My Home Studio In Durham, NC

About two months ago, my partner and I packed our whole life into a moving truck and drove from New Orleans to our new home in Durham, North Carolina.

This was a difficult move for many reasons, but now that we’re well on the other side of it, I’m so glad that we did this. Durham has been nothing but sweet to us so far. It’s beautiful here - lots of greenery, fresh water to swim in, and a downtown that’s covered in bricks (my favorite). Living has been easy, a lot easier than it was, and I feel like I’ve entered the next chapter of my life.

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We’re renting a cute house close to downtown with a spare bedroom for my studio. I've had about ten different studio spaces in the last decade, and while this might not be the dreamiest or biggest space I've worked in, I’ve gotten much better at creating a good workspace. I think I’ve outdone myself this time around!

This is what you see when you first walk in, and I’m sitting at that desk as I write to you!  It is my glorious standing desk, which I never stand at because I have a very tall chair.  I took the door off of the closet to the left of it, because I really wanted to look out the window as I sit at my computer, and it worked out nicely as a place to store my printer, scanner, and other supplies.

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I don't usually hang work by other artists in my studio, but this time around I decided to include my favorite pieces as inspiration.  This painting is by Jenn Warpole.  I love the way she brings abstraction into her figurative paintings. There’s such a strong mood at play in the way she paints, it hardly matters what the subject is doing.

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This is where I sit to think, read, write, and stare at paintings across the room. Thinking and zoning out is, believe it or not, a very important part of the creative process. I always need to have a small place of rest in my studio.

Fun fact, I built that trunk on wheels! It has wood dividers inside, and it houses all of my photography, videography, and lighting equipment.

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My watercolor workspace overlooks the backyard.  There is a lot of tree cover here, so the light stays soft all day until around 5pm when speckles of light cast through the leaves of the Japanese maple tree outside my window. It’s beautiful, but also annoying when I want to keep painting. I’m finding that it works best to keep morning hours and do computer work in the afternoon.

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This little built-in has turned into a shrine of sorts. It’s filled with things that inspire me and gifts from loved ones.  The two framed oil pastels are from a trade I did with a friend and artist I attended college with, Nicole Michaud.  They are such a treasure to me! I once dreamt that my house was burning down, and the only things I rescued were those two little paintings.

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Next to my flat files I have open wall space that I'm using for oil painting.  I'm so excited about this, because my last several studios were not properly set up for oil painting, and now I'm ready to go! I keep all of my oil painting supplies in that rolling chest, and I extended the top with some plywood scraps to create more room for color mixing and brushes. I use a bi-color LED light on a tall stand to light my painting and palette.

My studio space is a sacred to me, and getting it set up was such an important part of grounding in my new home.  I’m so grateful that I have this charming space in which to spend my work days, and I hope you enjoyed getting a little tour!

Jeffrey Arlyn