The neighbors have a new way to tease Tom. What’s not new is that the teasing is about the odd looking wood structure rising from the middle of our lower gardens. What is new is that the nearly completed studio needs a name (according to the French.) So now-a-days as each passing person stops by to check on the progress of Tom’s one man construction show they share their pet name for Tom’s ‘project’. We have Salon de Jardin-- the Garden Salon. How about Palais de Peintre, The Painters Palace. Le Garconier, the Boys Club. And the most recent Le Cabin de Lapin, the Rabbit’s Cabin.
Me, I call it Tom’s Folly. Which would be a nice thing if I meant it as a folly, like a structure in sculptured stone you might find in an elegant English garden. But I don’t.
Tom could give a hoot what any of us call it. He is absolutely smitten with his new space. In response to the teasers he calls it My Chateau.
With the outrageously big wood-stove in place and generating enough heat to force the neighbors trees into bloom, he has spent the last of the cold winter days finishing up the interior.
Sheetrock, taping, painting, flooring, placing window trim.
Then it was on to the cabinetry. A shelf or drawer for everything. Brushes arranged by size and painting medium in drawers at custom heights so that the most important things are right at hand. Shelves just the right width and height to place a sketch book while the works dry.
Oil paints stacked up in view so there is no need to shuffle around. A little roly-poly cupboard that can be pulled right up to the work space. Everything is on wheels so the furniture can be moved around to fit the need or mood. The rolling stock includes great big dumpster wheels found at the side of the dump and modest little wheels that for some reason cost a small fortune. When it is time to paint,roll in the painting cart; when it’s time to frame, roll in the work table. When it’s time to square dance, roll everything out!
Tom has created three painting areas. There is a tight tight, cozy, warmly lit nook for those 4 in the morning sketching sessions. A stand up and dance around area for finishing up watercolors. And the piece de resistance is the back corner for oil painting. Here northern light streams in across the canvases through the 14-foot tall windows. Lots of room to step back and reflect on the next brush stroke, clear light that shows the true colors on the palette and plenty of room for the twirl of the brush as Tom hits just the right note in his exploration of the canvas.
I know exactly what Tom will call this space. The Studio. Plain and simple. Here’s to lots of inspiration, joy and contentment flowing out to his curious audience.