bemusing musings of a bewildered brush-wielder

dever, and my new studio

This Sunday morning, I watched my father in law dip a wool skin into a tray of paint varnish, and then carry it dripping across the floor.  As the light streamed through the windows, the wooden floors transformed from a dull, matte finish, into a shimmering gloss.  Watching him work, I thought of how beautiful a painting this would be, and how it reminded me of a favorite painting of mine, by the artist Gustave Caillebotte.  He worked away, quietly, and I stood on a ladder and spackled a nearby ceiling.  My father in law, Dever, imports beautiful, high end linens from Europe, and houses them in this warehouse, which he himself restored ten years ago.  And now, he is rearranging his entire warehouse, and letting me rent the choice front room for a painting studio.

The Scrapers, by Caillebotte

If no man is an island, then I’m Kansas.  I’m surrounded on every side by people who support, who encourage, who enable me.  After a couple of months of searching, driving around Long Island and looking at warehouses, historic homes, state parks, dilapidated old buildings… I’m excited to announce that I now have a beautiful studio, in Islip, a bike ride away from my home.  In this warehouse space, there are beautiful, tall windows.  But even better, there is an enormous, twelve foot by fifteen foot skylight.  The skylight is currently covered up, but we are soon beginning a carpentry project that will open the skylight up, giving me a beautiful cascade of light from above.  I can’t tell you how ideal this is- it’s the perfect studio.

I’ve been so eager to begin a new series of paintings. I can’t quite describe these canvases in words, but I can say that I was never able to begin these works before, because the facilities and setup of my former studios prevented me from doing so.  Now I can begin them.

And my teaching plans are exciting too.  I will no longer be teaching on the east end of Long Island, but now will be teaching in Islip, one and a half days per week- though I’m offering classes of a different format.  They will be in the tradition of the old world atelier- atelier meaning that the head artist paints alongside his students.  And so, I will be teaching small classes, while drawing and painting alongside my students.  With this studio, I’m able to teach, just as I myself learned at the Charles Cecil Studios in Florence.

Step by step, I plan to incorporate more events into the studio.  Once a month, I plan to give lectures to the general public, on art history.  And eventually, I hope to eventually incorporate music into this evening.  I’m just so grateful to Dever for renting this studio to me, enabling me to take this next step.

And now that I have my own studio, I can enforce my own rules- anybody wearing a French beret will be defenestrated.  Nothing against the French, it’s just that I can’t stand it when artists wear berets.  Ah, the joys of owning my own studio.


6 responses

  1. DG

    NO BERETS!!!!! Is civilization dead? Thank goodness I still have my pith helmet from my forays into the jungle. The top hats were given to the help when I gave up the opera. But then…. there is the fez, hmmm……….

    October 19, 2011 at 5:20 am

  2. Anonymous

    Monsieur artiste. I intend to wear a beret, sip absinthe, and sing a la Piaf at your opening! Congrats.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:58 am

  3. What are the first words God said? “Let there be light.” A studio with a big window and a skylight. Divine!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:28 am

  4. Concetta Schiano

    My dear Kevin, may God continue to bless all that you touch including all your students and subjects. He has your path all planned out and I can see you are obediently following it and your heart. He is giving you the desires of your heart. I’m so proud of you. Love, Mrs. Schiano
    ~ a future student.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:49 am

  5. lmagli

    Exceptional people find themselves surrounded by exceptional experiences. May this be one of your best. Congratulations.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

  6. Anonymous

    The painting, “The Scrapers,” by Caillebotte is one of two of his works on this subject. I happen to have this print hanging in my home. This is exactly how my dad started out. That was before floor sanding machines. It was intense, ab tightening and knee damaging work. Blisters and pain, galour. Calillebotte died in his 40’s from a stroke. Sad, such a talented man, able to relate to the “common” person. Study the picture Kevin. Look at the different people. Check out the bottle of wine to the right. Growing up, that’s all I ever heard about floor scrapers, drunk on the job with beer in paper bags. Dad started out one year prior to the depression in 1928. He would charge two cents a square foot to sand and finish the floor. That’s with the sanding machine. Before the dust bag was introduced on the bag. Talk about your lungs! Other people would say that 2 cents was too much and others would say one cent was too cheap. Strange! But that’s people for you. Miss you! PS: I did an estimate for your father in law a while back. Never got the job however. Right in the area where he was coating the floor. No hard feelings, really. I remember a grape arbor in the back by the driveway. Does this all fall into place?
    Kindest regards as always,
    Carl Färdig

    October 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm

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