Sunday, January 2, 2011

Home and Work Are Here

JANICE:  We live in a playful tree house designed by my architect, Tom. It is made of cedar and glass and perches on the edge of a bluff overlooking Shoal Creek greenbelt, thus the name Shoal Creek Studios. Even though our house is in central Austin, it feels like we are in the country. Here is the garden gate entrance, and I am welcoming you to come in.

We walk down a brick path to Tom's studio. Our house is in two parts, the Little House and the Big House. Tom's studio is in the Little House. Here he is inviting us inside.

Then we watch him working at his light table. He makes a first rough sketch of an illustration, lays another sheet of paper over it and makes a more detailed drawing over the lines he can see through the paper.

Our cat Sally used to watch him and sometimes sat on his illustrations!

Now let's walk across the bridge to the Big House where we live and I have my studio.

We go through the blue door into the living room. There are many windows, especially in this two-story space. When the moon is full, we can watch it rise from the horizon to the top of the night sky. The walls are covered with paintings by family members, Tom, our sons Karl and Daniel, and Tom's mother Madolene. I am the only one who paints with words.

I love my studio. It is sunny and spacious and holds three desks plus a couch. The walls are lined with bookshelves except for one that is covered with images I gather during research. These help me visualize as I write.

We have always worked together and find it stimulating and occasionally maddening! We bounce ideas back and forth and come up with concepts that neither would have thought of by ourselves. I have mental images of scenes and often make stick figure drawings that Tom turns into something alive. And sometimes I change my words to reflect his illustration because he has a better idea. We wouldn't have it any other way.