Downsize or Expand

No, matter how tough things may feel,

there’s always something good waiting around the corner.

Karen Salmansohn

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Texas Paintbrush in the south of Texas, my backyard in April, not bad for inspiration!

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Texas Paintbrush in the south of Texas, my backyard in April, not bad for inspiration!

Last January, when a certain practical side of life interrupted art, I cancelled a few visits in Florida. Since then, I re-communicated with Dorothy Simpson Krause, a local artist and book maker from Ft. Lauderdale, whom I had planned on visiting. In response, Dorothy was generous in emailing me images of her atelier and art work to share with all of you.

In my creative world, a zone, a sacred space is missing — a studio. I identified with my last workroom in Boise, Idaho, as 1/2 Measure Studio, since my space was a third of the square footage of my studio in Utah, but it was comfortable. Now, my atelier has shrunk again! Should I call it 1/16 Measure Studio?

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. Working on my artists’ book “Shadow Me” in my 1/2 Measure Studio in Boise, Idaho.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. Working on my artists’ book “Shadow Me” in my 1/2 Measure Studio in Boise, Idaho.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Without a physical space to call my own, here I’m working on my artists’ book “Surveillance” in Natalie Freed’s studio in Austin, Texas.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Without a physical space to call my own, here I’m working on my artists’ book “Surveillance” in Natalie Freed’s studio in Austin, Texas.

As artists, we learn how to downsize or expand our space depending on our situation. In 2013 Dorothy sold her home of 35 years and gave up her 3,200 square foot studio in New England to move full-time into a condo in South Florida.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s studio in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s studio in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

Dorothy explains her space and how it has not prevented her from creating wonderful large scale mixed media pieces, artist books and book-like objects that bridge between these two forms.

I occupy a compact office/studio. It has adequate counter and storage for minor projects, an Apple Power Tower Pro with 30″ monitor, a 17″ MacBook Pro, an Epson RX680 duplex printer and a 13″ Epson Stylus Pro 3880.

The condo has a considerable storage space for necessary supplies and ephemera and an outside storage unit for larger art.

I use the counter/bar in the kitchen when I need to spread out. For larger projects, I am fortunate to have access to the workspaces at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts http://www.library.fau.edu/depts/spc/jaffe.htm at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. It is a excellent resource for inspiration and support.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s many filing cabinets.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s many filing cabinets.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Making a book for her Alaska trip.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Making a book for her Alaska trip.

Although my art background is traditional, the computer has become a primary art-making media, a repository of my records and my lifeline to the world.

My work embeds archetypal symbols and fragments of image and text in multiple layers of texture and meaning. It combines the humblest of materials, plaster, tar, wax and pigment, with the latest in technology to evoke the past and herald the future. My art-making is an integrated mode of inquiry that links concept and media in an ongoing dialogue — a visible means of exploring meaning.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Ancient Mysteries , a pyramid shaped structure was created after Dorothy had an opportunity to work with  Karen Hanmer .  Ancient Mysteries  can be folded in a virtually infinite number of ways, and is housed in a leather slipcase embellished with two triangular pieces of metal.6''x6''x1.5'' 36 pages

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Ancient Mysteries, a pyramid shaped structure was created after Dorothy had an opportunity to work with Karen Hanmer. Ancient Mysteries can be folded in a virtually infinite number of ways, and is housed in a leather slipcase embellished with two triangular pieces of metal.6''x6''x1.5'' 36 pages

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Explorations  was created during a trip to Egypt in 2010. Dorothy carried with her, a small book made with paper aged by crumpling and staining with tea, coffee and walnut ink. 6"x5.5", 24 pages.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Explorations was created during a trip to Egypt in 2010. Dorothy carried with her, a small book made with paper aged by crumpling and staining with tea, coffee and walnut ink. 6"x5.5", 24 pages.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Explorations  was bound with a heavy paper, embossed with symbols resembling heiroglyphics, and was pamphlet stitched with three beads in the spine.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Explorations was bound with a heavy paper, embossed with symbols resembling heiroglyphics, and was pamphlet stitched with three beads in the spine.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Vintage photographs of Egypt were collaged into the pages of  Explorations .

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Vintage photographs of Egypt were collaged into the pages of Explorations.

© 2018 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Apache  began on a trip to Arizona, this small book explores our appalling treatment of Native Americans. Vintage photos of Apache Indians are collaged onto small eco printed tags which are placed into a pocket accordion, designed to fit into a well-worn leather pouch. Closed 5.5″x 3.75″x 1.75″, opened (5.5″x 28″).

© 2018 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Apache began on a trip to Arizona, this small book explores our appalling treatment of Native Americans. Vintage photos of Apache Indians are collaged onto small eco printed tags which are placed into a pocket accordion, designed to fit into a well-worn leather pouch. Closed 5.5″x 3.75″x 1.75″, opened (5.5″x 28″).

