Home Art Studio Project

Shared Art Studio

Earlier this year, I had been working toward fixing up an art studio at my house. You can see in these past Home Art Studio Project posts I was going to make the space in the backyard, up against the cottage wall. Long story short, I ran into some issues with uneven floor and a falling apart fence, so all summer I worked in a corner in the house and in the backyard. 

Then fall arrived and I felt ongoing anxiety about turning a corner of the living room into a workspace and never dealing with this room. It had been an office for my boyfriend, then what felt like a storage room/work space for for me (see photos below) and now I love that it is a place we can both work in. I was insistent that I don't want to take it over as my own since he shoots photos and draws too. 

Just looking at this wall makes me shudder. What a disaster it became. It's pretty embarrassing to share this, but this is the state it turned into at the end of the summer. Because the room gets pretty warm in the summer, I basically didn't work in here and it was like a neglected storage room. 

This isn't a great photo, but you can see how dark the sandy brown walls made it look. The piles, oh the piles. 

The aftermath of painting. My speckled phone and encrusted hands. 

Paint me.JPG

I think I was getting a little crazed by this point. 

Art studio at the Linea de Costa art residency

Art studio at the Linea de Costa art residency

So first off, I'll show you my inspiration for the room. And yes, I understand that this is the prettiest picture in this whole post. Last November, while on a residency in Spain, I had the world's most beautiful art studio. It had an ocean view, was pristinely white, plants everywhere and hints of blues. While my results weren't exactly the same, I knew that I wanted to paint the new workspace white, to be a lot less cluttered and have plants. 

And here it is. The new studio has bright white walls, empty surfaces to work on and one hanging plant (planter by RossLab). Now, you might want to compare this with the first picture. BIG DIFFERENCE, huh? By the next post, I'll have worked in here for a bit and will give more details on what was done. Thanks so much to Bryan for the help in making it look like this. 

For now, I am ready to be productive in this clean, bright new shared space. 

Inside Out

It has taken me forever to get around to cleaning up the rest of the backyard and improving it. At last, this weekend, we moved some things around and did a little cleaning. I really need to get all this done so we can enjoy the yard for summer and fall. The outside is starting to feel like inside with shelving and seating. 

We mainly worked on the patio and I found it looking better already. The fence wall below formerly had a bunch of junk and the trash cans against it. It may not be too exciting, but I love the way it is looking.

I think the fern blends right in with my painting, don't you? The trunk on the left is filled with blankets and extra lights for when we entertain. The small shelves mounted above it have various natural things like rocks, shells and a succulent.

The green shelf is not quite complete yet, but looks pretty good for now. The shelf on the right has rocks and things from various hikes displayed on it. 

We finally decided where the fire pit would go. The "seat" you see hear is actually my friend Chris Patton's first reclaimed wood table. He made us a new one so this one is now outside. Last year we were in the North Bay and a coffee shop had these giant coffee bags for something like $2 each. We put pillows inside and voila! Outdoor seating. The elephant hanging you see in the foreground was something I found in a Capitola gift shop a few weeks ago for $14. I liked the combination of mirrored shapes and the tin elephants. Elephants are good luck too.

The cats seem pretty happy with the space...or maybe they don't really care.

The cats seem pretty happy with the space...or maybe they don't really care.

We are still planning on doing a lot more California Native landscaping and getting rid of a lot of the lawn. One thing at a time. If you look closely, you can see the first little aloe plant we planted directly in the lawn. I think this may be how we'll phase out the lawn. Just get a plant, dig out the lawn, repeat. I've never really done things the normal way anyway. 

From the  100 Day Project

I'd like the house to look a little more like this. I just have to be patient.

On the to do list:

  • New hammock
  • Tented reading nook
  • California Native drought resistant landscaping in the front and much of the back
  • More cacti

Rooftop Cleanup

Ok, so this is probably not the most exciting post, but I wanted to show you how hard I worked yesterday afternoon. My main mission was to clean the corrugated plastic roof in the back and sweep the roof of our tenant's building. I wanted to clean the corrugated roof so I could let it as much light as possible for the work area. It was covered with dirt, leaves and branches.

Before I climbed up on the roof, I caught a Georgia O'Keeffe-like image with the ladder, blue sky and adobe feel.  It reminded me of New Mexico.

A two broom job.

A two broom job.

See that blackness beyond the brooms on the corrugated roof? That's the caked up dirt and branches I needed to clean. I wish I took a proper before picture, but the whole thing was covered. I must say, sweeping is one of my favorite activities. It is so satisfying and meditative. I listed to Jessica Pratt as I swept my heart out. 

When I climbed up, it was during the late afternoon, the golden hour and then sunset. It was so nice to watch the afternoon turn to evening from here. I want to come back up and sketch sometime.

My little shadow sweeping.

My little shadow sweeping.

You can see the progress I was making here. I pushed all the debris to the edge of the roof and then used a hose to deeper clean. 

The north view. 

The north view. 

I love that there's still an empty lot behind us. I like seeing the piles of wood, old truck and weeds. I pretend I live in the country sometimes. Here, you can see how clean I got the corrugated roof. Sure, it's not pristine, but as clean as I could get it with the hose. I may hop back up for one more pass. I like how the corrugated texture mirrors the awesome textured garage wall next door. 

You can see how bright the roof is now!

You can see how bright the roof is now!

There's a lot more light now. A few areas of the corrugated plastic need mending since they leak, but it's not in bad shape. All that stuff on the shelves still needs to be gone through. Let me tell you, I have seen some black widows and boxes full of tetanus nails. Thankfully, no animal carcasses so far. It felt like such good progress today. I can't tell you how big this space looks now! It's amazing how claustrophobic rotten piles of wood, leaves and junk can make a space. 

I feel like we should build a little balcony up here so we can watch the sunset. 

I feel like we should build a little balcony up here so we can watch the sunset. 

The next steps will be to:

  • Further clean the side of the house and cut back an awful, thorny vine that's been sneaking in from the neighbor's yard.
  • Clean up the built-in work bench (throw out rusty nails, old cans of paint, rotten wood)
  • Sweep or hose down underneath the roof and workbench to start with a really clean work area

You can read my first post in this series, Art Studio Move, for a more complete list of what I plan on doing. I will be putting all posts related to this in the Home Art Studio Project category if you want to follow along. 

I won't post any pictures until I get the above list done, but here are some sketches of what I think it will look like when I'm done cleaning.