Thursday, June 05, 2008


Don and Peter
turned this
chicken coop
into a studio

That was before
we knew Don
would have

I think we began calling it l'atelier because we moved to the farm the same year we went to Paris to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary (2003).

It's not just mine, but everyone acts like it is.

Lesley gave me a hammock chair that hangs from the ceiling. I challenge you to try to read in this chair and stay awake more than five minutes.

Besides read
and sleep,
sometimes I write here.

I started painting last year, and didn't even finish my first painting. It's hard work! I don't want to show you what I have so far. Here is my little canvas before I started. That's my Grandma Olive's easel. She was a professional artist/designer.

I was following instructions from Brian Simons online.

I got the underpainting, value study and colors blocked in, but I never finished the painting.

If Gwen, Sharon or Laura
will come give me lessons,
maybe I'll finish it.


Anet said...

I love this space. It sends a feeling of peace over me. Who is that in the photograph? It's a wonderful photo! And your grandma's easel is fantastic!! I hope you finish your painting.

The white painted walls with all of the wood framing exposed. Useable space for little treasures, I love that!
The wood floors, beautiful and warm.
The charming screen door.
It's a great "thinking" space!

SwedeHart said...

Painting is a daunting task for me, too. It's really much more difficult that it seems.

Sharon said...

Oh my god Ruth! That is the most beautiful is perfect and belongs exactly as it is and not as a chicken coop. I am having a weird deja vu feeling as I'm writing this.... Okay I know that sounds weird...not something that happens to me often so I guess it is weird. What a special room. I haven't checked out the painting website you mentioned yet so I will go do that and come back and comment again. I just wanted to say how much I love your retreat! I think I could live in just that one room like a hermetic monk.......

Ruth said...

Anet, it makes me so happy you feel that peace too. It feels like the center of the universe to me.

That photo is a page I tore out of The Sun magazine because I loved everything about her. It was a sort of longing to be that woman, a farm woman.

The guys did a beautiful job with the floor, I love it so much.

` ` `

Swedehart, I took art in high school, but apparently I didn't do enough of this one medium to feel comfortable with it. I should take a class. Have you ever taken a class?

` ` `

Sharon, oh I love that: deja vu. Sometimes I think this studio is the hinge of everything. It's a sacred space sometimes I don't feel worthy to enter.

Sharon said...

Hey, it's me again.
IMHO (I learned that from you and had to look it up the other day!):

I visited your link and it's not a bad method but if it isn't right for you than you might want to ditch his advice. Somehow you have to quiet your critical mind and just paint (soft music helps), let it take it's own course..... don't judge. Let it be bad...just feel the color and the forms and the line, like music or a dream. Nothing is in cement, you can always paint over it later....but the key here is LATER because you will only really be able to "see" the piece after you've stepped back from it for hours or days..... Enjoy what your doing and have fun....because you don't ever have to show your work if you don't want to, make it for you not for others.

Also, if the acrylics and board aren't working for you, you might try watercolors. They are a whole other animal. The water will take the pigment and pool into forms, shapes, and shadows on it's own so if you paint a horizon or bird just really abstractly you will be surprised at the results and can then go back in with pencil or ink (like Gwen does so beautifully) to add line and visual focus..... It's a really great medium and much more freeing and quick. Plus, if it's terrible you haven't invested too much time and can just grab another piece of paper and start fresh.

Okay enough from me!
I love your post!!! Thanks.

Ruth said...

Thank you for this advice, Sharon, so much. I think I should try to follow what you said about acrylics first, because I didn't feel the connection so well with Brian's method. But I probably shouldn't come to any conclusions until I've finished at least one painting with that method!

I've thought many times I'd try water colors again. I have done a few before, and I like the aspects you describe, I agree it's freeing. And yes, you can do so much with pen and ink when it's done!

laura said...

I love "your" atelier, Ruth; the perfect place for reading, writing, painting and/or dozing. For some perverse reason, I long to see it covered in snow!
I've never tried acrylics, though I'm tempted by the outrageous color some people get from them. But, I did try oil and pastel, and watercolor just suits me.
Whatever the technique, or with no technique at all, I think you should experiment until you find the medium that suits you best.
I'd trade you painting lessons for photography lesson any day!

Drowsey Monkey said...

Wow. I'm almost speechless. I say 'almost' 'cause I'm rarely without words, lol.

I love this place. It's like you live in a movie or something. Or a place in my dreams far, far away.

Wherever it is...I just love it and I'm so happy to know that some people, somewhere have such beautiful and wonderful surroundings :) And it's great that you share it with us too :)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Delectable, delightful, delicious...



deep-breath taking...

creativity-inspiring space....

I love it, Ruth!

Ruth said...

Laura, that's a deal! I'd love to exchange lessons. But I'm afraid I am a technical-know-nothing when it comes to photography. I play by eye, the way musicians play by ear. I like this place covered in snow too, but we have yet to install the wood burning stove Don got for free, so I don't go inside in the winter much. We envision flooding the orchard with ice for a skating party, and using l'atelier for a warming house.

` ` `

No, Drowsey, I wouldn't want to see you speechless. Thank you, I'm so happy you like the feel of this place too. Don and I laugh and say the farm looks better in pictures than in person. But there really is something about this building, this room, that is utterly centered and special. I don't deny that, and it's a privilege to spend time in it. I'm glad it comes through in photographs.

` ` `

Gwen, it's just as you say. It's best used in a quiet mind, without talking. Even when I try to read there, something else in me wants to silence even those words. (And then go to sleep.)

Freefalling said...

Oh Ruth - it's simply beautiful.

I love a hammock too.
Only recently discovered the joys of hammocking.
And I have one of those cross-section wood cuttings too! - from one of the sleepers from the vegie garden - it was originally from a cross beam thing on a power pole, and before that I believe it was a tree!!!

laura said...

A skating party sounds like so much fun! Peter is an excellent skater--an lifelong hockey player, his grandfather was a cofounder of the Ice Capades!; me, I fall down a lot, but still love it.

Ginnie said...

I wonder if l'atelier is for inspiration only, Ruth, and not for actually doing anything but rest? Maybe that's all your soul needs when it walks into that holy place. It sees the easel and paint brushes and writing table and finally...rests.

Sandy said...

What a great studio! The photos are beautiful and such a great "feel" in there. Love the hammock.

Hope one of them gives you some lessons so you will complete that painting! I would love to see it.


Ruth said...

Letitia, hammocks are like being back in the womb. And those cross cuttings, we wanted to make a set of coasters. In fact, I think that's what we're gonna do with the kids at Farm Day in August . . .

` ` `

Well, Laura, you and Peter are welcome to join us, and he can show us all how to skate, and you can show us all how to fall properly. That is really something about his grandfather!

` ` `

Boots, I REALLY think you're on to something there.

` ` `

Thank you so much, Sandy. If I finish the painting, and I feel ok with it, I'll post it. :)

Bob Johnson said...

What a cool place, just about as cool as my pod,lol. Love the hammock we have a deck swing that has the same effect.

Ruth said...

Bob, do you have a studio room too? Is that what a pod is? Does it have a sky light? :D

SwedeHart said...

I did take a class, and I did not do well at all. I remember looking around the room at everyone else, and it's like they all got it, but I didn't. I would try to explore and experiment, but the teacher didn't want me to, and she would come over and scrape my canvas clean. As an artist, it was definitely my most humbling experience ever.

Ruth said...

Swedehart, I believe you, but it's hard to, about you.