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Past samplings from our monthly newsletter

Dear Artist, I would like to have an art studio in my home, but I have little extra space in my house. Can you give me any suggestions on how to set up an art studio in a small space?

When I had my studio in the corner of our living room, I did some creative organizing. My workspace was a 3' x 6' sheet of plywood on top of a drawing table. Underneath the table I had several rolling carts (both the open metal wire basket variety and the plastic drawer kind) that held most of my art materials. Paper was either rolled into tubes or in flat cardboard portfolios against the wall. When I worked I could pull out all of the materials, and then slide them back under the table to put them away. One perk for the neighbors was that I often taped a painting to the window in front of me to contemplate it, and it was visible from the street outside! If you want to completely hide the storage underneath, you could staple a fabric panel to the edge of the plywood board as a "skirt". -- Kay Stratman:

Dear Artist, I need to make slides of my artwork for applying to juried shows. Can you give me some tips on this?

Answer: First and foremost, finished slides should look professional.

--The slide image should include only the artwork or craft item, not the mat on a painting or the room background for a craft item. Slides can be taped to exclude unwanted information.

-- When looking for a professional photographer to have slides made, shop around for prices; be sure and ask about taping ahead of time, since some businesses do not tape slides; and find out how the photographer will store and secure your work while it is in their shop.

--The slide colors should match the colors in the artwork. Art often requires special photographic settings – for example, high contrast watercolors can look faded out if the photographer simply uses a camera setting to match the lightest color. If the slide is one camera setting darker, the work looks better. So when you first start getting slides of your artwork, ask the photographer to shoot the work on at least three different camera settings (this is called bracketing) and pick the resulting slide that most resembles your work.

--Technical knowledge matters in making slides – for example, certain types of slide film look accurate only with special lighting. Lights should be set up at an angle that prevents unwanted shadows or glare. For shots of 2-dimensional work, the camera lens should be exactly parallel to the work.

--Remember to have slides made of your work before you frame it, to minimize problems from frame shadows and glass glare.

--For the best slide quality, make at least 5 or 6 original slides of the same work to avoid needing to make lower quality copies later on.

--Store your slides in acid-free plastic slide sleeves at room temperature and away from high humidity. You can buy slide sleeves in a page-size format for storage in a notebook.

--Since juried shows have a variety of slide labeling requirements, don’t label your slides until you are ready to submit them for a juried competition. However, do label your slide sleeves with information such as the name, size, and price of the work, so you don’t have to go back and research that before applying to a juried show.