From January 2015

Waiting For Paint To Dry

The Slowly Evolving Studio

I’m still at work on the new home studio – it’s a slow evolution and I’m okay with that.  Typically, I’m what you might call an “instant gratification girl”, but this project is unfolding in it’s own slow (sweet) time.

I’ve squeezed in bits and pieces of the studio transformation into an already busy life.  Honestly, slowing down has allowed me to honor what I truly want in a new creative space.  So no big reveal yet – but it’s coming soon.  Here’s a tiny hint for you – a picture of my new chalkboard wall – which I adore!

There’s been only one major disappointment – I’d drawn up a DIY industrial style shelf unit and had planned to build it this past weekend.  However, once I began counting parts, I realized I’d need 80 flanges, 320 screws, 40 pieces of pipe and well . . . NOT!  Way too complex and UN-FUN – so I’m using what I have until I find an affordable and FUN solution.  C’est la vie.

Having this space is such a blessing.  Never have I had a place to art journal, paint, write and lounge all in one place.  These pieces are all part of my particular creative pie – something I didn’t know until I knew.

I began painting 5 years ago when I took part in an online painting and writing class with Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  By the end of that 6 month class, I’d brazenly began calling myself an Artist and co-rented a studio with my Mom, a life long painter.

Shiloh warmly giggled on hearing my bold announcement that I’d signed a warehouse studio lease.  She told me, “You’ll have breakthroughs because you’ve made a home for the Muse”.  She was right!  I’ve had many artistic breakthroughs in these past 5 years.  I believe my new home studio will witness many more . . . honor the Muse and she will come a’calling!






My New Studio “Vision”

This weekend, we are painting the room where my new home studio will soon reside.  AND if we’re industrious, we’ll also build a set of fairly simple (I hope) DIY shelves.  So this morning, I had an “idea jam session” for the studio – complete with lists, a room layout and a rough shelf design.  Pinterest has been of enormous help – the board I created is here.


While a floor plan can seem good on paper, sometimes it has to be tweaked in real life.  This studio must function well for making art and writing, but it’s just gotta include a lounge area for reading and break time.  I’ve got two dark brown leather recliners – the leather is worn and yummy.  Ralph Lauren would love them!  I’ll probably keep them as is – but slipcovers are an option should I ever want a different look.

I’ll move my desk from it’s current kitchen location and use two filing cabinets as a base for a wood topped credenza.  My printer, paper, printing supplies and home files can all live there.  Ah storage and function!  Over the credenza, I’m dreaming of a beautiful pin board.  I will likely make my own using an over the top ornate frame – I want pretty and inspiring!

My happiest plan is to paint the wall surrounding the fire place (YES a fire place!) with chalkboard paint.  I cannot wait to do this!  You can have chalkboard paint tinted with any color now – so unsure if I’ll choose a wild color or stick with black.  Hmmmm.  Wild will probably win!

The shelves we will build are an industrial style.  They’ll be made of walnut stained wood and steel pipe!  I have a large wall to fill and that’s a good thing – I have TONS of books and need to house lots of art supplies.  I envision the art supplies stowed in large baskets on the bottom shelves.  Because this room is now a den, we have a nice TV that will have a place on the shelf unit as well.

As for art making, I have plans for an art journaling station.  I already own an awesome black tool cabinet with drawers (yay for my industrial style theme).  It has a butcher block top – this will be the ideal art journaling desk – with storage for my supplies.  All I need is a bar height stool to complete that area.

As for painting, I’ll bring in my easel.  It will set it atop a large commercial floor mat to keep paint drips tamed.  I have that rolling cart from Ikea that every artist seems to have now.  It will serve as a portable paint table beside my easel.  I’m blessed with tons of windows in this room – the painting light will be amazing!

As you can tell, I want everything to be considered and well executed.  Here’s sketches of the floor plan and shelf design I made below.  I’m so excited!





I hope my plans inspire you to clear a bit of space for your own Muse – be it a table, a shelf or a “portable” studio stashed under your bed . . . I’ve had them all!

I’ll be painting and building shelves this weekend, so I’ll see you next week!  The plan is to take lots of before and after pictures to share as this project unfolds.  See you soon!


On The Grid

As we all know by now, life can change in an instant, still we forget.  I was reawakened to this knowing when I got word of a dear one’s sudden health crisis – the kind of news that rocks you off center.  I needed “grounding” in a very real way, so yesterday I trekked to my neighboring bird sanctuary to feel the sun on my face.

It’s January, but Southern California is pretending it’s Spring.  Recent rains have re-wetted The Wetlands causing fluorescent lime ground cover and lonely yellow blooms to burst onto the scene.


After less than 10 minutes into my hike, I surrendered to the salt air, breathing more deeply than I had in days.  I felt myself center “on the grid” . . . field tripping school children and the metropolis of Los Angeles to my North.


Snow clad mountains shadowing our desert getaway to the West.


To my South, were miles more coast line and ultimately, Mexico.


The nearby seashore held a line of freighters awaiting harbor entry, the island of Catalina and the great Pacific Ocean to my West.


There I was at the center of my own little Universe and it was . . .


When the world gets scary and overwhelming, it’s good to know where you are.  Here.  Now.  Present.





Claiming Space For The Muse

The start of the new year has brought some major moving and shaking in the Hanson household – and it all started with such a simple question.  My husband Derek, having recently begun working with leather, asked if I’d be willing to give up my backyard studio.  What?  The man has been struck by the Muse and wanted a studio of his very own!  However, he suggested that I relocate my studio into a seldom used upstairs den space in our home.  (We practically live in a smaller downstairs den.)

Honestly, I felt I should just give him the space – after all, I have a warehouse studio that I share with my Mom, a lifelong artist.  It’s where I do my larger painting on canvas – something that’s difficult to do in my tiny backyard studio.  Isn’t it too much to have a larger home studio AND a shared warehouse space?  Surely that’s being selfish.

My husband did not agree.  He wants me to have it!  Over the next hour, he asked me at least five times to do this.  He nearly twisted my arm, but in the end he convinced me that it was all good.   I’m so glad he did.

So over the past couple of weeks, we’ve begun working towards our studio makeovers.  Somehow, that one decision has snowballed into a flurry of activity – it’s now a house wide project!  There are walls to be painted, clearing to be done, moving this, donating that . . .  Yes, it’s a lot of work – one worth every back breaking moment.

I’ve had plenty of time to think while painting endless walls.  I believe that honoring one’s creative work is very important.  Both of us need creative space. Derek needs a space devoted solely to an emerging passion.  I need greater space to delve more deeply into the work I never do in my shared space – writing, blogging, art journaling, sketching and class work.  And yes, I’ll be able to paint there too if I wish.  Oh my gosh – I can paint at midnight if I want!

We’ve yet to touch either of our future studio spaces – we’re working our way there as time permits.  I’ve decided to blog my way through it – so I hope you’ll join in the adventure….stay tuned for more!