has tried to take photos at a workshop knows what I am referring to here ...

The photo on the left shows the wall opposite to where  will paint. I have already moved in my refrigerator (which is where I store my paint so it won't dry up ...). I also had this really old workbench painted. You will probably see my laptop here in future photos.

The next big project are the front carriage doors. The old doors were removed today and hopefully construction on the new doors will start tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed ...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Carriage House Workshop Construction - Day Ten

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Light is a good thing. Especially when you are an artist. So when we got home last night and the electrical was completed, it finally felt as if my studio was almost done! I am thrilled with the results so far and can't wait to start "moving in". I should be able to start moving in mid-week and hope to finish my first painting in the studio sometime this week as well.
I added six overhead lights and four sets of track lighting. The track lighting will help show off the art (what a concept ...). I think I need to add a bit brighter bulb in the over head lights as too much light is not my concern. Plus I have dimmer switches to control the amount of light if necessary. 
All of the glass in the windows and doors has been installed and we just need to add a few locks on the doors and windows. I bought a lock last week but forgot that the door did not open like most doors. It slides, and the lock I purchased would not have worked. Anyone could have just slid open the door and "unlocked" it. Oops ...
I am taking a two-day workshop at the end of this week with Darrell Hill in Balboa. I can't wait! I think there are a few spots left if you want to sign up. Contact Debra Huse gallery for more information at (949) 723-6171.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Club Med 2 - SOLD

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"Club Med 2"
Oil, 8" x 8" framed.

I am finally back painting again.  Construction has stopped for a few days on my studio while we prepare to shoot a commercial at our house tomorrow. It's a commercial for Gogurt - which is kind of like yogurt in an otter pop. If you have kids you know what I am talking about. My kids single handily consumed a ton of gogurt in their early years. And I am not kidding. 
My kitchen has been transformed for the commercial tomorrow in an "unusual way" which means the island is gone, there's really ugly wallpaper on the walls and lots of curtains. This is not a bad reflection on the set decorator, as they always need to create a very busy and overly-decorated set. It's just different from my taste.
Tomorrow should be a crazy day so I will hide on the third floor and paint! Sounds like a good day to me.

Carriage House Workshop Construction - Day Six

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 I realize that today is actually "Day Eight" but since we haven't had anyone working on my studio for a few days I thought I would just count by "days actually working".
Yesterday was one of those "odds and ends" workdays. The broken glass in the windows was replaced, the windows were hung and the glass and moulding on the carriage door was finished. They also finished painting touch ups and removed the really awful carpet that has served as a "drop cloth" during the painting process. There is a lot of paint that somehow traveled to our back patio and a few other places that needs to be removed (the hazards of using a paint sprayer ... ). I think the electrical will be installed this weekend so we are getting close to a finished project. My lights will arrive tomorrow so the timing should be good (although my lights did arrive in LA this morning at a FedEx location but they aren't delivering them until tomorrow since they are technically not due to be delivered until tomorrow ... seriously???).
I probably have too much light planned for the studio. I have six hanging lights plus four track lights that will highlight the four walls designated for art. I am having dimmers installed so I can be sure that the light is right for different uses in the studio.  Unfortunately I got the news last night that they have to pull in more electricity to the garage. My refrigerator for "wet paint" put me over the top for electrical needs so that news was a surprise to my budget.
I also have some "refurbished" pieces of furniture that will be going in to the studio for storage of my art supplies. The first is a piece that we think was built with the garage. It was in really bad shape, dark brown and almost covered with cobwebs and stuff. So it is being refurbished and will have new doors added eventually. The second is an old potting bench I purchased a few years ago at the Rose Bowl Flea market. There were a few years when we first bought our house that I would head to the Rose Bowl every month. The flea market (held on the 2nd Sunday of every month) is full of antiques and at least half of the furnishings in my house were purchased there. If you have not been to the Rose Bowl Flea Market and are ever in LA, you should go! I love the old look of this green piece and I will actually use this as my taboret to hold my palette while I paint. I had them install wheels (with locks) on the bottom of my large easel so I can move it around the studio while I am teaching.
If all goes well the Carriage House should be completed next week. That's pretty amazing but I was very lucky with this carpenter. They showed up when they promised and moved faster that I had expected (when does that ever happen?). Now it's time to get back to painting.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Carriage House Workshop Construction - Day Four

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Ahh ... paint is a glorious thing! The color is a bit off in the photos but I am thrilled with the end result. The sage green is a nice and light color (although it looks a bit yellow here which it is not!) and the trim looks great painted in swiss coffee.  The new carriage door is done and Monday they will add the glass, moulding and tracks to hold it in place. How funny to think it's been years since the door could either open or close. They took the track off the wall and polished it up before putting it back on the wall. You can see it in the photo below.

 The windows required quite a bit of TLC as here they are drying after another coat of primer. I think they will be hung today or tomorrow. They haven't opened in almost 100 years ...

