The Art Studio

“I find inspiration for my works of art in my studio and in the squared circle from all sorts of places.” Jeff Hardy


The Perfect Home

After eight years of marriage, my loved one had become too sick to work, so we decided to follow my career instead of his. This necessitated moving from the West Coast to the Northeast, where we immediately began searching for a home with enough room to house an art studio.



After several months of looking, we found the perfect home with a large basement.



Even though the basement contained our washer and dryer, it was 1100 square feet and had great potential. It was quickly converted into a studio with all the necessary accouterment.

Within Months, the Transformation Happened

The space had a steel rolling tool cabinet that held his oil paints and brushes. It also had a comfortable couch, a small refrigerator, and custom cabinetry to house his digital prints. One side of the Studio had wall-to-wall bins to house the large oil paintings. But the space was incomplete without two of my loved one’s prize possessions: his artist’s easel and large-format printer. As the years passed, the basement was no longer the basement. Now, it was the Studio.



 My loved one spent many happy days in his Studio, music on, designing, and creating his next masterpiece. Because of his efforts, we were the recipients of beautiful art pieces throughout our home. On occasion, he had a showing at a gallery. This would mean weeks of preparation in the Studio, but it was incredible to be a part of.  


Years passed, and his illness progressed. Click To Tweet

Time Passed, and Things Changed

However, as the years passed and his illness progressed, his physical limitations became apparent. It was slow at first and hard to watch as it impacted many of the things he loved to do. At first, it was his stamina, how long he could stand and paint a large canvas. Then came the adjustments to what he could do around the house – the regular things like taking out the trash, helping around the lawn, stacking wood, and snow removal.


As time passed, the size of canvasses became smaller (still quite large but smaller than he would have liked.) Even though I can’t say I understood what he was going through, I was a witness. I found that watching a loved one’s life become smaller and seeing how his illness ravaged his body was not only painful but also left me with images and memories that I wish I didn’t have.   


(A couple of years before his death, he was on oxygen and teaching his granddaughter to paint).

His Illness Took Over

It’s funny that when I think back at the last ten years of his life, the image that comes to mind is him sitting in his chair with his computer on his lap. He would spend hours documenting his thoughts on what that next piece of art should be. His eyebrows would furl as he toiled over how he wanted the composition of that next piece of art to be.


For the last three years of his life, he was on oxygen and tethered to a 50-foot hose. This limited where he could go in our home and caused endless frustration. As it became harder for him to be in his Studio, changes were made to ensure his continued ability to create. 


The Final Oil Painting

Several friends relocated his Studio into our library to give him the necessary creative access. I remember the last year of his life as he struggled to complete his final oil painting.

I remember the last year of his life as he struggled to complete his final oil painting. Click To Tweet


I would come home and see the progress every day until it was done. This painting became one of my favorites because of the composition, tenacity, and will to finish it. I cherish this painting. 



And the basement was BACK!

After his death, my friends returned to move everything back to the Studio. Being thoughtful, they asked for directions as to where things belonged. However, I was in no shape to think about the task at hand. So I told them to put it anywhere. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the first time I went downstairs, I found everything was dropped into the middle of the room. All it took was one week after he died for the Studio to no longer be a studio. Now, it was just a plain old-fashioned basement, and the only reason to venture into it was to use the washer and dryer. 


Months passed, and I avoided setting foot into the basement. Going there meant walking around the unfinished canvas sitting on the easel in the middle of the room. There were papers and books on the couch, his paints and tool chests in disarray. Every time I went downstairs, my heart would break a little bit more.

The Assessment

I remember summoning the courage to go downstairs as if it was yesterday. I needed to assess what had to be done and couldn’t avoid it any longer. It took me ten months after he passed away to set the goal of transforming the basement back into a studio.




It didn’t matter that he would no longer be using his brushes and printer or creating beautiful works of art.



What mattered on this long-ago day was that I wanted to honor his memory by putting everything back in its place. It didn’t matter that he was no longer with me. Doing this would make me feel better about setting foot into this part of my home.

The Beloved Artist

Eventually, I hoped that I would be able to sit on the studio couch and share memories with my family and friends of the man I loved, who was an artist. 


Fast forward several years after the loss of my loved one, and I was looking forward to having a party at my home.


I invited some old and new friends to spend time with me. As my new friends arrived, I found they were enthralled with the large and bright art pieces on the walls.



That night, I was the docent and curator of his art. As we walked around, I could show my friends the various pieces of his artwork. The tour would end in the Studio as they glanced at the 100-plus oil paintings. That night, I was reminded of how vital the Studio was in our home. This space had brought both of us years of happiness.