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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A New Branch of Sean Mills Hospital

(Banner compliments of my Alma Mater, The Lamar Dodd School of Art)

My new studio has been draining all of my free time for the last two months. However, the expense has been totally worth it.

I have been stymied by a number of things which keep me from producing the millions of ideas I have in my head, written in notebooks, and loosely sketched. Not the least of which has been a lack of space. Not anymore, baby. Let's start with how I am writing this:

Now walking into my house is like going to Disney Land or Toys R Us, both places I like. I have got my computer stuff all set up-with everything set up perfect, I have got all my textbooks, magazines, art portfolios all arranged by subject on my ample shelving.

Best of all, I have a whole extra room that is a dedicated painting/drawing studio space. That would be enough to make me bleed joy out of veins, but the best part is that EVERY aspect of my studio has been custom designed to make working easy and convenient.

I have two entrances, one from the house and one from the back door which is sweet. On the back wall I have a set a drawers, on top of which, I have two large boxes one with paper products of all sizes, and the other with all my project files and research organized by category.

The rest of the surface I use as a "drying" table, while I have extra canvases stacked behind the desk next to the wall. On one side of the desk I have all my paintings stacked, on the other I have my portfolios full of drawings.

In the middle of my room I have two clip lamps set up on lightweight tripods so I can make sure I have ample light pointed in whatever direction I need. Also, I have an easel, which I usually use to hold my "extra painting" I have a large painting set up on a wall of the studio itself, a la my mentor Richard J. Olsen. I use whatever paints are left on my palette after each session on the canvas I have set up-it lets me experiment without losing focus or wasting resources.

I have two main palettes, each is a gessoed wood panel covered with glass. One is long and skinny which I can easily move and even hold, while the other is two and a half feet squared which handles anything else I need.

The glass works great for letting me scoop up all my pigments with no wastage, and I have even labeled different hue combinations using a dry erase marker when I am trying to remember for example, which is a straight Ivory Black paint versus one I get from mixing Alizarin Crimson and Pthalo Blue.

I will spare you the awesome details of my well stocked metal filing cabinet which has all solvents and hardware tools, but I will draw your attention to my brush rack which nicely sorts my brushes by size and materials all accessible right next to my painting. In the upper left corner is a thinking cap my buddy gave me.

Real quick, here is my Oil Paints, with each color grouped in this circular tray that I can rotate, the center circle has the whites, blacks, and premixed greys.

I have wood set up along two walls which lets me put up images and sketches for reference, along with a cork board for push pinning quickly and a dry erase board for writing notes quickly.

I have two pieces of "technology" in my studio. First, my digital picture frame which I use for photo reference, when I want to be able to zoom in on details. I keep the remote control in a plastic bag so I can make sure not to get paint or charcoal on it. Also, you can see my fan, because sitting under two bright lamps gets hot without it.

Finally, something I will probably better demonstrate in the future is my paint swatch kit. The red square in between the fan and the photo frame is made of felt. I have plastic cards that have velcro attached to the back to I can easily pull them off and put them back on. Each card contains a true color of paint as well as a neutral gray mixed from lead white and the color's compliment. These paint samples are labeled and I can grab one to hold up to my painting in case I want to see how the colors react.


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