A View From the Easel 

Welcome to the 225th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. This week, artists pay homage to beloved horses, tune into the radio while they work, and rely on pets to keep them honest, plus an update from a California-based artist on rebuilding her practice after her home was destroyed in a wildfire.

Want to take part? Check out our submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us! All mediums and workspaces are welcome, including your home studio.

Eileen R. Tabios, Saint Helena, California

Eileen Tabios studio 1

In 2020, one of California’s mega-wildfires demolished my residence. I managed an online gallery from my studio which the fire shut down. In my smaller rental house, I created a gallery, not even in a closet but on closet doors. A bedroom-studio contains a closet with two sliding doors. I made the front closet door be like the entrance to a gallery and that’s where I affixed my sign for “The Refugee’s Art Gallery.” When you slide the front door away, you’ll see the second closet door where I “hang” artworks. Since there’s only a 3/8-inch space between the two doors, I can only display flat art in what may be the world’s thinnest gallery. You can compare the space with my prior studio that Hyperallergic included in a previous A View From the Easel. I collaborate with artists. For example, the image shows watercolors by Melinda Luisa de Jesús that I integrated into an installation. A paper print-out is my gallery sign and I make visible the blue painter’s tape for hanging artworks. Ultimately, I want to manifest the gallery’s post-fire slogan of “Art is Resilient,” even against a wildfire that burned nearly 70,000 acres in California.

Carol Connor, Almont, Colorado

Studio picture Hyperallergic copy

My studio is an old log cabin on a working cattle ranch where I live, high in the Rocky Mountains, near the edges of wilderness. This has been my workspace for 20 years. My only source of heat is a wood-burning stove, so I begin my studio time splitting wood, building a fire, and yes, carrying water. Here, in the front room, I draw and paint, using a combo of mediums, including acrylic paint. I work on many pieces at a time. In warmer months, I make found and altered object assemblages in the unheated back rooms of the building. You can see several on the old desk in the corner.

I spend a lot of time outdoors in a most beautiful environment, which connects me deeply to nature, which infuses my work. My paintings are meant to evoke questions about the elements through an intuitive lens. What is going on in seemingly empty spaces in the landscape? What shapes, colors, and symbols represent what is vibrating, pulsing, trying to happen and emerge? What does rain tell rock, wind tell water, stars tell mountains?

Horses are an essential part of my life. I have drawn and painted them ever since I can remember. My horses live in a pasture below my studio, where I can see them out of the windows.

Jay Zerbe, Michigan City, Indiana

Jay Zerbe Studio

My studio’s work area has canvas down on top of rubber mats to make standing for long sessions easier on my feet and back. It has three large windows facing north with a view of the meadow outside. In this photo, it is winter, so the outside vegetation doesn’t show as much. My 12-foot ceiling has two banks of lights that run the length of the studio: one with warm fluorescents, and the other with 6500k daylight floods. I have a radio tuned to NPR. All my monographs on artists are on a large bookshelf opposite the windows. I have two easels — one on the east side, and one on the west side. My palette is located in front of the center window.

Philip Swan, Irvington, New York

Philip Swan Studio

What you see in this photo is an open window with natural light cascading onto my work table. I’ve been using a work table instead of an easel for years now. On the wall hang two new paintings that are in the process of being finished. A life mask of Beethoven looks on to keep me honest while my dog looks up expectantly to keep me more honest. I prefer a work table to an easel because it allows me to adjust the angle of the work more fully when I’m using an oil stick or using solvents to dissolve a layer of oils in a way where the residual traces of flow matter. I use masking tape a lot in my work, so I like to have a variety of tape dimensions immediately at hand right above the table. I prop up canvases drenched in solvent on the canvas draped over the chair. Natural light is far superior to anything artificial, but when the sun goes down I use the flexible lighting between the rolls of tape. 

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