Eight years ago, painter Frances Ferdinands changed her life dramatically. She left her studio in an artists’ colony in downtown Toronto to set up shop in a cottage on three acres of land an hour’s drive away. There, Ferdinands could devote herself full-time to her art. No longer did she need to teach three days a week to support living in the city. She named the studio Studio Vimy Fine Art for its location on Vimy Ridge Road. “I wanted to move to something quite opposite of downtown living so most of our neighbors are farmers or hobby farmers,” she says.
In 2017, painter Richard Whadcock leased a workspace at Chartwell Road Studios in England’s south coast. After many years at Phoenix Studios—a complex with one hundred studios—he was looking for an affordable, independent work area that came with more hanging and storage space. Through a commercial leasing agency, he found a self-contained unit in a commercial building in an industrial park in Lancing.
Five years ago, painter Sandy Sokoloff left Boston to live in the more serene and isolated environment of Grand Isle, Vermont. On a whim, he’d earlier visited Lake Champlain, and when the opportunity arose to work on the waterfront, he grabbed it. He was drawn to the area’s natural beauty, as well as its majestic skies and the distant Adirondack Mountains. “I’ve never looked back,” says Sokoloff. “Winter is especially inspiring—isolation and silence.”
No matter what season, artist Alex Egan finds inspiration and comfort in her home-based studio in Norfolk, England. Outside the studio in her brick farmhouse stretches open fields and woodland where sugar beet, barley, and potato crops grow and animals abound. In summer, she spots dragonflies and butterflies, while in the fall she hears stags roaring. Herds of red deer gallop through the marshy water at the bottom of the field, their hooves creating an intoxicating noise. Hares, pheasants, and wading birds roam the area that’s near the Norfolk Broads, a network of navigable rivers and lakes.
Manuel Knapp, a true master of string as fine art, relishes mornings in his third-floor studio in a half-timbered historic building in Grossglattbach, Germany. As he sips his 9 a.m. coffee, he enjoys the quietness of the attic space and witnessing the town slowly awakening—sunlight floats through glass tiles, spotlighting spider webs as he begins his day creating his string sculptures one piece at a time