A small painting studio is cozy

With one day left to finish my painting for the Open Doors invitational, I had to organize quickly. I wanted to work on my painting by natural light and in the a/c (my quilt studio is not air conditioned.) By smushing things a bit, there was room to set up small painting studio in my office.

The little drafting table was just the right size for the canvas. Conveniently it fits over the top of my old metal accounting desk. A stainless steel bus cart is a great palette-holder, and the wheels turn on a dime — which is great in such a tight space.

small painting studio

Plus with this arrangement, I can turn my laptop around if I want to check some details for the painting. A cozy arrangement indeed! I just might leave it this way for a while. Although I’ve already delivered the painting to the gallery, I won’t show it on my blog until after the opening reception tomorrow night.

Late Minute Painting before Winter

inside-shopIt always seems to be same each year, that last minute dash to get the outdoor things done before cold weather hits. November has been remarkably mild, so I’ve been outside every available sunshiney minute for the last few weeks, trying to get our old studio repaired and repainted.

This is our old studio before moving to the peanut butter factory, and the place where Russ built the Kinetic Man (in smaller pieces.) There’s still a vintage pachinko machine on the wall, a neon face and letters that say “shop.” There’s some kind of weird light fixture stored upstairs, and the walls are covered with old barn wood that came from an ancient barn that my grandfather tore down long ago and stored for years before Russ planed and sanded the boards to make beautiful cyprus paneling.

The building was originally built by a woman who was married to the rabbi who ministered at the synagogue up the street. She was a ceramic artist and designed it for that, so it reminds me how good the place is for clay work. Maybe we should move that ceramic wheel we got last February back here for a while… hhmmm…

painting-doorsThere’s lots of secret nooks and crannies around the bamboo and water garden. Cobblestones that we hand-shaped out of concrete, a hand-forged bamboo garden gate, melodic wind chimes made from old pewter goblets. So there’s lots of memories here and an inspiring place to work for a change.

But there’s also a lot of repairs that have to be done to the wood exterior and the masonry waterproofing paint for the stucco walls is heavy, so I’ve been too tired at night to blog or do much art for a while.

I have stopped to take a few photos though. (click on the thumbnails below to see larger) And now the sun’s out again – better get back outside and paint a few more strokes!

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Candy PaMdora on YouTube

pink-octopusTwo Japanese artists visited the studio during their Springfield trip to perform at the Japanese Fall Festival a couple of weeks ago. Candy Miyuki who has taken an old traditional Japanese art of candy sculpture to a new level. She performs at Disney’s Epcot Center, has been on the Rose O’Donnel show, and makes custom candy sculpture for the Tokyo gallery of Yoshitomo Nara.

Here’s a video that Russ took of Candy making a Candy PaMdora at the closing party of the festival. We’ve posted this our new YouTube channel, so you can watch it here, or go to the RuBert Studios channel.

Kuniko Yamamoto also performs at Epcot Center, The Kennedy Center, and at festivals around the world with her wonderfully entertaining stories and magic.

It was fun to have them tour the studio, because Miyuki has just built a new studio, and Kuniko is planning to build a video studio and art center to share with her husband who is a magician and videographer for other magicians.

Here’s some photos from the whole weekend. Click on a thumbnail to see larger.

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Have we entered a beige period?

beige_hall.jpgAfter renovating the studio last year, we’ve gone to a whole new aesthetic — from orange and black checkered floors and multi-colored walls to more of a retro-Swedish-modern look with bamboo floors. We call it Studio2.0.

It’s a very calm clean atmosphere, much different than the usual colorful chaos of my fiber studio in back. I like that I’m finally getting papers, books, and other presentation materials finally re-organized after the mess when our studio flooded two years ago.

A couple of weeks ago I also feng-shuied my office, getting it really clean and organized, and usual, building my own furniture out of old doors and stuff I found in the warehouse. (Except for that $150 Art Metal retro desk that I love and drag from to where ever I happen to be working the most.)


However my new problem: The offices needs some art! especially since I’ve started talking to friends and family on Skype. When I’m on-camera, there’s nothing but a white wall behind my head. The only quirks I have in here are the hula girl on my adding machine and my ceramic lucky cat. And that leopard-dotted sofa that I re-upholstered.

I keep thinking about dragging some quilts up here, but worry they will look out of place. But it’s kind of like the cobbler’s children have no shoes. No art hanging in the artists’ studio? Okay, writing to you today has shamed me. I’ll have to get working on this.


When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Evacuate


Well, I thought I was tough anyway, sweating it out all summer in my studio with no air conditioning. But truthfully, it has been a mild summer…..until last weekend. Finally it got so hot, and add to that no windows to vent all the heat of my overhead lights and an iron that is constantly on HOT, that I knuckled and resorted to my emergency heat evacuation plan.

I moved my sewing machines to the newly redone gallery, love that bamboo floor! But even better, the now all-white walls and big open space. Formerly a meeting room and kitchen, we redesigned this room to be more of a multi-purpose room, and now it seems a wise investment.


The lighting’s not as even as my studio, but it’s cool! And I have all sorts of interesting new thoughts when I look up from my sewing and see the Russ RuBert beautiful sculptures. What a yummy place to work!

Portable Drawing Door Table


Now that the really hard physical work is over, we’re having fun arranging areas of the newly renovated offices and gallery.

Here’s a drawing desk I built using an old black door and some dusty sawhorses I found in the warehouse. I like that the hinges are still attached (except when I busted my ankle on one as I was moving the door into the room). The door knob is still attached to the other side, which makes is easy to carry around.


Last week while I was recuperating from the painting marathon, I decided to do a to-do-list drawing or collage (more on that tomorrow) each day along with the silly rule that I couldn’t open my laptop until it was done.

We know how well that worked — I’m way behind on emails and blog posts. That silly rule is hereby tossed out the window, and this week I’ll try to remedy my email backlog.

Art Teachers’ Association Tours the Studio

Last week really did turn out to be a scrabble to get ready for a tour we agreed to months ago. The Missouri Art Educators Association had their state conference in Springfield, and one of the professional development tours was to visit Russ’s public art and studio


The only problem was Russ’s metal-working area was still full of water-damaged stuff. Actually, I shouldn’t say that, the other problem was, our front offices are now missing ceilings, carpet, and furniture. Looks like a bomb went off up there.

But the teachers still wanted to visit, so we got to cleaning — actually it was a good motivator for me to roll up my sleeves and start to deal with all this stuff. Trash it, salvage it, replace it — what to do with each item? Yuck. I think the decision-making part is more tiring than the physical work, although whenever we get ready for a big event, I usually get blisters on my feet no matter what shoes I wear because there is so much space to cover.


But we did pretty well, and Russ has a new work-area set up in the back warehouse. My studio is pretty much back to normal (except for water stains on the pin-boards), so that part was easy. The teachers were thrilled, cheered at the end of the tour, and invited us to their lunch banquet — which for me was rather eye-opening in terms of the state of education and creativity in our schools. More on that later, I’ve got lots of news saved up…

Moving the blog to WordPress

You may have noticed I haven’t written in a week. I’ve been working late every night getting all my old blog moved over to WordPress, and it was a bear of a job. I couldn’t find a way to import all 300 posts over the last two years, so I had to cut and paste. I still need to work on my sidebar, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to move all your comments, but I hope to be better at responding. Just leave me your email in the address box when you comment, so I can! (it doesn’t get published.)