Catherine Eaton Skinner feels fortunate to have two extraordinary studios to create her mixed-media works. In her Seattle studio, she completes more paintings, taking advantage of the city’s energy, while in her secondary studio in Santa Fe, she does more thinking and planning. She divides her time between the two studios, both built fifteen years ago.
In 2007, Krista Harris renovated her log cabin studio in Bayfield, Colorado. Her 16′ x 32′ studio could not accommodate her large acrylic paintings nor the materials she needed—she was in an experimental phase that suited her. “This was a great investment in myself and my work, giving me validation and freedom,” says Harris. To finance the renovation, she sold her car.
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design last year, Bo Kyung Kim was looking for a studio in Providence. She wanted a studio near her home or work since she didn’t have a car and winters in that area can be quite cold. None met these requirements, so she decided to set up a studio at home. She’s pleased that in her home-based studio, she can easily do the technique of layering and sealing using Hanji, traditional Korean paper. “Hanji appears most beautifully under sunlight,” said Kyung Kim. “Warmth and sunlight coming through a big window creates a peaceful moment for me to meditate, which leads to the biggest inspiration of my work.”
For the past thirty years, Bette Ridgeway has worked full-time as an artist, painting colorful canvases in large and small studios. Most recently, she converted a 14′ x 14′, light-filled bedroom in her Santa Fe home into a working studio. She removed doors from a long closet and put in three large metal bookcases to store art supplies. This allows her to preserve floor space so that she can create paintings as long as 130 inches. For large commissions, she also has access to a big warehouse with a 13′ ceiling.
Nancy McTague-Stock has worked in various studios, both here and abroad, including in an old castle in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France last October. She received the Denis Diderot grant, which funded part of her stay, in a tiny village surrounded by green fields and forests. There, working in a small studio, she was inspired to work on small photographic pieces and works on paper instead of large paintings as she would back in her Connecticut studio.
Thirty years ago, sculptor Margaret Swan converted a garage at her home into an artist studio. The five-hundred-square-foot garage, which is behind her Victorian house in a Boston suburb, boasts a high-peaked roof loft space. “It is not a source of inspiration, but a place for inspiration to take place,” says Swan.
More than twenty-five years ago, PD Packard bought a boarded-up brownstone in Brooklyn that had been vacant for a decade. Friends nicknamed it the Adam’s family house, but to her, the entire home was inspirational, allowing her to express her true love, color—contrasting sharply with the Federal brick colonial she grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where all the walls were painted white.