Around this time last year, I was in the midst of redesigning and renovating my studio. I had always wanted to do it but put it off because of time constraints and feeling too busy to take something so monumental on. Well, then came COVID. To occupy my mind, I thought I would do a few things here and there. I told myself, “Do a small project. You can get it done in a day.” Well, you know how that goes. One thing leads to another and then I was getting my husband involved. The once small projects approach had now become a massive room renovation. I was painting the entire room, creating custom closet shelving, redesigning my easel with customized fixtures from lighting to a swiveling mahlstick, making a large palette desk that boasts a handmade palette cover and brush holder, and literally painting and faux finishing almost every object in the room. I even painted custom storage boxes! You know how it goes. Once you get started, you can’t stop! This isolation renovation included disrupting the entire studio while still managing to get work done in the chaos. I am a neat freak so this was a lot, both mentally and physically, to deal with.
In the midst of my renovation, I was also teaching extensively online. Yep, working, teaching and renovating all at the same time! With online teaching, the redesign began to include camera setups with movable arms to make slight adjustments in viewing angles. Currently, I have two adjustable 1080 HD web cameras: one on the easel and one over my palette desk. The palette desk can also convert to a flat working area for demos that don’t need to be done on the easel. I also renovated a computer desk to sit near the easel on my left so I can see students at the same time I am lecturing or doing a demo. The computer also has its own built-in camera.
At the same time that I was starting my renovation project, I was also watching award-winning performances free online from the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. The Phantom of the Opera, which I originally saw on Broadway, inspired my studio redesign direction. I pulled out all of my NYC theatre memorabilia. What a joy it was to go down memory lane. Somehow, I felt reconnected to a city I love even when I could not physically be there. The other good thing that happened in this renovation process is that I began to get rid of things that I really did not use, need or want in my practice anymore. The purging process made room for me to put into the space the things that uplifted and inspired me. This was liberating!
In addition to the massive studio renovation, I had also begun to contemplate on the direction of my work, developing ideas about where I wanted to go in the years to come. This purging, reevaluating and redesigning process was something I didn’t even realize how much I really needed it. Although 2020 was a complete nightmare, some positive things grew out of it. My crazy isolation renovation project ended up being the best gift that I could have ever given myself during a time where everything seemed taken away. If you are considering a studio makeover, I say do it! Don’t put things off. Some day can really be today and you are worth it! Create from the heart!
To see more specifics about my studio lighting, check out a previous Muddy Colors post I did entitled Custom Studio Lighting
This is my custom handmade palette cover.
Here are some work-in-progress shots taking during the isolation renovation process.
Many of the techniques I used in my studio renovation come from my artwork. Check out my video series!
WORKING IN RELIEF ON THE PAINTED SURFACE VIDEO SERIES
This video series explore bas-relief techniques onto the painted surface. In the first video, the artist demonstrates working in various gel and fluid mediums to build texture onto the painted surface. She also shows how to employ pastes, lava gel, gel pens, matter painting and crackle texture to the dimensional surface in layers. (41.22 minutes)
In the second video, the artist demonstrates the sculptural application of various cloth and trim to the working surface to create a unique topography. In addition, she will show how bas-relief techniques can be used to make a custom collagraph plate for embossing watercolor paper that can later be painted in acrylics. (34.56 minutes)
In the third video, the artist employs assemblage accents, creates flexible accents from molds, incorporates unique sculptural details and applies custom textures onto the surfaces of a unique construct. (44.34 minutes)
The fourth video in the series demonstrates how to create unique faux finishes onto custom and repurposed assemblage accents. (53.54 minutes)
The series of high-definition videos are available through online streaming. Gmail is required for private access. No refunds will be accepted after purchase.
$80.00 US FOUR VIDEOS