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Are you considering the value of having a studio?

It’s such a luxury to have an art studio. During the pandemic I took a two-week “marathon” at the New York Studio School with Clintel Steel. We went to various locations in Harlem in the mornings to make sketches with color notes and used these to create large, really large, oil paintings in the school’s studios in the afternoons. Such large paintings would not be possible in my small apartment nor have I wanted to paint in oils in the space where I live.

Luckily, I learned from Clintel about a building, one that was in one of my sketches, that rents art studios. I had long wanted to have an art space of my own and jumped at the chance to fulfill my dream. Slowly, I filled it with art materials, tables, easels, books and went there three or four times per week. I painted the view from inside the studio, took my easel outside to paint the Hudson and street scenes, and painted various still-life set-ups within the studio. I copied drawings and paintings of master artists. I listened to podcasts about color theory and drawing techniques and worked along with them. I invited friends to paint with me. I started to paint in oils and continue to enjoy that challenge. Soon my walls were filled with finished paintings. Friends and other artists have commented that my art took a leap. I stopped giving away paintings and considered myself a professional whose work is worth paying for.

Renting an art studio has been a joy and a boost to my sense of myself as an artist. Even though I don’t go there as often as I did originally, it’s become my refuge: a place to paint, to share art with friends, to embrace the messiness of art supplies, to escape to my own “country house.” It takes only 20-minutes to get there - by subway, bus, or Citibike (walking takes about an hour). 

If you are lucky enough to find an art studio that you can afford, be sure that it’s easy to access. If not, it may be a struggle to motivate yourself to go there. Display your work so that you can witness your growth. If you enjoy painting with others, share your painting experiences with other artists. If not, immerse yourself in your own work. If you want to try other media (pastels, oils), fill your space with supplies. No amount of mess is too much. Only sell your work - you are a professional!

Good luck in finding an art studio!

Brigitte Bentele

1100 Watercolor Society Artist

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