I started plein air painting with a vengeance and fell in love with oil paints. I upgraded my equipment, so I could hike with it all. Even retrofitting a set up for my kayak - complete with an anchor - since I needed to stay in one place on the water to paint!
The commercial artwork I was doing, such as signs and murals were still mostly acrylics.
But for my plein air work, I was now exclusively using oil paints.
Knowing a bit about art history, I was excited to join the line of past plein air painters who had come to the Adirondacks to paint. The Hudson River School painters from the later half of the 1800's were inspired by this northern New York area. I've seen many paintings of the Adirondacks in museums throughout the world.
So I called the New York Plein Air painters to join...
They asked me again exactly where I was from. The Adirondacks. Hmmm, they didn’t have any members from there. No one north of Saratoga Springs, New York. That's an hour and a half south! Really - no one??
I became President and sole member of the New York plein air painters NEW Adirondack chapter.
Our business now consisted of painting, furniture and lighting. John was continuing to work at the newspaper at night, while I was now a full time artist and entrepreneur - and of course we were STILL BUILDING.
Custom commissions were gaining speed for us. It was a great time to be an artist in the mid-90’s when the economy was rolling for art and hand crafted wares. Clients were now asking if we could make bigger pieces – like chandeliers for over their dining tables or to hang in their 'great rooms'...
Sure - HOW HARD COULD IT BE?
Well, going from designing and creating table lamps, to large hanging fixtures did present some design and space dilemmas. We forged on, experimented and began to figure it out...
Some of our clients owned “Great Camps” in the Adirondacks... Historic grand family compounds, built of natural materials so remarkable that some have been deemed National Historic Landmarks. We would design and create original pieces for specific areas and functions for those clients - and more.
Beginning now to also work nationally, we were learning to ship large chandeliers, too. A long waiting list was growing for our commissioned pieces.
AND, we were out-growing our walk-out basement workspace rapidly!
We needed to build a separate studio ASAP. Yes, BEFORE we even had the house completed.
Out came the book - again. I started working on ideas for a separate studio on our property and made a rough budget with our new savings from our recent work. I called a local excavator and ask him about his upcoming schedule. He only had next week available, and was then booked out for quite a long while on a large project. His estimate was just about the amount of money I had allotted for the excavation work. I told him to start Monday.
I could hardly believe that we were going to build a separate studio before we even finished the house!
We needed more room FAST for the business. Which meant we needed a building that would go up quick. Maybe a log building?... minimal insulating and sheet rock required! I drew plans for the new studio and found a log builder on Craig’s list - that could work within our budget
. He would be able to hand scribe the logs on his property. Perfect. Then he would transport them and re-assemble them in a few days on ours.
Pretty simple for us - relatively. He would complete the 'shell'. We would just need to finish the interior, the floors, complete a bathroom, make some office space and THEN we could get back to building the house.
We moved into the new studio just in time to take on a huge painting commission for 8 foot tall panels that would span 360 degrees - covering all the walls of 2 rooms - a forest mural for a fabulous Great Camp. Along with custom painted door panels and other large paintings throughout the 'Camp'.... And, MORE custom lighting work.
I'll save the photos of our NEW Adirondack Studio to kick off my next post - stay tuned :)