My studio is in the small community of Des Montes located at the base of Taos Mountain, part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range in northern New Mexico. When David A Leffel and I moved here twenty-one years ago, we had 16 x 20 foot studios built onto the house before we arrived, so that there would be as little interruption in painting as possible. Just recently we built two new studios onto the house. The smaller studios have now become our living space.
Although there are few typical days here, most mornings after breakfast I take care of a few phone calls and then head into the studio, painting sometimes until 7:30 or 8 at night when the north light finally fades. I have dark shades that work from the bottom up and the top down so that I can control where and how much light comes in. The walls are painted a medium-dark value, a greyish-green color that perfectly compliments any object before it. If you want the formula, you can find it here, on my website.
This is undoubtedly the best studio I’ve ever had. It is 24 x 30 feet with twenty- foot ceilings, a loft that spans the width of the studio, dark brick floors, and a slanted north wall so that the light comes in from the top. And if I get the urge to paint landscape, I have only to step into the hallway and paint it through the French doors at the end of the pavilion looking out to the mountains or outside on the patio in clement weather. The worst part of the space is that it is a little too far from the Art Students League, the one place in New York that I truly miss. Teaching at the League was very special. But as you can see, I am doing my best to deal.
Still life props. Photo: James Cederlof
The Studio of Sherrie McGraw. Photo: Brad Lorbach