Category Archives: studio

Cool tools: Silicoil

Silicoil

That simple jar with a smooth coil insert sitting on my palette is the best brush-cleaning tool I’ve ever had. I have mine filled with Turpenoid and periodically poor off the clean stuff, wipe out the sediment that collects at the bottom (the coil is easily removed for access) and then refill with the same solvent. The write-up at Dick Blick Art Supply says:

Be kind to your fine art brushes!Stroking a brush across the smooth surface of the aluminum coil opens and separates the hairs for proper cleaning without damaging the fragile flags (the delicate split ends of brush hairs).

This heavy glass tank with a screw-on lid holds up to 12 oz (355 ml) of water, solvent or Silicoil Brush Cleaning Fluid.

Cheap at $6.00 a jar, this has probably already paid for itself in resurrected brushes.

New studio configuration

Our new studio has been a wonderful influence on my work – improved space and light, ventilation, and the separation of my job and housework from the meditative mental space that is so helpful for painting. A lovely room is not strictly necessary (and I know because I worked in a hallway closet for years) but it is helpful. Now that I have the painting rig set up to my satisfaction I thought I might add pastels back in to rotation. I worked solely in pastels while our son was small and only moved back to oils two years ago. This weekend I retrieved work surfaces and boxes of chalk from storage and got to work remembering how to draw with colored sticks.

This is the east wall of the new set-up:

painting and pastels

There is still plenty of room for contemplation and storage. I’m stockpiling some pieces for a show at the Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor opening on August 14th.

the Morris chair

I use Rembrandt pastels, very handy to have the box trays with this set.

Rembrandt pastels

And this is the full-summer view from my front porch. . . milkweed, Joe Pye weed, monarda, meadowsweet, ferns, and buckwheat and goldenrod coming along to feed the bees in September.

Hillside garden

 

The summer studio

It’s minus 7F this morning, but I have off from my day job and a heated studio to paint in so I’m feeling particularly fortunate on this first day of the New Year. This morning I’ll start a new piece based on photos, drawings, and color swatches from this summer. Here’s the set-up – the hoop-house in the garden is a frozen refuge for field mice this morning, but on a sunny Saturday in late July it was glorious place to work.

Painting in the hightunnel

Happy New Year everyone!

Welcome to the studio!

We’ve started to move in to the new space and make ourselves at home. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to see the work from more than a few feet away, and to have all my equipment close at hand.  Below is the interior facing north. The big windows give an even light over the course of the day.

studio face northThe harsh light in the photo above streams in through a set of sliders on the opposite wall. The drapes are light-fast and insulating, because that’s a lot of south-facing glass.

south facing exposureThe view from behind the palette. . .

dec studio sw cornerWe’re still trimming windows and moving construction debris but we’re painting anyway – I’m looking forward to being able to post about new work in the the new space very soon.

 

Studio update 4.0

Today we have stairs to the second story! This is the view from the alpine garden looking east.

garden view

. . .and a better view of the new staircase.
front stairs

Looking down the stairs to the driveway and our gravel road, just as the crew from John Atkinson Builders is leaving. . .

drivewayHere’s the view into what will be my workspace. . . all that north light is will be nice to work under.

APo interiorThe south wall with sliding doors facing the house. . .

south wallAnd finally, the view out the big north wall window into the swamp. It will be wonderful to see this change with the seasons – I can’t wait for snow.

north wall