I take my studio everywhere I go. My real studio is in my mind. That’s where all the creative ideas happen. The rest is just the application. But my physical studio? That resides in a 200+ year old barn. That’s the space where the paint hits the canvas and where ideas are fashioned and into reality.
The genesis begins on a 10′ behemoth, wooden work-table, which once served as a roadside farm stand. This is the stage from where I create my large-scale backdrops, canvas paintings and where I pay homage to the gold leafing gods. Classic motifs, all things French and theatrical are always inspiring me.
Connected to my painting room is a room I dubbed “the holding room.” It’s a room that houses my finished pieces of artwork and product designs. It shoulders the burden of all the overflow of prolific works constantly in flux. It was originally the milking parlor in the barn from years past. My husband and I added all the stone floors and walls to the room to emulate my love of old stone barns that I so adore.
I look at them every day with slight satisfaction that my hands were the ones that pressed the stones together.
“Stop looking at the walls, look out the window.” —Karl Pilkington
These rooms are situated in the backside of the barn with views of lively changing seasons and my beloved farm pets. Taking up residence as “studio mascot” is Darlin’, a spirited jersey cow we purchased “on a lark” 3 years ago. She’s quite the character and indulges my need to “doll her up” on occasion with wreaths for her neck or glitter for her ear tag (true story).
The creative process is so much more than just the paint. It’s just one facet of a much larger scheme. Select ideas and designs make their way to patterns or print for my home décor collection “Decorum”. I originally started self-producing product back in 2015 and re-branded and relaunched my amended line of home goods in 2020. Velveteen pillows, printed backdrops, velvet-embossed books, wrapping papers, zippered pochettes and silk scarves are currently on the “Decorum” menu.
A large part of being an artist is knowing when not to quit but knowing when to stop.
Growing pains are highly welcomed, although what’s a girl to do with spatial concerns? In my case, I looked up to the loft. High above my studio is a wide open, airy barn loft. A space I can set scenes to capture through photos and tell the story of original artwork and product through ephemeral, vintage-fueled and fanciful vignettes. The installations are short lived. Whispers on the wind. Here today, gone tomorrow, only captured by photographs. Just images remain.
It’s a space of revolving antique props or just pieces I create myself to fill the moment’s need. I am in love with the barn loft for its raw state. It’s a bit drafty and a bit unfinished and uncouth, but that means I can keep reviving the space with endless possibilities. It’s the art of reinvention that keeps me going and keeps me from becoming stagnant.
Not becoming complacent is so important to me as an artist. Not just for myself, but it’s such a visually centric world we live in nowadays. Endless scrolling in a world where every outlet is saturated with so much good. Lucky for me, I’m the curious sort and thrive on knowledge and change. The world is so fast paced, but yet I’ve learned that short cuts can’t be taken. The creative process is riddled with pitfalls, mistakes, hard lessons and do-overs that you just can’t skip over if you want to grow.
For me it’s a life of constant honing your skills and evolution. Where I’ve found as much success in saying “no” as well as “yes” and that trusting my gut has served me well. It’s a life of constant editing and evolution. Where telling your own story, in your own voice, is paramount. I’ve learned that some ideas are better as ideas, and to decipher the difference. But when something really takes, that’s just gold.