Sunday, June 03, 2007

studio spaces

I came across photos of my old studio space when I was looking for something else (which of course I haven't found yet)




my old studio space at an open studio day



I rented a studio space when I finished my degree. It was in an old Victorian school, which had 2 floors divided by cobbled together partitions into individual spaces, no heating, holes in the roof - and was bitterly cold. In Spring and Summer it would be much warmer outside than in there. We had one portable gas heater per floor which was usually out of gas. If it had gas left then someone who'd got there before you had usually hogged it and was sitting working right next to it with an open dish of turps - how they didn't blow the place up I'll never know!


After a while I realised that though it was lovely to have the room to be messy and pour and splash paint as much as I wanted, I hardly went in. If it was warm I generally wanted to work plein air and when it was cold ... it was like getting dressed for an Arctic expedition to go in and I'd come home chilled to the bone. Also it was across town and so I had to know I could stay for quite a while or it wasn't worth the trip.

There was another studio group who had invited me to join them - some really good artists - but this one was equally cold, parking was almost impossible and it was up 3 huge flights of stairs above a factory - with asthma that was not fun. Carrying big canvasses etc ..... no way.

My youngest daughter left home and I decided that her room would become my - warm - studio.

It's much better. I can walk in any time for a short while to work or consider what needs doing to work in progress - the only problem is that short times because-I-have-other-stuff-to-do-that-I-really-ought-to-do can become all-dayers with the other stuff forgotten! I don't have to suffer someone else's awful taste in music and or brain dead dj's :) or get sidetracked by people who wanted to chat when I wanted to work. Materials and work aren't divided between home and studio. I do see all the jobs I ought to be getting on with when I walk out of it though!


I'd love a bigger space, the storage alone is too much in volume, eating up the space I have to move around in :( ..... which might be better when I get round to a major sort out (oh look a little pink pig went flying by)

Some friends and I did look at a potential studio space that was very conveniently near for me - and HEATED - and the heating was in with the rent, so no potential arguments about shares of heating bills to spoil friendships. Unfortunately, though we nearly made it, we couldn't quite get together the number of artists to make it economically viable :( - given more time we probably could have. Also no one wanted the headache of being the one to collect rents and be responsible for it all.

We'd though of running classes there as well and having several open studios a year. All that needs people to do a certain amount of administration and artists aren't always good administrators - I'm certainly not. We certainly didn't have funds to pay anyone :(


This group http://fireandwaterart.blogspot.com/2007/05/watercolor-class-in-showroom-studio.html have set up a rather smarter gallery version - I would love to be part of something like that.

John Blockley used to have a gallery in Stow on the Wold with studio space above, which he shared with Moira Huntly. That always seemed a wonderful set up to me :) They are artists worth googling. I really love the work of John Blockley. His drawings were superb and he abstracted the landscape with a wonderful vocabularly of marks and techniques.


the old John Blockley Gallery, now the Red Rag Gallery

5 comments:

bill said...

Vivien,

Your story reminds me of the first space I rented after moving to Portland. It was a part of an old warehouse owned by the local Goodwill charity in the SE industrial area of Portland (the other side of the river from where I often paint now). I don't recall problems with the temperature but we did have the noise issue and the artists as administrators issue as well as theft.

It's much more convenient for me now that I've partitioned off part of the garage, although I now do have the issue of cold in the winter and heat in the summer. Funny ...

As always I enjoyed my visit to your site.

Bill
billsharp.wordpress.com

Lindsay said...

This made me chuckle. For a long time I thought I really wanted my own studio space. But the more I think about it, the more I love having my space in my home! Light is my issue too. And when my youngest moves out, you can bet I'll be moving into her room.Thanks for introducing me to two new UK artists!! Lovely lovely work. AND I just ordered Kurt Jackson's Thames book. So excited!

jafabrit said...

John's paintings are very rich colours and lovely. I would love to have a large studio space, but can't justify the expense. So for now I work in my tiny studio (spare room) which has wonderful light. I enjoyed seeing the pic of the red rag gallery, such a lovely old building. I miss seeing that type of architecture over here.

vivien said...

thanks Bill :) - your blog is one of those I recently discovered and added to my bloglines list :)

Lindsay I hope you like the KJ book as much as I did - I took it to a meeting to show the rest of our group and everyone drooled!

I'm glad you liked John Blockley's work, I just love it.

Your waterways project is galloping ahead :)

vivien said...

it's a lovely higgledy piggledy gallery just off the main square of an old market town - I have shown work there but none at the moment.