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass  created as part of the Helen M. Salzberg Inaugural Artist in Residence at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Wimberly Library, Florida Atlantic University.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass created as part of the Helen M. Salzberg Inaugural Artist in Residence at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Wimberly Library, Florida Atlantic University.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass.

Dorothy eloquently explains her proposal for this prestigious residency and how her production paid homage to Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ seminal book, “The Everglades: River of Grass.


Through our mutual communication and after viewing Dorothy’s website, I’m looking forward to a visit, when life’s magnificent path escorts me back in that corner of the world.

Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of a new set-up in our travel trailer to work anytime a wave of creativity comes along. I have a picture of what is needed using a lift-top with an adjustable lift platform for under our bed. If anyone knows of someone that is handy with tools that can build me an under the bed worktable, please let me know. I will be spending another two weeks in the Phoenix, Tucson, Gila Bend area of Arizona.

I would love to visit some artists’ book makers in the area, if anyone is interested in meeting with me, please email me at louiselevergneux (at) gmail (dot) com. Looking forward in meeting you!

Example of my dream workstation!! but under the bed storage area instead of a pouf!

Example of my dream workstation!! but under the bed storage area instead of a pouf!


Short Journey

After months of work in my studio and many frustrations, I took a three-day leave to visit friends in Salt Lake City. I needed to calm my mind to tackle upcoming projects.

Dana Ryan Perez opened her studio for a visit. Dana has moved from the pressroom to the city farm, printing her way through the garden with ink from pigments in the leaves and stems.

The leaves are drawn out with steam, pressure and time. Some of the leaves give their precious colour willingly, others prefer not to let go. Using this sustainable method to transfer the pigments onto paper and fabric Dana created a series of Sustainable Botanical Prints.

Dana incorporated leaves in another medium, she completed two art pieces using Encaustic—a Greek word meaning “to heat or burn in." Heat is used throughout the process, from melting the beeswax and varnish to fusing the layers of wax. Encaustic comprises natural beeswax and dammar resin (crystallised tree sap). The medium can be used alone for its transparency or adhesive qualities or used pigmented.

© 2015 Dana Ryan Perez

© 2015 Dana Ryan Perez

Dana’s studio is filled with items of differing materials used in her work.

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm by Jon Katz a book to relax after long days in the studio. Gifted by friends and a reminder of the unconditional love our pets extend to us daily. Each studio I visit has a ball of fluff that gives a distinctive atmosphere, Dana’s Clyde isn’t any different. 

© 2016 Dana Ryan Perez, Mr Studio Dude snoozing! 

© 2016 Dana Ryan Perez, Mr Studio Dude snoozing! 

Good hosts Linda a great entrepreneur and Marty a painter who loves to write made our stay a spa for the brain. We had great conversations and lots of wine. Linda and Marty are the owners of Plant Jungle—a business for people who love indoor plants! 

After the five-hour drive back to Boise, I was surprised by a box waiting at my door. My camera!! I will not discuss the frustrations in getting this precious object back in my hands and in working order. The lesson to be learned is to buy a new camera instead of having it fixed!

Here is the first photo with my repaired Sony Alpha 33, a beautiful grape vine gifted by Linda and Marty.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

As I write my post, I watch from afar my D-SLR and imagine photographing the fantastic season of blooms! I hope!

Happy Spring!

Visit My Studio

Do you enjoy visiting artists’ studios? Spend time in another world? I do, I love it! 

An artist’s studio gives you insight, walls filled with inspiration, memorabilia, writings, flyers, invitation cards... One notices the workflow, the equipment collected through the years, the stack of papers, the assortment of book cloths...

I love small thingamajigs sitting on shelves or ideas pinned to boards. You can visualise the beginnings of a final piece, you can sense the artist’s mind cogitating.

Going from one project to another, how do you dust off your worktable and unburden your mind for a new project?

My mind gets clogged around what I call crunch time—the stretch between finishing touches, call for entries, the prospectus for new books! I can’t brainstorm for this post. No bright ideas to write, aucune idée, nada, zero...

Let's take a break and take this opportunity to visit my messy studio. My half studio not big gets messy fast. I had to move out a filling cabinet that supported my old Epson 2200 to make room for this—

 My Epson 2200 sits on a plastic bin to print business cards today.

My Dahle 554 cutter has found another calling—a bench for Finding Home's different elements of to be assembled.

cutter.jpg

My tools are full of glue so cleaning is a priority. How do you keep your tools clean as you work? Any advice is good!

At least, my small tools are in place.

My walls are full of artwork that inspires me but since the world is spinning fast, this cartoon reminds me to take it easy.

And the results of my labour, books and more books! How big is your inventory? 

Do you have a plan to organise your archives? Do you plan for the future for what happens to your legacy?

Work awaits...