See Wood’s work in WTP Vol. VII #5
Inside the Studio offers a behind-the scenes peek into the work environments of WTP artists, as well as insight into their creative process within these resonate spaces.
By Jennifer Nelson, WTP Feature Writer
Six years ago, artist Fay Wood and her husband sold their large, inspirational church in the Hudson Valley to a musician and artist. For over twenty years, she had lived and worked there, creating some of her finest artwork, and enjoying the wildlife and changes of the moon over the Catskills. But, as the couple aged into their mid-seventies, the building became too large and the four acres of gardens required too much maintenance.
The new white clapboard house is better suited to their needs, as well as warmer, cozier, and more intimate than the church with its thirty-five-foot ceilings. “The new building is easier for us,” says Wood. But it also has proved a catalyst for a new artistic pursuit—for eighteen months, she didn’t know what to do with the drawing room. Finally, as she sorted through old materials, she realized it would be a perfect place to make collages. “I began to play. I hadn’t had so much fun in years,” she says. “I now have eighteen new works and have had a solo show from the effort.”
In the historic house, she’s designated different rooms for her various art forms. Three main rooms are used for creating pencil drawings, water media, and collages; making sculptures; and painting. The fourth room boasts tapestry wall hangings—and accommodates overnight guests. Another small room has become an office, where Wood displays her finished work. In a sizable shed outside, she stores crates for packaging her artwork. “Lack of finished work storage can be troublesome,” says Wood. “I’ll be moving some sculptures downs to the living area this summer to let visitors see how sculpture can be beautiful in their own living areas.”
The couple renovated the house to make it suitable as a studio, home, and gallery. This involved redesigning the kitchen, widening doorways, removing doors from the upstairs bedrooms and storing them in the basement, and painting everything white. “It sounds easy, but it took six months to accomplish,” says Wood.
On weekends from May to December, the house serves as a gallery for visitors. The well-lit main gallery showcases larger artwork, while the stairwell’s landing has smaller pieces. Visitors must navigate through a small living space to get to the studio. “I have mixed feelings about this,” she says. “So far, it has worked out fairly well, except for those who have difficulty with stairs, and this may be a problem for me in the near future, also.”
Wood enjoys seeing visitors’ reactions to her work—especially when they might completely change their minds, and fall in love with a piece. “It’s always a joy when someone loves a piece enough to want to buy it and live with it in their home,” says Wood.
With a home-based studio, Wood has a flexible schedule allowing for long hours on a project without it interfering with other aspects of her life. Her workdays vary, but she usually carves out blocks of uninterrupted time. Since her painting studio has too much light, she generally paints in the morning.
Wood raves about her amazing life as an artist. She’s shown her work in places such as Italy, Germany, and the United States, and has met wonderful people on her journey. She admits that being an artist isn’t easy, requiring talent, persistence, hard work, and luck. “As long as you have a place to work, no matter what size, you can create,” says Fay. “Nothing should stop you.”
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