In the Studio

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Springtime is not my favorite time in the studio.

In the winter, when time seems endless, studio time is play time.

Most days, I change from my working-in-town work clothes into warm, paint-stained loose clothing as soon as I get home. As soon as dog walking, dinner preparation, eating and clean-up are finished, I head upstairs to work in the studio until bedtime.

In the winter, deadlines seem so distant as to not be a concern. I experiment with materials, techniques, supports, colors and processes. I make big messes.

Sometimes I have a dozen or more projects in various stages of completion. I crowd the small room. Paintings are shuffled from drying spaces to closet storage to the one space at the entrance to the studio that is large enough to work on them. Collage materials dominate my drafting table.  In an out of the way corner, collages in-progress are protected by plastic wrap and stacked under piles of books, so that they dry flat.

Springtime is when I have to pull it all together. Work needs to be finished, assessed and cleaned up. Mounting, matting and framing is next, to get things ready for galleries and shows.

This year, I’m hoping to have time and energy to work on some collagraph prints over the summer, so I’m also doing a bit of a changeover from painting studio to print-making studio.

None of these are my favorite studio activities, but necessary nonetheless.

This week, I offer eight little sketches of the room where I work.

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About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

29 responses »

  1. cindy, it’s so great to have these art visits with you! you are so talented and have a very distinct style. reading a post of yours is like sitting there having a cup of coffee or tea – or sipping a tall glass of lemonade on a hot day!

    great post!!! z

  2. I really like your drawings. Thankfully you have special place that is apart from the rest of the house. I wish I had one spot just for my photography and equipment. Maybe one day if I live long enough…

    Anyhow I always enjoy reading what you are doing. Does not matter if it is ho-hum or not. I’ve always admired artists. You do have a lot of talent. But it needs to be “out there” for others to see. 🙂

    • I’m really enjoying this drawing practice, Yvonne. That is how I fell in love with art, and it is the very basis, I think, of all art. At this time, my drawings are just practice. I love drawings of the caliber to be displayed as art… I have done them in the past. At this time, I don’t have the energy and time that it takes to develop and refine my skills in that area. Just the same, I love working in clay, and actually got my MFA in ceramics, but it doesn’t fit in my life right now. I do make art regularly, and have it out there in several galleries and other venues (my godson’s hair salon, for instance) but it is painting, collage and collagraph printing. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

  3. I get where you’re coming from when you talk about winter. The freedom from deadlines is heavenly! While others are all excited about spring and summertime it makes me anxious because there is so much to do and so many deadlines to meet. It’s downright chaotic!

    Good luck with getting your things together, and thanks for sharing your sketches. Oh how I wish I could draw!

    • Oh, good, another person who likes the creating best! Of course the other stuff is necessary (there is not enough space to store all the things I make and don’t sell!), and feedback is wonderful, but the making is the best part. Thank you for reading, Sara, and for your comments!

    • I’m having a lot of fun getting back into drawing, but I won’t be putting them up for display or sale anytime soon. At this time the work that I show is mainly original collagraph prints, collages and paintings, and mainly abstract. I enjoy drawing, though, and that’s where I started, of course, and how I learned to love art, so it’s wonderful to use those skills on a regular basis. Thank you for reading, Karen, and for your comments!

    • No, Bob, my bedroom is the “Snake Room”…though I did find a nice fat snakeskin behind some insulation in the studio, too. I think now, finally, the snakes are banished entirely from the upstairs! Thanks for reading, and for your comment!

      • I always thought the what was the guest room was the snake room – I’ll never forget waking up in the night and not being able to get what fell out of the ceiling off my mind. (Even with the snake blood protection). LOL

      • I do believe I put you in my bedroom, as a guest, and I took the other room as it was on the west side and hotter. So, yes, you probably slept in the snake room!

  4. In winter I get a lot of studio time, which I love. Sometimes I’m lucky to get 3 or 4 ‘jammie’ days w/ nowhere to go, nothing to do but stay in the studio and experiment. I’m happy to see Spring & Summer when it’s time to ‘make hay’ — teach classes, finish commissioned work, look for more work — but I also miss the seemingly endless Winter hours to myself. I love your drawings!

    • They are so tiny, “peek” is a good word! It is a nice format for me right now. Working small allows me to get reacquainted with drawing, in spite of my time constraints. In this case, it also allowed me to “zoom in” and NOT show the messes in my studio! Thank you for reading, Bridget, and for your comments!

  5. Thank you, Cindy — I love picturing you at work, and seeing little glimpses of your space! (Just as I love seeing photos of your beautiful island!) I can’t quite imagine what it must be like to have a place, special clothes, some solitude, and a time when it’s okay to indulge the artist that lives inside me (I know one does, because everyone’s supposed to have one, right?). Yet I know that if I lived by myself in such surroundings, I would not be able to perform. I definitely need a director and an audience. I admire you so much, my friend!

    • The biggest challenge I faced when I got out of college was learning to discipline myself to art-making. Without assignments and deadlines, it took years to form a good habit. One book that was very helpful to me was Making Room for Making Art. I don’t remember the author. It’s not only about carving out a physical space, but the attitude and emotional space to create. Still, until this new deadline came up, I neglected drawing for years! Thanks for reading, Kate, and for your comments!

  6. The way you change into your art work clothes is the same way I change into my writing work clothes, Cindy. And in that moment, things change.
    Gray winter days and rainy days are my favorite writing days. On warm Spring days, I’ll go out to the big wicker chair in the yard to write and get distracted by all the growing going on around me.
    I love your pictures.

    • The change of clothes helps to throw off the workday. Not having to worry about mess or stains, I can step into the studio work at any time. I’ve recently started following a FlyLady tip to do housework fully dressed and with shoes on. Amazing how that works, too, to keep me on task! Writing outside sounds lovely, but I’m afraid I’d get easily distracted, too! Thank you for reading, and for your comments!

  7. Oh good, you’re showing more of your sketches! I enjoy looking at them, mostly marveling at how good they are. Would love a glimpse of your studio. Have you shared a photo of your artist’s studio with its piles of creativity everywhere?

    • It’s “piles of creativity” would need a good tidying up before I would take a photo, Kathy! Today I’m working in the studio AND in the garden, and seem to be bringing the garden soil in with me every time I make the trip! Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

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