The past couple of years have been good for my art business!  I have sold quite a few paintings even with the pandemic! I have stayed busy painting and even started teaching art classes via Zoom.  But....

    I have outgrown my art space!  Actually, my husband and I were sharing an office and over the past 5 years I have slowly been squeezing him into a smaller and smaller area.  His area now consists of about 4 feet of wall space, lol!

    The good news is that he took action and has bought me a large portable building to turn into an art studio!  It is 12 x 20, a repo that the original owners were finishing out inside.  So it was already wired for electric, insulated, and partially drywalled.  I will need to add windows on the north wall, add a few more electric outlets, then finish out the drywall, paint, trim and flooring, then it will be ready to move into. I'm very excited that I will have room for students to come work with me and patrons can come to view my finished pieces and work in progress! It will sit across the driveway from our house and form a courtyard with our garage.  We will also add window boxes, lattice underpinning, and potted plants around it to make it look like a little cottage. It's very cute as it is, built to look like a small barn with trim around the double doors and windows, but we want to add a few more touches to make it look even better!

    Currently it is soft green with white trim.  But our house is yellow with aqua trim, so we will eventually paint it aqua with white trim to compliment the house and possibly yellow shutters. Right now though it is fine as we're more concerned with getting the inside up and running. 

    This will be a big boost to my business because my "bread and butter" work are my poured paintings which sell at a local gallery. (due to the pandemic, I left the out-of-town galleries) The pouring work is currently taking up our screened back porch but needs to be inside where it stays clean and dry, not to mention air-conditioned here in the FL heat! It will also allow me to clear my drying table for students to use when I'm not pouring.  I tend to pour a large batch of paintings at one time which is much more practical, plus I will have the room to buy in bulk and store the needed canvas and frames. These factors are important if you want to make a profit. 

     We are very fortunate that our son-in-law Louie, is a finish carpenter and is willing to help us out with the work. He is very kind to say the least, and he wanted one of my large paintings so it works out, right?  Oh, and I am throwing in a new set of golf clubs he really wants, lol! 

     I am hoping to have an open house when it is all finished. In the meantime, I am purchasing the necessary supplies for the studio and keeping up my weekly ZOOM classes.  I have a photo of building below as it looks when it arrived and the progress in transforming it into a studio.  Take care and see you soon!

                                FINISHED STUDIO 

It arrived and was set up quickly! The studio will be painted to match the aqua trim you see on the window over the garage.  That way all will coordinate!

   Louie cut out the two window holes for my "north light" that's so important to us artists. I am happy and excited that this is exactly due north!

Louie is hard at work installing and sealing these windows.  We were excited to find used ones that matched our house and the two smaller windows that were in the studio.

Funny how insulation makes a place look smaller.  But here you can see the drywall starting to go up.  Louie had to remove what was originally there in order to add more wiring for my needs, then he reinstalled the insulation and drywall we had plus the new we bought to finish it out.  And yes, we had a licensed electrician on the job.  

My drywall team!  Louie in yellow and his brother Dennis who volunteered his professional assistance.  It was very kind of him to help us out.  It's getting exciting now!  That five gallon bucket of aqua paint left over when we built the house will sure came in handy for the studio!

The studio is painted and the lights are going in.  Next is the window trim!
 Windows are trimmed, now the floor is going down.  It's getting near the finish line.  I am going to love working in here!

I have finally moved into my art studio and I am so happy! This is my painting setup.  Those north windows provide great light plus I have 2 shop lights that have 4000 lumens of daylight each. I also have spot lights to illuminate the artwork.

This is my display wall.  You can see my Sargent painting with my granddaughters. These will rotate somewhat as they sell.

This is another view of the work area with the student desk on the opposite wall nearby for teaching.  I hung my Bargue drawings all along the wall above the desk. I also hung my artist statement, ribbons, and newspaper articles about my work.  Now for the outside!

I mentioned before that the studio would be the same colors as our house, but flipped with the walls blue and yellow trim.  Soon it will have lattice underpinning and lots of flower pots to adorn it! If you look closely above the door you can see my sign which says  Dara's ATELIER'  (workshop or studio in french)

     At last it is finished!!  Let the celebration begin, or rather the classes!!  I have had people signing up to take lessons as I posted the updates. Now I must get busy scheduling them! Thank you so much for going along with me on this journey and if you ever are in St Augustine, FL be sure to stop by for a visit! 

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