Friday, 12 July 2013

Ten Years at Acme Fire Station

This year, I'm quietly celebrating ten years of working in my studio at Acme Fire Station in Bromley-by-Bow, London. I am quite sure it's the longest period of time I've ever spent in one studio and I have no intention of giving it up just yet either. How about fifteen years in one studio? I just cannot imagine that!

Summer is the best time of year to paint. This year I've made four large scale paintings on canvas (two were posted on my blog last month) but I am now running out of art materials so will have to scale down to working on paper until something shifts. It's a bit of a waiting game, being an artist. Wait till the weather changes and it's not too cold to work, wait till I sell a painting and have money to spend on materials, wait till I get into that exhibition, wait till I get that grant... Sometimes one has to wait an awful long time for anything to really happen and in the meantime there's always the work to continue one way or another, trying not to make too many compromises and hoping everything will turn out well in the end.

This year, I've been lucky enough to have two studio visits from friends who are successful artists, and each one has lifted my spirit. It can be quite an insular life being a studio-based artist as I am, and studio visits are a way of opening up one's practice to scrutiny outside of the gallery sphere and in the context of a working environment.

Outside of the studio, there are exhibitions to see, books to read, research to do, artists to talk to. All these things feed into my work. So in a way I'm not just celebrating spending ten years in one studio this year (a real achievement) but celebrating another decade as an artist too. I have learned such a lot in that time and there is so much more ahead of me. Just have to keep going....

Studio, July 2013
© Julie Umerle

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