Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The studio project

Painting in the studio (see the great light from the skylight and window?) • photo © 2010 Nathan Ingalls

I am blessed to be able to use as my studio part of a barn near Calistoga. I have two skylights, two windows, and amazing light; two doors, one with ramp access and the other one a big barn door (great for bringing big paintings in and out).

Insulating with wool in progress
photo © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Slowly, I've been getting work done on the studio as well as in it. When I was searching for a good (and cheap) way to insulate the walls, another painter suggested sheep's wool, which is sometimes used for insulation in England and Canada. A renewable resource – it's green! And I knew people with sheep and wool and no place to take it, which is how I wound up insulating the barn walls with wool. My landlord also gave me some old foamboard insulation, which sped up the process enormously. I like that this has been a green project – keeping both the wool and the foamboard out of the landfill.

Insulating with wool in progress
(I used the white PVC pole to tamp the wool into place behind the board) • photo © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

All but two sections of wall are insulated now, and most of them are covered by oriented-strand board. Lately, I've been working on filling gaps in the wall with expanding foam and spackle, cutting off the foam and sanding it and the spackle, and priming the walls. I'm working on one side of the studio, and I'm happy to see it all beginning to come together....

Getting a little enthusiastic testing colors
photo © 2011 Karen Lynn Ingalls

The next step is to paint over the primer. This side of the studio will have darker walls. I went a little overboard in my enthusiasm (and confusion) about what direction to go, color-wise. It was fun, though. (Beware those little tester paint pots – they are soooo seductive. And some of the test colors I mixed myself with student-grade acrylics.)

My Mark Rothko wall
photo © 2011 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I thought this wall was looking a bit like Mark Rothko.... (No, I didn't really need to paint the light strip in the middle - I just really, really wanted to turn the wall, for a moment, into an homage to Rothko. The temptation was too great.…)

Zoe, enjoying the view from the studio at twilight
photo © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I think I've settled on wall colors now (none of the ones you see above). I tested them next to nearly every painting in the studio. We'll see how they work!

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