Before we talk about your studio, tell us abour yourself as an artist.
Although I was always attracted to Impressionism I started painting the traditional style following the ways of the old masters. I later broke away from the traditional style to pursue Impressionism.
At first, I found it quite challenging to tackle the Impressionist techniques. With Impressionist paintings you want your paintings to be colorful, vibrant and full of texture.
I want my paintings to elate the viewer. I choose subjects that are pleasant as well as interesting. I find great beauty in European subjects and architecture. France and Italy have produced some of the most wonderful artists in the world. They are also my favorite countries. I have been painting pictures of Rome in watercolor since I was a teenager.
I try to make my paintings interesting to look at from a distance as well as up close, and the composition must be good. In portraiture, it must be a good painting, not just a good likeness. It often takes me longer to paint the backdrop for a portrait than the portrait itself.
Where is your studio located?
In my home. I utilize my upstairs loft as my studio. It is ideally suited because it is a large open area with plenty of light and good ventilation. There is also plenty of wall space to hang my paintings.
What are the most important elements of your studio?
Efficiency. I organize my studio in a way that I can find things easily. Cleanliness is also important. I am a fan of disposable supplies because I dislike clean up. I use paper palettes and even my mixing cups are disposable.
How do you handle storage?
I find multi-shelf storage bins with wheels quite handy. They take up a small amount of space but can hold a lot of items, and can be moved around easily. I keep all my paints and paint brushes on a table next to my easel.
Any tips for studio organization?
Ideally, you should keep all your painting tools and art materials in the immediate area where you work. Keep items that you use all the time, such as paints, paint brushes, solvent, and palettes, right next to your easel. You can keep items that you only use once in a while in multi-shelf storage bins. A small bookcase in your studio can also be useful for storing art books and reference materials.
What advice would you give to a new artist?
Quality before quantity.
Any favorite books you like to keep in your studio library?
I collect all sorts of art books, but my favorites are books on Impressionism. I have a good collection of books on Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Post-Impressionists, old masters and major museum collections. I also collect books on painting techniques. One such book that I find valuable is “Techniques of the Great Masters of Art” published by Quantum Book. This book is a guide to the techniques of over seventy of the greatest painters. It was compiled with the aid of a panel of picture conservators and art historians specializing in painting techniques.
Also, if you happen to be an Impressionist enthusiast, “The Impressionists, the Other French Revolution”, a two-volume DVD set produced by A&E, is a must-have. It gives you a complete history of the French Impressionism movement as well as the intriguing life story of every major French impressionist painter. It is very well produced and exciting to watch.
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