Imagine a custom-designed, free-standing art studio on your own property. Now picture this studio with a large, covered front porch that invites you to sit and watch the birds in a court yard garden while a fountain softly splashes.
Such a studio exists! It’s Kathleen A. Johnson’s Two Crows Studio in Edmonds, Washington. It was designed and built 2 years ago by her nephew, who was trained as an architect.
In addition to the French doors and windows, skylights on the high ceiling flood the studio with natural light. The studio’s configuration is very versatile as most of the furniture is on castors. “I often rearrange my studio with the seasons to take advantage of the best light,” explained Kathleen. “It’s also easily transformed from a working studio into a gallery space for events such as the Edmonds Art Studio Tour.”
Kathleen enjoys her connection to nature and her art is inspired by it. She says: “One of the greatest gifts is to be able to appreciate the vast beauty of our universe and feel our connection to it all. It is at once a humbling and empowering experience.”
One day several years ago, while driving up from her former studio located on a North Edmond’s wharf she noticed a barred owl perched on a line that stretched over the roadway. She stopped under it and opened her sun roof. Once the owl had inspected her and determined that she was neither prey nor predator, it allowed Kathleen to just watch it for a time. Thus began her connection with owls, and she’s been painting owls ever since!
Kathleen’s large high table is on wheels with shelving below. Her handy husband built this table to fit perfectly in her studio space. It is on castors so it can be easily moved. The table top is white HDPE plastic that she had custom cut for her (Tap Plastic in Lynnwood, WA). HDPE plastic is sometimes used for artist’s palettes because acrylic paint can be scraped off with ease. Now her entire table top can be her palette.
The shelves below her table are fitted with sliding metal drawers. She keeps her acrylic paints here as well as many other items.
Her husband also designed and built the cabinetry that runs along the side wall. There is a book case and long counter top complete with a sink and more storage cupboards. Open shelves under the counter hold 9 woven baskets that keep smaller items stored and out of sight. The labeled pulls that her husband affixed to the baskets help keep items easy to find. Do you see the shelf up high? That is her canvas storage area. Behind the white door to the right is the bathroom.
I’ve always wondered which comes first. Do you buy/build shelves and then find baskets to fit or if you have cabinets custom built, do you source the baskets first and then size the shelves accordingly?
Kathleen has halogen track lighting that can be aimed where she wants them throughout her studio, but what you won’t see from these photos is her clever indirectlighting strategy. The large beams overhead have a recessed area on the top that house fluorescent lighting. You don’t see the fixtures but you do see the full-spectrum light that they provide bouncing off the white ceiling. I thought this was a brilliant idea; I have yet to see a fluorescent light fixture that I thought was attractive!
When asked if she had any favorite books or other resources she’d recommend, Kathleen told me about Nancy Reyner’s book, Acrylic Revolution. It is set out in an easy-to-use format with more than 100 ‘How To’ tips and techniques for acrylic painting. “It is like a little class in a book,” Kathleen explained. “It is laid out in such a way to make it a handy reference too.”
Painting and creating art is a joyful experience for Kathleen A. Johnson of Two Crows Studio. Her intention is to inspire joy in the world with her work. She certainly shared this joy with me during our visit, both with her paintings and with her warm and caring spirit.
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