Creating a Backyard Art Studio

Today let’s talk about my barn. Yes, I have a barn. No, we did not build it (not exactly). Yes, it is in my backyard, and yes it is my studio/work space! Ok, now that those questions have been answered, let’s get to the actual construction; and to how my family and I up ended with a 10 x 12” barn in the first place. Trust me, it makes a statement when living in the middle of San Diego proper.

drywallinstall

I have always dreamed of having my own custom work space, as I am sure many of my fellow creatives can understand. I knew I wanted my studio at home as I needed the flexibility of accessing the space at odd hours and in short bursts, because you know… #lifewithatoddler. We considered using the third bedroom or the garage, but my husband overruled the former and I the latter. He didn’t want the fumes in the house, and I didn’t want the excess spiders and poor lighting that the garage offered. Our only option left- the backyard.

In our many trips to Home Depot, I often swooned at the sheds on display. I finally convinced my husband to look a little closer at these spaces and we both immediately realized that this was the PERFECT studio space. A few months later we bought a barn.

Tuff Shed allows you to customize almost every aspect of your shed online. I chose barn red walls with white trim, high ceilings, spill-proof floors, and three windows. A few weeks later crates of wood and some Tuff carpenters arrived at my house. The studio was installed in less that a day. It was pretty amazing. Now, I should mention that if you go larger that 10 x 12” you have to get a building permit, at least in San Diego, and the land needs to be level or there are additional fees.

puginabarn2

I could have easily worked in the barn at this point, but there were a few issues we felt needed mending before I could work in the space long term. First, light. Good light is SO important as an artist. Although the shed we designed came with three windows and large barn doors, the inside walls were raw wood, and therefore absorbed the light. I needed them to be reflective white. Secondly, the heat. The barn did not come insulated (although that may be an option), thus working in the middle of summer would be pretty miserable. Not to mention, high temps are horrible for oil pastels. Finally, electrical. This I didn’t feel was necessary, but my husband made a good case for the importance of artificial light.

I would love to give you step by step instructions on installing drywall and electrical, but that was with the help of Youtube, experts’ advice, and my electrical savvy brother-in-law. My husband is also the king of DIY so he would have to write such a post. However, feel free to email me or comment down below with specific questions. I have also included photos for you to see some of the process.

tuffsheddrywall

Five-hundred plus words later, I give you my backyard barn! Maybe next post I will give you an indoor studio walk through, you know my favorite supplies and such? I also fully-intend on writing about my surrounding garden so more on my creative space to come!

backyard barn

Artist Residency in Iceland

It’s 4:30 am and I am drinking out of my touristy Iceland mug attempting to reap the benefits of jet-lag by getting to work on this post. If you didn’t know, I had a good run with blogging a few years ago and at one point writing a post was a simple task. Today, my writing skills are incredibly rusty and I am struggling to put into words my experience in Iceland and my short time as a NES Artist in Residence. (Leave in the comment section below if you’d like me to tell you more about my decision to do a residency and what one entails.)

 fields near Salthús House - Skagaströnd, Iceland

fields near Salthús House - Skagaströnd, Iceland

There is so much I could say about this country, but for the sake of post-length I will leave this entry to how Iceland moved me. Have you ever walked through a “haunted house” or a ghost town? Even just an old home with a cold draft and a cool muffled light dancing through the window panes? That is what Iceland as a country feels like all the time. I don’t mean scary, although my drive to the airport with rain, 30 mph winds, and one lane roads was pretty terrifying. What I mean to describe is the stillness and the emptiness, but most importantly that underlying energy of every being and life-form that existed in that space before. To me, that is Iceland. You can feel her age and her indestructibility. She is almost another presence unto her own. Her rocks, winds, seas and grasses follow you around like a ghost. The countryside, in particular, is timeless. There are so few touches of modernity across the Northwest that it is as though you are walking alongside vikings or 19th century farmers, or maybe just the sheep who were present for both.

So isn’t it perfect that the artist who is most inspired by timelessness and the past partakes in an artist residency that places her in a land that embodies both? I hope the answer is obvious. Now, how to translate all of this into art... More on that to come :).

 sketching at the point near Salthús House - Skagaströnd, Iceland

sketching at the point near Salthús House - Skagaströnd, Iceland

 point near Salthús House - Skagaströnd, Iceland

point near Salthús House - Skagaströnd, Iceland

 found crab claw and sketch - Skagaströnd, Iceland

found crab claw and sketch - Skagaströnd, Iceland

 view from our bedroom - Skagaströng, Iceland

view from our bedroom - Skagaströng, Iceland