A view from the easel

Welcome to the 202nd issue of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workplace. In this issue, artists share their thoughts on their canine companions, nature, color and creativity, and the easel itself.

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Ava Blitz, Philadelphia, Pa

My sculpting studio is my garage, beautifully connected to nature, where I work on stone and foam carvings and cast in plaster and cement during the warmer months. The courtyard houses major exterior works. Inside I work on assemblages, installations and surface treatments in a variety of materials. I share space with lawnmowers and bicycles while sculptural forms are stored in the basement. It’s a living/working situation, perfect during forced Covid isolation. My works on paper studio, material and process driven painting, drawing and photography reside in the attic where file folders and indoor sculpture installations live under the eaves!

I’ve found my work shifted to a smaller, more intimate scale during Covid, with objects that can be easily held in the hand. I have made some assemblages of found objects from stones I collect and I continue to fuse two and three dimensions.

I live alone and during the pandemic work has kept me sane. In early 2020 I was working in a small dark room outside of my home. That Pandemic Wall Series expressed conflicts in the form of grids and calligraphic gestures. Summer came and I was mesmerized by the bounty of local produce. I said that I painted very detailed and precise still lifes in oils, the opposite of my earlier Pandemic abstractions. I felt blessed to be able to do everything from play the piano with four hands, to stretch and contract.

I moved into this studio at the end of 2021. The 300 square meter room is located in an old brick school building, now the Second Ward Foundation. The studio feels huge and bright, with natural light pouring in from left side windows overlooking a wooded area. The paintings on the walls continue the series constellations, pointing to stillness and contemplation. Music of the Spheres is on the back wall, behind it the larger unstretched yellow canvas and those on the right wall belong to the Earth series.

In 2022 I rescued Mellie, a little dog, she is a good companion and assistant and likes to take possession of my chair.

For me, creativity is “two heads”. My studio reflects these two mindsets: serious/playful; messy/organized; sublime/ridiculous; intentional/accidental. Abstract art is a delightful exploration of colour, form and line. It’s exciting and challenging to create work that doesn’t relate to the physical world, and yet the physical world that is my studio, my physical world is full of oddities and full of my own story. Color, always color: in my life, my studio and my paintings.

This is a view of my studio in Stone Ridge, NY taken from one of my easels. I have the impression that easels have lost popularity. Many artists like to pin their canvas directly to the wall or support the canvas on cans of paint and lean it against the wall. With limited wall space in my studio, I find easels work best, and I have five of them. My workspace usually has 4 or 5 large screens running at the same time. I move the pictures from easel to easel and off the wall and back. At the same time I work on pieces of Evolon paper, about 15-20 at a time, which I attach to boards that are easy to move around the studio. Rotating the work from top to bottom, side to side or vertical to horizontal, and from one area of ​​the studio to another helps keep my perspective fresh and my approach spontaneous. What happens in one painting can affect another; A surprising breakthrough in one work can help me navigate another.

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