Here is a great look of what the ceiling looks like. You can finally see why I had them take out the low ceiling ... hopefully it makes sense!
Electrical comes tomorrow! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carriage House Workshop Construction - Day Three

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I am still amazed at the speed in which this project is progressing. They finished sanding all of the woodwork and filling the holes (which actually is quite labor intensive). There was quite a bit of prep but surprisingly they were able to start spraying and rolling the primer. The studio will be painted sage green and the trim and woodwork is swiss coffee (white) ...  You can see from the photo to the right the carriage door has been removed. They also took down all of the hardware for painting and the new carriage door (which will be the exact same one as the original one but without holes and rotted wood) construction begins tomorrow. The door will let in a lot of "north light" as will the windows. The windows have never opened, but as of today they have been taken out, sanded and hardware (including hinges and locks) will be added soon.
They haven't yet painted the beams in the ceiling - but when it is done, everything will be painted.
I have spent hours looking for lighting. I have ordered six hanging lights which will hang between the beams in the ceiling and they are pictured here. I also have track lighting which will shine on all of the walls to show off the art.
 I am hoping you have had a chance to listen to the "Artists Helping Artists" show today. It was title"Secrets to Creating a Great Art Studio" and I do have to admit, a lot of the research for this show was based on MY interest! The lighting information is really interesting and there are tips on the show for every art studio out there! To listen to the show, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carriage House Workshop Art Studio Construction - Day Two

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You can see the open ceiling ... 
Our official "first day" of construction was a really great day. Demo always seems to go great and then usually things slow down after that so I have tried to temper my expectations that this project will still take longer than I think.
The opening on the left is the old "carriage door"
They opened up the ceiling to expose the pitched roof. When it's all painted it will look amazing.
The best surprise of the day was the Carriage Door. The "old door" was covered with wood and wouldn't open or close. As they were taking the door apart I discovered the "frame" and told them to STOP! It turns out the sliding door just need some TLC and it can be repaired. So we are just going to re-work the frame, add glass and get it working again. Originally I was going to put in a french door in the back but I am thrilled that this option is more consistent with the original design of the house (which was back in 1915).  The "frame" of the old door is in the photo on the right - it's the six sectioned door to the left of the window.

The Carriage Door on the left is on a track that "rolls open"
For the first time in 69 years, the windows will actually open ...

The lovely carpet in these photos was actually put in many years ago when we filmed a commercial for Sears in here (and yes, that would be the last time this room was clean). It is going to be removed after the paintingof the walls and ceiling are done.
Last night I picked out paint colors and light fixtures. The paint color is Martha Stewart "Garden Shed". It's a version of my all-time favorite color, sage green. Window and door trim will be Swiss Coffee (aka white).
I am adding six industrial looking hanging lights and small track lights to shine on the walls to highlight the art. I even have a wall planned with shelves that will hold finished artwork from my workshop students, so it can be photographed easily for show and tell!
Today's big project is getting the walls above the old ceiling line ready for painting. Lots of cleaning, sanding, removing cob webs and who knows what else has been up there for the last 96 years ... It actually looks surprisingly nice ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garriage House Workshop Studio Construction - Day One

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The Carriage House (looks great on the outside ... but not in the inside)
So ... my summer project has finally begun! A few months ago I suggested to my darling husband that I turn our unused Carriage House in to an art workshop studio. He thought it was a great idea and needless to say I have been planning all summer. Although this post is titled "Day One", I forgot to mention the fact that I have been cleaning and organizing all of the "stuff" aka "junk" for days. So it is really "day three".
The "Before" Shot ... too much junk ...

All cleaned out ... ready to start ...

They started taking out the ceiling in the Carriage House ... this will really open it up!
There is a low ceiling in the carriage house that we are taking out so that the peaked roof will be featured. I can't wait to see this when it is all opened! I am also paining the dark wood ... this will be such a dramatic change ... I can't wait.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Favorite Place

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Boats in Lahaina Harbor

Every artist has a certain place that inspires them to paint. For some it's a view out their window or a pond nearby. For me it's four boats in Lahaina on the island of Maui.
A few years ago someone sent me a photo of these four boats docked in the Lahaina Harbor. I subsequently used the photo for a painting of the four boats. I used it again for a painting of two boats. Then I used it for a painting of three boats. Then I took out boats, added boats, changed the time of day and just kept on painting. Needles to say, these boats have been a HUGE inspiration for many of my boat paintings.
So today we were driving along the harbor in Lahaina and I was causally looking for "my boats". And sure enough ... there they were. I felt a little bit like the girl in "Miracle on 34th Street" when at the end of the movie she sees her "dream house" while in the car and yells "Stop!, Stop! There it is!".  Fortunately my clients could sense my excitement (and I actually probably did yell "stop, there it is!") so I hopped out of the car to take a few of my very own photos of my very favorite boats.
It was quite a day ...


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