|Edel Rodriguez, Illustrator|
Mt. Tabor, New Jersey
"As a teenager I thought I would become an architect. I went to college partly with that on my mind. I changed my thinking and studied painting instead."
"For many years I had been working on my large paintings and drawings in small rooms, hitting my head on the ceiling and so on. Several years ago, when the attic room in my house had become too difficult to work in, I started sketching and making floor plans and elevations of the perfect studio space. It would be attached to my current house and be large enough to accommodate any future directions in my artwork."
"The plans were to have a living room downstairs and the studio upstairs, it was a pretty big addition for our house, an 1875 Victorian. The size of the addition was going to be 25 feet by 20 feet. At some point, my wife and I realized we needed an architect and hired a great guy that made all of our ideas come together. The architect drew up some blue prints and my wife built a scale model of the new place out of some board. (The studio area is indicated in yellow on the model, we also ended up adding a deck at the back of the house, and a carport to the side)"
"Two months before breaking ground on our new addition, our house was hit by lightning. I was up in the attic when it happened, the lightning hit about 10 feet away from me. It was like a freight train bursting into the room, the whole experience was insane. The lightning caused the attic to catch on fire and the small studio to burn down, along with a lot of my artwork, art materials, sketchbooks, etc. A lot of my work was saved by the work of some quick thinking firemen. The rest of the main house had to be gutted due to water damage. So, the project that was going to be a living room and studio addition became a whole house renovation that lasted over a year."
"The studio was finished in 2003 and it really has become a great place to work in, hang out, play, read, etc. It has oak wood floors and plain white walls throughout which I painted myself. It was very difficult to get paint on that ceiling, had to use scaffolding and everything. I don't like colors on my walls because I like to look at my work without other color distractions, the way it would be seen in a gallery. Just white walls."
"The studio is divided up into different areas. The North side has four large windows and four skylights. The natural light that comes through there is wonderful. Always nice when one’s ideas and plans for a space work out as intended."
"That side of the studio also has a very large drafting table with all of my immediate supplies-pastels, charcoal, colored pencils, inks, etc. There are flat files where I keep my multi-colored collection of papers and a lot of my original art."
"There is also a t.v. which I don’t use that much anymore. I used to watch news a lot, but I got tired of it all. In the middle of the room there's a ping pong table my wife gave me recently."
"Hey, we have to have some fun once in a while. It also makes for a great place on which to throw all of my junk when it’s not being used for Ping Pong."
"The East side of the studio has many different things. On the left is a spray booth, I always wanted one and built it myself. I was tired of running outside in the snow to spray something."
"There is also a sink, a computer workstation and bookshelves. On the top, I added a large area for painting storage."
"The South side of the studio is a large wall on which to tack up drawings or paintings. On the left there are bookshelves and a door that leads out to a balcony."
"The balcony deck is a great place in which to go and draw outdoors."
"The West side is a large wall on which to hang paintings and work on them. The ceilings of the studio are about 15 feet tall I think. It gives the place a very open feel."
"There are rows of track lighting on the ceiling for working at night, which I tend to do a lot. I have a large easel, a large palette that I built in college, paintbrushes and your usual artist junk. I don't collect any robot toys or things like that. I never had collections of anything when I was a kid, so it’s not in my nature."
"I recently got my daugher an easel for herself and she loves to paint. Her paintings are better than mine sometimes. Very depressing."
"Well, that's it, thanks for checking out my place, it's been a long haul to get to this point." -E.R.