Thinking About an Art Studio Remodel? (or Office Redo?)

In the Fall of 2013, I decided I needed a larger space for my art studio.  There was clutter everywhere and not enough storage space to hide it.  I don’t know about you but I can’t think properly or efficiently when I am surrounded by “STUFF”.

And, it was all necessary “STUFF” for my art creations, although my family would tell you otherwise.  I work out of my home because I get more done there than anywhere else.  Yes, I am one of those people who is focused & disciplined enough to work from home.  I work best when painting if I am alone.

My art studio was in a small space and had french doors leading out to a lovely, covered porch with all the trimmings.  But as I mentioned, I outgrew the space so bye, bye porch view.  It is now a guest room with a porch.

I had another spare room that was very large so I decided to switch rooms.  What a process that was because you had to store things in a 3rd room and the halls to do whatever had to be done to those 2 rooms being switched for 4-8 weeks!

My advice:  1st step would be to sit down and think about and list your major annoyances and problems with your current space.  For me, 2 things stood out that were major problems standing in my way of concentrating on creating paintings.  A 3rd item had to be addressed to have efficient light.


1st Problem: Having canvases stacked everywhere was driving me crazy and impeding moving around in my studio.  Everywhere I turned I was bumping into canvases, blank and painted.  So my plan had to include deep cupboards or cabinets with moveable shelves (floor to ceiling) to accommodate the different sizes of canvases to get them out of my way.

The 2nd problem was the many printers (3) and 1 scanner that I needed for my business and the space they were taking up on desks, tables and elsewhere.  So I devised a plan to have one of the cupboards have pull-out shelves so that I could hide them and have them organized in 1 place.  Of course, this meant that I had to think about where the holes had to go to plug everything in and not have cords all over the place.  That was actually the hardest part before having everything built, making sure that everything had a place to be plugged in.

The 3rd problem was lighting.  The new room had 1 window and I didn’t want to have lamps all over the place so I researched my options.  I decided on a solar tunnel.  The 1st one they installed was too small.  The 2nd one was okay but when the sun isn’t shining it doesn’t give off enough light.  So I now have to have an electrician come and attach a light fixture inside the solar tunnel so that I have light on dark days and at night.

Even though I started in the Fall, it wasn’t totally completed until December.  Except for the lighting situation that is.  So plan on disruption for several months and a lot of clutter.  It is amazing how much “STUFF” I collect because I just might need it someday.

All in all, I love my new space and hardly ever want to leave it.  That is because I designed it with ME in mind.   Again, my advice is to think before you leap and decide what would work for you so that you can work without all the hassles of distractions.  Distractions are different for everyone.  My distraction is clutter and disorganization.  I can work with some clutter but it has to apply to the current painting I am working on, not something that has to stay there for the end of time.  But please note that my space does not look as clutter-free as the photos above.  My space looks very messy when I am painting.

Please share this with your people if it was helpful for you, especially those that would have need of this information.  And follow me on my blog and sign up for my newsletter (on the top, right-hand column).  You can view my paintings at my website.

QueenCharlotteCrossroadsSmMy painting, “Queen Charlotte” that I painted several years ago as a commission for Crossroads Charlotte, was chosen in a “Call for Artists” by the Charlotte Business Journal to appear on the cover of their “Book of Lists 2013”. The “Book of Lists” is a yearly magazine that lists the industries and businesses in Charlotte and is given out during the coming year to current and new subscribers.

Queen Charlotte is holding a plant container with flowers inside representing government, education, business and religious organizations working and growing together in Charlotte.

The Charlotte Business Journal will hold a private reception at the Knight Gallery on December 12 that the artists are invited to and can display their art that was chosen for the magazine.

I was chosen last year for my “Camden Scene” to begin the section for Healthcare section in the Book of Lists 2012″.  I am honored to grace the cover this year.  To view more of my work please go to my website.  Also look at the events/news section to read about the 3 exhibitions I am juried into for the current month and into January 2014.  Thanks to all of my supporters.

Social Issues and Artists

IamWoman-AmericanKestrelBirdMy college art history classes taught me that many artists expressed their beliefs about political and social issues through their art, in their paintings, writings, music, photography and poems.  That was why many creative people were the first to be imprisoned during wars and military takeovers so that their voices were quieted from the masses.

Picasso’s “Guernica” painted in 1937, is one of the most important anti-war works of art produced in the 20th century. He painted other social issues as well.  Some other artists in our time are Judy Chicago, Robert Mapplethrope, and Shirin Neshat’s photos and videos of “Women of Allah”.  These artists gave their voice to the issues of their times often reaching more people with their work than in any other way.

I had always been a women’s rights advocate but in college I was stunned to find that women were left out of the art history books and the dialogue when I attended in the 80’s.  I began to feel that it was my responsibility, through my paintings, to give voice to these social issues that stilted women’s growth.  To this day women are still under represented in the art dialogue, art history and elsewhere. Whenever I feel it is necessary to point out social injustices haunting women, I paint an image so the world can see it. And hanging them in exhibitions gets that voice even louder.

In 2010, when many states and the House of Congress started backtracking on women’s rights that they had already won, I started a series of paintings named, “I Am Woman, I Can Fly”.  One of those paintings, “I Am Woman, I Can Fly – American Kestrel Bird” was juried by Michael Aurbach of Vanderbilt University into the Fletcher Exhibition, sponsored by the East Tennessee State University’s Department of Art & Design and Slocumb Galleries in partnership with Urban Redeveloment Alliance and Fletcher H. Dyer Memorial Scholarship.

The Fletcher H. Dyer Scholarship is a compelling story in itself.  I copied this from his site and if you have time you should go there and read the rest.
Fletcher Hancock Dyer, age 22, was lost too soon in a
motorcycle accident in Johnson City, TN on November 5,
2009. As an artist and graphic designer, Fletcher created
works that addressed social and political issues thus exposing
injustices through visual means. Fletcher was always curious
and aware of current events; he experimented in innovative
ways to create works that investigate contemporary social
issues. New, unexpected ideas and perspectives had unique
ways of coming to the surface as a result of Fletcher’s
creative means of rattling cages.”

I feel really proud to be included in this exhibition.  You can order prints of this painting here.  Or you can order blank, greeting cards of this image on my website.
Information about the exhibition:
Fletcher Exhibition • November 1-27, 2013
Tipton Gallery 126 Spring Street, Johnson City, TN
Reception: November 1, 6-8pm
For more images of my paintings, please go to my portfolio on my website or blog.