December 5, 2022
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  • In this Brooklyn painter’s studio, the flowers are always in bloom

In this Brooklyn painter’s studio, the flowers are always in bloom

By on October 27, 2022 0

My paint studio is a small room in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, an apartment I share with my husband and our two dogs. When I first moved into this apartment I was a full-time journalist, newly freelance after spending a few years on the staff of vogue. So, in its original version, this room was supposed to serve as a writing desk. Painting at the time was something I did on the side; during the pandemic it became my main focus, and now it’s what I do almost full time, with some writing on the side. So my career has evolved, and so has this space.

Perhaps because of this development, this room doesn’t quite look like what you might imagine a painter’s studio would be. I do small watercolors and gouaches on paper, and I’m extremely neat in my way of working (enough that I keep a yellow linen tablecloth draped over my painting table and don’t mess it up too much yet). In my paintings, I find a lot of creativity within the boundaries of space, and I think that’s a principle I bring to interior design as well. I wanted my studio to function more as an auxiliary living space than just a workspace, so I designed it as a studio, with the vague idea that it would allow me to move around a room all day: morning coffee at the small pedestal table; work in the office; evening reading on the chair. It’s my home in my home where I can surround myself with all my favorite things, where nothing changes without my say, and where I find I can enter a very creative and very focused state.

I do different types of paintings: portraits, watercolor paintings and flower paintings. my last showcurrently at Brooklyn homewares store The Primary Essentials, is a series of flower paintings made using pottery and textiles borrowed from the shop and incredible flowers purchased from nearby florists grdn and Saffron. I consider these paintings to be portraits with non-human subjects: the flowers are idiosyncratic and individualistic, and they sit longer than people, which is a bit of a bonus. (I started painting them after writing about the wonderful flower painter Jane Freilicher several years ago, and then in earnest during the pandemic, when access to new faces for my ongoing portrait series suddenly became limited.) But these paintings, which I often do using bits of material from flea market transfer and old workshop ceramics, are also an exploration of my somewhat mystical interest in objects, my conviction that things bear the imprint of their creators or former owners. I’ve referred to flower paintings before as resembling little seances or psychic tea parties, and I hope they convey some of that feeling of unearthly communion. It seems very fair to me to make them in a space where I’ve collected all my own sacred talismans – items, to be clear, that I fully plan to haunt long after they’ve left my possession.