Friday, March 4, 2016

Studios-Part 1

The year after grad school, I had a studio on Capitol Hill. It was the top floor of an old building and had been a parking garage. A auto repair shop took up the ground floor. The old ramp was boarded up. The wood floor was coated in peeling paint. And probably layers of toxic stuff.

The managers put in a little bathroom.  I had three different spaces there, each one progressively smaller. The first, a huge space with three west-facing windows, I framed, dry-walled, mudded, and painted.

I was working full-time at Frame It, Ltd. with not a lot of free time. When a smaller, cheaper space opened, I switched. It had north light. Even that was a financial stretch. Finally, I framed and drywalled a wide section of the hallway for a small studio. No windows.

Then, as now, Capitol Hill parking was terrible. It was free, but you could only park for two hours and those meter readers were there the exactly when time was up. I got numerous parking tickets.

At some point during this year I became pregnant and quit my job. I couldn't afford even the tiny space.

I set up a work space in our small house in Lake City. I didn't paint much with a new baby. When we bought a two-bedroom house in Ballard, we had even less room. I had another baby.

We built a separate garage which became the laundry and my studio. I set up an intercom and worked in the early morning before the kids were up.

To gain three bedrooms, we moved to a ranch-style house in Shoreline, more than doubling our space. Part of the unfinished basement became my studio. The kids grew older, my mom moved in and required care.

I created work from 8"x8" up to 4'x6'. Because they were created under artificial light, those paintings look best in the evening under incandescent light. The basement windows are few and small.

After my daughter moved out and my mom moved to assisted living, I set up office space in the smallest bedroom. I still do all computer work here and run my virtual assistant business.

There is a drawing table under there.

Planning and reference center

Computer and printer station

I would like to say that it doesn't usually look like this, but I would be a liar.

I've longed for an outside studio with its lack of distractions and responsibilities. No siren call of food, books and TV. No prod of necessary house projects.

Over the years I have looked for outside studio space. It is priced out of my reach. The cheapest I've seen $125 per month for 4'x12' with no windows. About the size of my hallway. I suspect it is a hallway.