Sunday, March 27, 2011

My studio story is featured in SUNDAY SPACES

Thank you Sonya!  Check out Sunday Spaces:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

THE RED WALL is now...........


you can see the studio RED wall in the previous posts.
I also painted the table legs aqua.

How my studio found me! part 2

................ So, we left off from yesterday with an appointment to go see a warehouse space.
Now since I was sick for almost a year! I did not have a healthy art bank account, and my idea was to just rent something for 2 months in the summer.

I was surprised when the nice preschool teacher called back to say that her husband owned a row of warehouse buildings and that they wanted to show me a space.
What could I say? I had to check it out and I figured I would just say it wouldn't work out, since I really had no money.

The next day I met Mark the building manager who was a really nice guy.
 He opened the door to this long narrow room with only a small path to walk through it. It was filled with old, crumbly, smelled like mildew boxes from floor to ceiling.
The space was being rented by the local movie theatre and they were using it for storage. It looked like long abandoned storage. Boxes were old and falling all over each other.
I couldn't even tell if the space had windows, it was like walking through box-hoarders!

We walked through the first long room, down the hall into a small second room, still filled with boxes. Mark turned to me and said, "Which room would you want?"
I said, "Um. Well, I guess the first room so I wouldn't have to walk through that mess to get to the second room," knowing I was probably not taking it anyway.
"Um, so how much is it?"
This is the question that was going to lead me to say I couldn't take it, or so I thought.  Mark turned around and made a phone call.
"My Uncle must like you, he said I should empty the whole space, and give it to you."
I didn't know what to say.
"Um, well, how much is the rent?"
"Well since the space needs cleaning and painting, nothing for the first months, then 100 a month after that."
WHAT? 100 a month? I could do that. I could figure out 25. per week!
It was too good not to do it.

I sent the landlord/preschool teacher's husband a heartfelt thank you letter. I went from recovering on the couch to scrubbing that space. My whole focus changed. I was looking to my future.

Turns out my landlord wanted to help someone else who was starting a new business!
He is one of my angels.

For the next months, after the boxes were removed, we cleaned and scrubbed and primed the walls. We pulled the smelly carpet off the floors and scrubbed them over and over.
When they were finally clean, I primed them and painted them with floor paint in a soft grey.
And then I painted that block wall red.  Million Dollar Red was the paint name.
 (that's the wall that is getting painted today!)
This is the studio after a good long scrubbing............

This is the first picture I took after I finished cleaning and moving into my studio.

That is how my studio found me.
I still cannot believe that I made ONE phone call and ended up in this wonderful space. 
I feel very very blessed.

Doesn't that make you wonder what you should ask for?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How did my studio find me? (sorry this is long) let's call it part 1

My studio is tied in to my cancer. Good things and not so good things seem to go together.

In 2003 I was finally diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I say finally because I was sick for 10 months, constant choking and coughing all night long before I found my cancer.
~ okay, side-bar for a quick cancer story....  I was sick, and first we thought it was a virus, then maybe bronchitis, then maybe an allergy, I coughed and coughed, I couldn't sleep, I was exhausted.
I had just starting seeing a therapist, my mother had died and I was struggling with my grief and my family's grief.  It was Dr. M. who first noticed how long I had been coughing. "You have had a cough since you first started coming here." oh, I thought, true it has been long.
"I have been feeling exhausted like I am trying to run through water, so tired."
"Have you thought of listening to your body?"
No. I had not. I had not thought of listening to my body, I was too busy pushing myself.
Two days later, I woke up and felt a tiny pressure in my neck. I was listening.
I opened my medical book (that I first had for taking care of the kids) and found an article about thyroids.
Take a drink of water.
lean your head back and swallow it while looking in the mirror. Is your neck symmetrical?
No, it was not. I had nodules on my thyroid.
Most nodules are NOT cancer.
But, I was sick. I fractured 2 ribs coughing! I was sick. I knew.

Okay, that is it. I found the nodules, called my doctor, had an ultrasound, had a biopsy, had surgery.

Now, back to the studio.

I was recovering from surgery. I was tired and they had to find my balance of synthroid (thyroid hormone replacement) and that took some time to get right (actually I am still tired!).
So I had a lot of time to think.
What do I want to do? Really do with this life, with this one life that I have been given?
Of course my first priority was my family and our sons. I hoped to be able to raise them.
But what about me? What do I want?

