Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Room of My Own--My Studio Tour

Do you have an ideal studio?  I don't.  There is a Korean proverb that goes like "if you don't have any teeth left, use your gum to chew with."  I guess it originated in the days when there was no dental service.  I live by the principle of making do, plan B's, if life gives you a lemon, make a lemonade, etc. 

I have been a part-time history professor and stay-home mom since my daughter was born.  I painted whenever I could.  Since I get depressed if I don't paint for a while, painting is a kind of therapy as well.  So I needed a home studio.  For several years, I painted in a small spare bedroom, which also served as an office, sewing room, and storage space for paintings and framing supplies.  When it became overcrowded, I decided to repurpose the dining room as my studio.

My husband was not thrilled with the idea, but I persuaded him with an argument that the space didn't get much use.  It's not big--about 10 x 10 square feet.  It has a chandelier, East-facing window, and wooden floor.  It is located right next to the kitchen and opens to the living room that has a northern exposure.  Whenever I stepped back (although the above picture shows a chair prominently, I paint standing up), I bumped into all manner of things, including the chandelier.  So I surreptitiously began to push the art table toward the adjoining living room.  Now my studio space is about 10 x 14 square feet.  My husband did notice the encroachment, but was told that the living room was used only by our daughter for her home work.  He just shook his head.

If I had been using art supplies with noxious odor, all my efforts to divide and conquer space would have been futile.  My husband happens to have allergies to various smells and I do care about his health and emotional state.  How did I get away with it?  I am a big advocate of water-mixible oil paints.  I use mostly Winsor and Newton paints with occasional Holbein Duo Aqua oil paints (more expensive, but more choice of colors).  So far, nobody in the family has complained about bad smells.  I am happy because I can paint whenever I wish.  If I choose so, I can even paint on the Thanksgiving Day while the turkey is roasting in the oven--so easy to check how it's coming along.

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