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Before and after studio pictures? This is before

 I thought you artist friends who, like me, produce and sell our work, might be interested in a look at my studio. Warning: it might get ugly. 


       I've heard it said by artists in discussing their future dreams: "I just want a small house and a big studio!"

    And why is it important to us artists to have that place to make art? So important, in fact, that a big studio is preferred over a big house. When my husband David got finished with art school in the '70's, he built a studio space in the pole shed at the farm. He enclosed a space, added a wood floor, put in insulation, a chimney and a Jotul wood stove. 

   Then he met me, married me, and embarked with me on an adventure that has taken 36  years to bring full circle. Now we are literally right back where we started. (Our first date was at the studio!)

      So we are older, wiser, and all that. And very much still needing a place to make art. Our art is varied;it requires supplies, time, and a lot of tools. And cats. Our art includes painting, jewelry making, mixed media collage, leather craft, decorative painting, and wood working. Our future art will include ceramics. There is no end in sight of the need we both have to make art. 

     The need to sell  our art goes hand in hand with the need to make it. Neither one of us is cut from the fabric of making art to just give it away. It's the selling it, the finding the right client for the work , that scratches the itch and completes the cycle.

   Of course all this comes at a price. When I think about the length I have gone to to get in the right shows so I can meet my ideal client, well, it makes me shudder. And if we were to count up the actual hours David has spent on his art that he would not, could not, get paid for, it's pretty insane. And yet there is this need to make art. So we keep figuring it out. How to make it, how to sell it , and how to have that big studio next to the small house.

   So we're doing a little bit of renovations. Like a new floor, insulation, rain gutters, varmint proofing, and lighting. Hopefully we will get it done before the weather turns freezing. 

I have to keep  my vision up of the big studio, because, as you can see, it's little more than a dirt hole right now. Our cats love it, they think it's a huge sand box/ litter box. My work area is the table in the upper right of the photo. Pretty primitive, huh? 

 But you should see the view from here.


 So what does your studio look like? Do you have a big studio and a small house? 


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Comment by Cindy Welch on January 27, 2015 at 9:30am

such a cool view!

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on January 27, 2015 at 1:03am

This was the view outside my studio a couple days ago in CO.  Mule deer does and yearling fawns, 10 total.

Comment by Jacki Bilsborrow on January 27, 2015 at 12:36am

With a view like that you may never want to leave your studio.  Looking forward to more photos as your studio comes along.  Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

Comment by Sandy Walker on January 22, 2015 at 9:37pm

Our studio is actually an enclosed space inside a large pole barn! 

Comment by Ernie Komarek on January 22, 2015 at 1:49pm


Depending on your location, you may want to consider building a pole barn. They are not that difficult to build and go up rather quickly. I've designed many, from loafing sheds to large barns, and can help you if that's an option.

Comment by Jenny Nunnelee on January 22, 2015 at 7:22am

We live in an urban area right now with my studio in the basement. We are right now trying to move to the country to get a cheaper place with more land and i big studio. When we are looking at houses online, I'm much more interested in if there is a pole barn than what the house looks like.

Comment by C.C. Barton on January 21, 2015 at 8:18pm

What a wonderful situation for you.  Hopefully it will be an inviting spot for your grown children to visit you often.  Yes, there's always a downside.  I really have much more living space than I need, but I love this house and studio.  If it were closer to an urban area I wouldn't be complaining at all.  This was supposed to be an interim move for me back when prices were too high for me to move back to Denver.  I didn't know a soul here then and justified my move because the studio space was great, affordable and I would have plenty of uninterrupted time to do my work.  All that is still here and I've made many good friends.  It's a quality of life thing for me.  I love being close enough to good art museums to drop in in the afternoon, I'm a fan of theater and opera and all those things that small towns don't offer.  They sustain me and energize my creativity for my work.  Ah well...we both have lovely roofs over our heads, don't we?  P.S.  To bring some reality into your picture of my glass ceiling.  It is lovely, but it leaks like crazy on my satillo tile floor.  It's okay with me though - it's not a regular living space - more like an enclosed patio area.

Comment by Sandy Walker on January 21, 2015 at 8:03pm

Yes CC, it is a gorgeous piece of property and we are so blessed. It is in farm country in central Indiana. Many years ago my inlaws divided up their acreage and give it to their kids. Since the studio was already in the works there we chose the part of the property with the house and studio. (No other siblings wanted it at the time) We had been living in Florida for 27 years when we made the decision to move back here and claim what had been given us. We definitely came at the right time, because we can work on the studio, work in the studio, and provide help to my mother in law, which is needed. We don't have to pay rent for the studio; the price we are paying is that we re now for away from our three grown children. So it is challenging, but worth it at this chapter of our lives. 

Your glass- ceilinged sunroom studio sounds lovely. I guess we're never really satisfied with where we're at, huh? 

Comment by C.C. Barton on January 21, 2015 at 3:54pm

I thought I posted this earlier, but it must have vanished into one of those internet black holes.  You have a gorgeous piece of property, Sandy.  It looks like the mid-west, but I'm probably wrong about that.  You definitely hit on what most of us want and need.  I have a great old downtown townhouse in a small Colorado town in the southern mountains, with a small-ish, but ideal studio space behind the house through a glass-ceiling sunroom.  The house is really too large for me and the studio a bit too small, but workable.  I'm really wanting to move to be closer to an urban area with all the cultural amenities that I love and I have my eye on Bainbridge Island WA - a short ferry ride away from Seattle.  The problem is finding a place with enough room for me and a studio - that I can afford.  It's a pricy area.  I'd be very happy with a small house, large studio situation if I could find one.  Who knows?  Magic can happen.  I'm very happy for you and the soon-to-be realization of your dreams.  Way to go!

Comment by Christine Noah-Cooper on January 21, 2015 at 3:43pm

My solution - since we have limited property - is to appropriate most of the house. I already "own" the downstairs except for the laundry room (actually I do have my light table in there) and have ventured bit by bit into most rooms except the bedroom.  Have to draw the proverbial line somewhere.  It's messy but workable.  Happily, my husband isn't a neat freak, nor does he have stringent territorial issues.

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