My studio was in our spare bedroom. It had actually moved around the house. First in a larger room off the playroom, then we moved the older boys into that room, so I moved into the kitchen, then the smaller bedroom.
So what do I want?  Asking myself this over and over.

I had an idea.
What if I called my son's preschool teacher and asked if I could rent the preschool space for the summer when they are closed. Then I could work more in the summer--away from the boys and their friends and I could leave projects set up instead of cleaning it up every day.

I called her and asked if I could rent her space. She owned the little building and said she would talk to her husband and call me back.  When she did, "Here is an address, you can meet our property manager and he will show you a space."
I did not know this, but they owned a series of buildings on a warehouse street.
I did not have a lot of money, since I had barely worked in months. But I asked, so I decided to meet him and just turn down the space.

maybe this is too long.... I will post the rest tomorrow!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Studio Tour!

As I mentioned in the previous post, my studio is on a warehouse road about 10 minutes from our house.
My studio is the door on the far left by the white car.

You can see my studio is long and narrow-ish. There are my windows up the side of the building.
When you open the door... you are can see my first room, ending with my red glass block wall.
(That wall is getting painted on thursday! YAY)

When I first moved in the place was a gross wreck. I cleaned and painted everything including the floor.
My landlord- angel, gave me the first months free because it needed so much work! Totally awesome!
 Below is the shelves that are on the left when I open the door.
I painted the whole thing white and added the shelves. The glass doors were found in the back of the warehouse, so we guess they were from that space, but not sure why it was never painted or shelved and why the doors were in the warehouse--and so glad to find them!

At one time there was a doorway between my space and the office warehouse space, they closed in the door, but left the door there with a 5 inch space. 
Just last year, I painted the interior space black and shelved it, so now it is a paint cupboard..and I love it!

Two years ago the studio ceiling leaked over my drawing table and desk, it flooded while I was away and I came back to a lot of ruin.  I am a little afraid to put my desk back int he same spot, so I left it blank and brought in this chair and coffee table. This is where I sit and write with my feet up and my laptop on my lap. I love this cozy corner.

There is a second room that I use for storage and I have a table with a small frig and my keurig coffee maker, behind the glass block wall. I have a lot of supplies for arts in education school visits there and storage of completed artwork.

I used this long hall as an experiment with blackboard-magnetic paint. It is great as a blackboard, but needs another coat to be more magnetic. I want to use this wall to hang picture book sketches.

This is the small bathroom. I was experimenting with a band of design in the center of the wall. I like it, except I think I would like it more with a white glaze over the whole thing...

Thank you for touring my studio! I will post the re-painted red wall on Thursday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

What I've been doing........

Bogged down by art that I need to get finished, with a book that needs revising, with licensing artwork that needs creating... and school visits that need organizing.
Sometimes I wonder what have I been doing? Where have the years gone?

First we have a busy family life with four sons.....
...things changed when I moved my studio out of our house and into a warehouse space, that needed work......................

this was a huge transition. I was so used to working in the middle of the night, that working during the day seemed.. odd.
It is great beyond words to be able to leave work in progress out all over to come back to later! I love that.

... and I have used my school and teacher development programs to support the studio, which has been an amazing blessing. I work with 500 students-whole school programs, huge projects that I love!

... and I have been neglecting my wonderful jewelry kiln--Lola! Isn't she lovely? 
As soon as this revision is finished, and my art deadline is met, I am going to make some pieces, I have some exciting sketches that need to become lovely silver pendants!

and plans, I have been making plans... for opening the studio, for licensing artwork, for my book projects! Thanks for all your support and encouragement as I work toward my goals!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Goodbye RED WALL!!

Five years ago when I moved into my studio I had to do a huge--HUGE renovation of it. Mostly cleaning, ripping out carpet and painting.. but it was a HUGE GROSS mess!
I have a glass block wall that separates the art area and a storage room. I painted it red (see below)

I used to love opening the door to all my white walls and my bug shiny red wall. But now I don't really see it anymore. It has become part of the landscape I guess. So I think the solution to breathing new life into this space is to paint that wall!!

This is the palette I am choosing from. It is the old Ralph Lauren Sport collection.
I saved this old one because I knew I love these bright hues and find them so inspiring......
So the question I have thrown out into the world is.... 
what color would YOU choose to paint the red wall?????????????????