Well, my plans for having the studio all perfect by last Sunday night were, as usual, a mite over-ambitious. As it happened, finishing off the bookshelves took more time than I thought, what with all the sanding & polyurethane-ing. However, I was in good shape by Monday night . . . and then went off to jury duty on Tuesday . . . and got put on a trial! It was supposed to last for 3 days, but luckily ended up only taking two. It was actually a pretty interesting experience, and I’m not sorry I had to do it (criminal case, the charge was animal abuse in the first degree, the state prosecuting on behalf of a male Boston terrier named Paxton, and we found defendant not guilty — basically because of insufficient evidence, but privately, I thought the guy looked like a jerk, and probably did mean to hurt the dog.) So by Thursday I was finally in the studio, which is now clean, (relatively) organized and quite pleasant. While it’s by far the smallest studio I have ever had, and with the lowest ceiling (only 7 1/2 feet, yes I know I’ve complained about it before), I’m actually very happy in the space and look forward to getting good work done there. I don’t make huge paintings anyway, so the ceiling isn’t a problem the way it would be if I regularly made 6 foot or 8 foot or 12 foot paintings, the way so many of the people I went to school with do. Pretty much the largest I run to these days is 4 feet, and that’s not an issue. I just need to manage the space well, and keep it clean and spare so it doesn’t start feeling cramped and crowded. Luckily I have the basement for storage.
I ended up making three free-standing bookshelves that fit one of the long walls exactly, rather than building them into the wall as I originally thought. It was just a lot easier, given that nothing in that building is particularly square. I used 12” wide engineered boards — you know, the ones made up of long strips of wood glued together — because it was a lot cheaper than similarly sized 12” pine boards. Plus, I like how they look. I ended up whitewashing them so you can see the grain but they still blend in with the wall by taking a half a can of old white latex paint and diluting it with water. And I finished them with two coats of water-based polyurethane, which frankly smells just as toxic as regular polyurethane and has all the same dire warnings on the label. You’re supposed to do three, but I’d finally lost my patience.
I’m pleased with them. They’re not exactly fine furniture, but they’re a hell of a lot nicer than they actually need to be, for a studio setting. Probably yet another example of me going overboard and making something much more work than it needs to be, but — I’m glad I did, in this instance.
Among the other amenities the studio now has now acquired: a proper heat-exchanger/ ventilator, which sucks up the old air and blows in fresh, keeping the air in the studio breathable and preserving the temperature (and happily, it runs nice and quiet). And an in-wall electric heater (significantly less quiet, but at least it doesn’t take too long to get the space up to temperature). And all new can lights in the ceiling. And it’s fully insulated — we had cellulose blown in the walls and the attic space (oh yeah, I also framed out a hatch door to access the space, which you couldn’t before), which is makes a HUGE difference to the temperature in there. So: yay studio. No excuses anymore not to get down to bidness.
Here's a panoramic tour of the studio, starting on your right-hand side as you walk in the door, and pivoting around to your left:
Which brings me to the philodendron painting: This is how it looks after about 3 work sessions. I’m struggling with the pink cloth backdrop, even though making a pink & green painting was my initial idea. But it’s pretty . . . intense right now. I’m not sure yet how to make it work.
Also, the latest Scatterplot version:
Getting veryvery close to the end here.