While there were many qualities on our next home list that Rumley offered, studio space was near the top. Every other new build, old build, condo, flat, and bungalow lacked this important aspect. Studio space needed light and tall ceilings. My days in the open garage at Simplicity were a deep cellular memory of the power of these conditions in the joy-filled painting of large acrylics. Plus, a studio needed plenty of space to work, store supplies, hang projects, and room to dream. No other house offered this. Only Rumley. His bare basement was full of potential. Two necessary requirements were added – more electrical outlets for the photographer and a utility sink for the painter. Unlike basements that felt dark, dank, and dismal, when we walked into Rumley’s lower level, we felt energy and possibility. Rumley offered 1650 square feet of wonder as our creative playground.
Don claimed one end of the south stretch of wall. I took the other. Each of us had an egress window. Instantly I discovered that my beloved rocks found a home in the deep window well and how lovely the light spilled onto an area for painting watercolors.
To maximize the light, we purchased white tarps to cover the insulated walls. Daylight bulbs in the overhead sockets and moveable wall lighting gave additional brightness to my end of the studio. Special table lamps highlighted close-up painting. Shelves, ‘the tall blonde’ cabinet from Simplicity, and my great grandmother’s dining room table joined in to make the space useable and supportive.
While my space is full of light and color, Don’s studio lies in near darkness. Most of his photographic work is done using printers, computers, and creating still life settings that need specific focused light and no more. His technical equipment hums confidently between each other like trains coming into Grand Central Station. From artist image to camera to computer to printer, the support team makes artwork happen.
Next to Don's studio is a conversation area. Here a futon, television, and comfy chairs with end tables create a teaching space for artistic salons, a place to relax, and offer extra accommodation for overnight guests.
Between our two studios is a space we share. A tall square preparation table with a well-loved paper cutter is in readiness to assist both of us in sizing and packaging our work. I love that we come to the middle of the room to share and negotiate space, just as we do in our marriage relationship.
The other side of Rumley’s basement is dedicated to storage. Be assured I will never show a photograph of this chaotic, jumbled space. Bookshelves, resources, bins and large packaging for our artist needs are found here. Several heavy duty shelving units hold Christmas décor, memory boxes, camping gear, and extra pantry items. Anything that has not found a home in the house finds a place to wait until needed in this side of the basement. When the grandchildren come for overnights, the camping tent goes up in the center of the room.
For a basement, this lower level of Rumley has a vibrancy that cultivates and supports the artistic life we have chosen to live. Each of us has a space to create and explore new work. And . . . when both Don and I are working in our studios, life feels mighty magical.