This was my studio space, during the last four months, on a good day. It has seen worse during those months. Never have I taken so long to get my home unpacked and studio up and running. This was not the case on this move to our current residence. My original goal was to have everything done by New Year 2015. I did not make the self-imposed deadline. Instead of boring you with all the reasons why it has taken so long, I am just going to say, "it is what it is." The goal has now been set for the end of the month. I can now easily start painting walls in a few days. I am so excited. This will be my favorite space to work in by far.
This is not to say that my previous studio spaces were not loved and well used. Each place had it's own charm. What this place has over the other places is that I am the one in charge of the building here. All except for one space was in a place that I was renting and living in. When you have that combo, a landlord, living space, working space at once, there are limitations to what you can and cannot do.
For instance, my place in Big Timber Montana that my husband and I rented while I was doing my student teaching assignment. It was an old Knights of Pytheus lodge. The first picture is what it looked like when we moved in. That floor is 35 feet by 40 feet if I remember right.
The picture below was how I used the space after we moved into it.
I loved this place. On the west side that you are looking at, was my studio space. In the middle was our living room. The east side was my husband's working space, more like his office. The north wall served as my gallery space. It was like living in a loft apartment.
There were major problems in spite of the extremely low rent. One, asbestoes lurked in the ceiling as insulation. It was constantly falling through the ceiling and covering the place with a fine layer of lethal dust which quickly was visable within hours of dusting the place clean. Two, look at that floor...beautiful and a pain to deal with. More work went into keeping it shining than should have. I had to cover the floor under my work station with a formica sheet 4'x8' to protect it. Three, it was an old brick building with poor insulation and an ancient heating system that could not keep up with the chilling Montana winds which blew the strongest in this area of the state. Nine months of the year! We lived only a year and a half there, moving to Billings after our stay here. The big open space could not live up to it's potential as an art studio when I worried constantly about marring the floor and breathing in the space.
I have had rentals most of my life. I have covered walls with plastic tarps, rolled heavy rug protectors over heavy plastic tarps, and chose what to do artistically based on the size of the room and table space available. And, I must say, that was only back during the last twenty years. Bedrooms, living rooms all were converted to a working space. Prior to that, I had no space to call my own. I brought things out of closets when I was ready to create. Needless to say, that didn't happen often when raising my children.
Form does follow function even concerning the artist's working environment. Up until now, I had to limit what I could do according to leases and landlords. My creations tended to be on the small and neat side. My artmaking techniques constrained by my need to not destroy walls with paints, or floors with wax etc: or by the smallness of the room making it difficult to execute any large works I may have been able to conjure in my mind at that time. I found these and other unmentioned issues influenced my choices for creating my artwork in the past.
In two or three days from now, (maybe sooner, if I get too eager), I will finally begin to create the studio I have longed for all of my adult life. With a swiftly moving creek outside my studio door to listen to, with large windows and a skylight illuminating my working space, and my french door to be able to gaze ocassionally at the Oregonian forest lacing that creek, I am in paradise. It is not a big loft area like the former place in Big Timber. No, it is the family room right off the kitchen, next to my elderly parent's room, so I can easily take care of him as needed. I get to chose now if I care about a bit of paint on the floor and wall. After all of these years of being bound up on what I could and could not do, a bit of paint on the floor and wall is the best thing that can happen to this home of ours. Will keep you posted on the progress. Take care.
View from my back porch, which is right off the studio space.