Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Windy Hill Studio Make-over, Part 1

It has been over a month since I last blogged. What took me so long? I asked myself that same question many times as I was in the process of clearing out the old art studio and creating my dream studio. Emptying 20 years worth of contents from the studio, taking down shelving, cleaning the floor and painting the walls, I wondered, "why did I put this off for so long?" I can't remember a time when I didn't have my "studio", my place to paint and draw. When I was a teenager I created a space for myself in the basement. I grew up in an old house, with a standard old house basement...huge sprawling furnace, lots of creepy spiders, bone chilling cold in the winter, but nice and cool in the summer. And of course the lighting was terrible; a few bulbs here and there hanging from spindly crooked old wires. This was truly a basement. There was no attempt to try and pass it off as a rec room. Unless you use this spelling of "wreck". But it was my space and I loved it, or at least the idea of it. A space of my own. I painted under the spindly lights, shivered all winter long and created the usual high school quality art. Nothing special.

 In college we had large cavernous studios on campus so I grew accustomed to spreading out my supplies over as much space as possible. And the lighting was great! After college I had a small area in my apartment which served as the studio. One day my cat walked over the wet paint palette and then proceeded to walk across the rug...the only item I had purchased retail. (Everything else came from garage sales) So....I switched to dry media.

 A few years down the road in our very first house, my husband helped me create a studio space in the smallest bedroom of the house. I lost that room the next year, when my oldest was born, so I moved the studio to the guest room. A few years later my next child was born, oldest moved to the guest room, new baby in little room, so I lost my studio, and any guests we had, slept in the living room. My husband began preparations for the new studio in ...you guessed it, the BASEMENT. It was a great space though, lots of room and some terrific storage space. And even the lighting was pretty good.

So I painted in the basement while the kids were napping which turned out to be not as often as I had hoped. Sometimes they joined my at my table and drew and painted along with me.

 Well, I can't believe it has taken me five paragraphs to get to the drafting table. The drafting table came from either Carrier Corporation or Niagara Mohawk, I truly can't remember. We bought it from a friend who had purchased it from either one of the above corporations. This table was used by the engineers, so there was plenty of space on it for laying out blueprints, any other sort of plans and maybe even buffet for 10 people. The drafting side was 60" wide by 48" high and had a beautiful wood top. On the other side was a table, also topped with wood, and a large drawer for storage. The base of the entire unit was metal, very heavy and able to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters I'm sure. It was perfect for my basement studio, where I had plenty of room to spread out. Unfortunately, upstairs we were running out of room to spread out and so we began to look for a new, larger house.

In 1989, we moved into our present home, which we had built for us. What would have been the bedroom at the top of the stairs was re-designed into an open loft-type of space. The open floor plan gave me the opportunity to keep tabs on the kids (we added one more, bringing our grand total to 3 children) playing downstairs or in their bedrooms while I worked in the studio. In theory a good plan. But the drafting table was so large that it took up a good part of the studio. It stuck out like a peninsula jutting into the available floor space and left little space for anything else. We added storage shelves which accumulated lots of art supplies and a ton of other stuff. Being an art teacher I tend to think that nothing should ever be thrown out because "I can use that in a project someday". I stuck with this arrangement for many years; the kids often shared the space with me. It was a great spot to work on any school project involving art. And I really did a ton of artwork in that cramped space! I knew that soon I would need to make a change, if only for my sanity. The room was just too cluttered and inefficient and I was so sick of looking at art supplies crammed onto every available horizontal surface.

But when to do it??? And how? And....most frightening of all... Where would I put everything during the process? Tune in tomorrow for the next, and last installment.....

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