It’s a special treat to visit an artist’s studio. In July 2015 while in Santa Fe, NM, I visited the studios of two outstanding artists, Dick Evans (painter) and his wife, Susan Stamms (sculptor). Dick moved his family to Santa Fe in 1990. He became an iconic artist on the New Mexico art landscape. Evan’s art is found in 17 art museums and over a dozen corporate collections. He has had over 30 solo shows as well as numerous group shows and invitational shows. Examples of his work are found in 7 books and many periodicals and publications.
I started collecting his art in 2001. Last summer, I visited a gallery in Santa Fe, NM where Dick Evans was represented. The gallerist connected me directly with Dick Evans by phone, and I asked to visit his studio. Nearly 14 years later, it was an exceptional experience to meet both Dick Evans and his wife in person, see their personal studio workspaces and see their favorite works of art by their own hand hung or placed in their scenic, modern home.
Looking back at a November 2014 PRIME article, we discussed a place to go to work and how important studio space is to my painting. I now have a new appreciation of how studio space supports my work, and I ask better questions when I visit another working artist. When visiting a working studio, be respectful of the artist and their space; do not pick up their tools or materials without first asking. I first engaged Dick about how he designed his workspace – windows on the north, storage space for supplies, separate storage for paintings and use of working wall space.
Next, we explored his choice of materials and tools. I asked Dick about the materials and tools he used including acrylic paint, brushes, canvases and wood panel boards. Our dialogue moved forward to a discussion of his processes such as surface prep of canvas. He also shared with me the inspiration for his art, including the local landscape and his imagination, especially in the reductive abstraction of forms and shapes.
Sometimes you want to learn something new or compare notes on ways to accomplish a step in the painting process. I inquired about his work practices, painting and framing or not. We also explored use of time in the studio and working multiple art works in parallel. Last, we discussed balancing studio time with time for business, social media and marketing side of the art business. We sat down at his computer and explored the web, his website, gallery representation, etc. It was such a privilege to be in the inner workings of this artist’s workspace and explore his processes and practices.
Studio space is a portal to the inner workings and sanctuary of an artist’s authentic intentions. I encourage you to explore more about your favorite artists: their website, social media presence and when you visit their city, ask to visit their studio. Make a personal connection. See more about Dick Evans at his site.