Home Art A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine

A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine

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This is the 163rd installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has changed their studio space and/or if they are focusing on particular projects while quarantining. Want to take part? Submit your studio — just check out the submission guidelines.

Alexandrya Eaton, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

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I have been pretty fortunate that I have still been able to go to my studio, which is located down the street from my house, in a small university town in Atlantic Canada. I work alone in a renovated barn that was originally built as horse stables in the 1850s. I moved in last year after 12 months of renovating, bringing this old building back to life as a light-filled space. I like the feeling of heritage buildings, they feel solid to me, and I find comfort in that.

My work has changed slightly; I’m painting more landscapes and the sun keeps showing up in all my new paintings. I haven’t necessarily felt productive but I have still done a lot of work. Some days it’s hard to be motivated but other times I feel a freedom in isolation. I have been experimenting and using my time wisely, stretching canvas, archiving photos. All in all I just feel more reflective, more aware, and grateful for the time and space to be creative.

Lydia Quinones, Phoenix, Arizona

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When I enter the tiny spare room in my apartment, like Mister Rogers, I put on my art pants which are laid on the table from the prior day. I rarely wash these pants, so they’re covered in clay, oil paint, beeswax, and house paint. My workspace is limited to the parameters of my collapsible plastic table. I’m not able to rent studio and kiln space for my ceramics due to the quarantine, hence I have a lot of greenware sculptures packed away in boxes. To compensate for a kiln, I tried to make paperclay but toilet paper was hard to obtain, so I resorted to building with papier-mâché from old student homework assignments.

My tiny temporary studio has everything I need within reach: earbuds on the wall for listening to movies, a carrousel of random tools, a pair of very used latex gloves draped over the only lamp, and white paper taped to the wall for photographing partially completed artworks. Along with toilet paper, rubber gloves were difficult to find in stores, so after I finish my sculptures with oil paint, I delicately drape my gloves over the lamp to air out the sweat inside.

Grant Drumheller, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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After a month stay, I left Rome early because of COVID-19 in late February. It was a winter getaway cultural/painting trip. I moved my studio home and took over a bedroom in my house. I live on a small island off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, connected by a causeway.

I repurposed the dresser to hold paint and supplies. I work with a small travel easel and it keeps me below 23 inches in any direction. Some weeks I work in gouache and then switch to oil for a while. My goal is to take the key aspects from the gouaches — the clean color, the shapes both descriptive and structural — and bring them to the oil paintings.

I walked a lot in Rome in February and that has become part of the daily regimen here. I see the lobstermen and other fishermen and though it is a theme I started last year, their individuality and self-reliance seem to be especially resonant. I am also working from observation on small still lives of flowers, recording the progression of the spring to summer through my garden. Painting my family is also a preoccupation at this point. For any number of reasons, what could be more important now?

Cara DeAngelis, Danbury, Connecticut

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My cluttered but productive view. The space may be small but the lighting is great with windows on two walls plus skylights. I typically work at three stations depending on the size of the piece: small works or works on paper are at the table in the center; most paintings are on the easel; and large works are on the wall to the right where a six-foot painting has been for the past year. It will get done someday.

My overhead lighting is comprised of a “daylight” fluorescent that is on an arm that I can move around the room depending where I am working.  So useful.

I have both the good and ill fortune of having a full-time day job on top of my studio practice. I can only work nights and weekends in the studio, but with the new “work-from-home” quarantine rules, I save two hours of commuting every day, and can put those two additional hours into the studio, or actually just RESTING! Something that I didn’t do much before.

The furry guys with tails are my studio assistants, of course!

Veronica Scharf Garcia, Bergamo, Italy

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When we arrived in Bergamo, there were just a few cases of the virus in all of Italy. Quickly, Bergamo became the center of the world’s outbreak. While in Italy’s lockdown, I was able to work with the few art materials I always carry with me. We’d been living out of our suitcases for two years, traveling. I was able to make use of this section of our rental by improvising a studio with two stacked nightstands, a barstool and a great view. I also had an ironing board if I needed extra space for my pieces. My work really progressed and evolved; I am grateful.

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