I have a lovely pastoral view from my studio. And when I first moved in I was thrilled to have clerestory windows to boot. More natural light! But I’ve pulled all the studio window shades shut in the front room where I spend most of my time. The painting room. Why you ask?
Because now I get it. I finally really understand why, historically, artists prefer studio spaces with diffuse northern light. As it happens, all of the windows in the chicken house studio face south. Bright harsh south. It casts distracting rectangles of light on my painting wall. The fact is I love strong light and shadow as a dramatic environment within a painting but just not as an environment in which to paint.
The practicality of the window shades extends to preventing reflections on the computer screen where I view and manipulate reference images, among other tasks. They also block unwanted light when I photograph a painting. For several years I taped black trash bags to the windows but in 2019 I finally bought some proper shades.
Back in 2014 we had a dividing wall (with glass doors and a large picture window) built to create two rooms and make heating and cooling more economical. Not wanting to lose the open feeling we looked for windows at the Habitat for Humanity Re Store.
Those interior windows now also have shades shut. So I’m thinking I could have had a simpler wall and hung more paintings!, but I do like that I can open everything up.
I am fortunate and grateful to have a big space all to myself (accessible during covid19 shelter in place no less). And well placed artificial light can do wonders. The studio, and my understanding of workspace ergonomics, is ever evolving and there are other improvements I’ll report in the future.
Have you had any ergonomic revelations? Let me know in the comments!
(For more about the studio read part 1: the beginnings and working on the studio. For more shadowy paintings see the original portfolio and horses portfolio. And to see the painting in the photo shoot (Cat Pile Up) see limbs 2 portfolio.)