Artist in Res­i­dence: Lyon’s share

This il­lus­tra­tor’s cus­tom-de­signed stu­dio fea­tures a ro­botic easel that’s ca­pa­ble of hold­ing up to 16 paint­ings at a time!

ImagineFX - - Editor’s Letter -

An­other jaw-drop­ping art stu­dio, an­other vivid day­dream pre­tend­ing that it’s mine…

I was lucky enough to build my stu­dio with some spe­cific fea­tures in mind. I wanted enough space to be able to work on sev­eral projects at once, teach work­shops and host other artists. I also wanted the con­sis­tency of north light and space that was com­fort­able. After all, I spend most of my wak­ing hours in my stu­dio! I also needed space to dis­play work ready to ship, or for clients who stop by the stu­dio.

Each week I have a por­trait night, when up to 12 other artists bring their sup­plies and we paint to­gether. My wife, Shari, and niece are also artists and share the stu­dio space with me.

It’s easy for artists to be­come her­mits, so I wanted a space that my fam­ily and friends could spend time with me. It isn’t un­usual for my kids to do their home­work, play games or just hang out in the stu­dio while I work.

I’ve run speaker wire to the cor­ners of the stu­dio so that I can have mu­sic fill the en­tire space. It’s one of my favourite and most im­por­tant fea­tures of my workspace.

My easel is on the east wall. It’s the stu­dio’s cen­tre­piece and where I spend the most time work­ing. I cre­ated a rough de­sign, and then my fa­ther used this to make a new type of easel that can lift and hold ei­ther a 20-foot wide can­vas or 16 smaller works at once. It’s pow­ered by an elec­tric mo­tor and con­trolled by a re­mote. Paint­ings can move side to side and up and down.

worldly trea­sures

I have a large, beau­ti­ful book case for my favourite art books and some trea­sures from around the world. On the south wall I have gallery hang­ers for dis­play­ing works to be shipped out or that are for sale, and space to store ex­tra easels and equip­ment.

The north wall has a six-foot win­dow that lets in a sub­stan­tial light and an al­cove/en­trance that serves as the work­ing space for Shari. The west wall is the dig­i­tal space where I do all my com­puter work.

My favourite spot in the stu­dio is the space in front of the win­dow where you can usu­ally find my dog, Max, sleep­ing or look­ing out the win­dow. I like to sit in the chairs there and read or sketch, and view the moun­tains and clouds out­side. Howard’s been an art di­rec­tor, con­cept artist and il­lus­tra­tor. See more of his fan­tasy and sci-fi art at www.howard­

On the south wall I have gallery hang­ers for dis­play­ing works to be shipped out or that are for sale

I like to have sev­eral paint­ings on the go at the same time and also use my easel space to en­able paint­ings to dry or wait for var­nish­ing. I like to dis­play my ref­er­ence us­ing a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. A goose­neck floor stand en­ables me get it in the per­fect po­si­tion for my ref­er­ence. The Re­turn of Flora is an al­le­gory about the aban­don­ment and of beauty in high art through the 10th cen­tury, but op­ti­mism about its re­turn. Flora, the Ro­man god­dess of flow­ers, is up at dawn, pre­par­ing for the cel­e­bra­tion ahead.

This is my ship­ping sta­tion. When or­ders come in for prints or paint­ings I can pack­age them up here.

I like to have a wall for dis­play­ing works for clients who want to visit the stu­dio. It’s good to live with your work for a bit, too.

Ev­ery spring I find my­self want­ing to paint flow­ers in my com­po­si­tions, to re­flect the chang­ing of the sea­sons.

I’ll of­ten build mod­els for my paint­ings. In this case, a first-cen­tury wooden boat. This en­ables me to shoot ex­cel­lent ref­er­ence of some­thing that would oth­er­wise be ex­tremely hard to get hold of.

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