Friday, September 15, 2017

Studio Visit: Joan Stuart Ross, Seattle and Nahcotta

Edited by Paula Fava

“I am fortunate to have two studios—one in an artists’ building in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and the other on the Long Beach Peninsula, five hours from Seattle in the southwest corner of Washington,” says Joan Stuart Ross. "The peninsula is surrounded by Willapa Bay on the east, the mighty Columbia River on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west."

Joan Stuart Ross preparing for the day in her BallardWorks studio in Seattle
This view of her in the studio’s southwest corner is where her desk, press and several work surfaces for monotype and collage are located

Joan's Seattle studio is at BallardWorks, near the Ballard Locks. "Three other artists and I bought and developed this building in 2003 and opened it to 20 artist tenants in 2004," she says. Her studio is 1,123 square feet with 10-foot ceilings; large windows face south toward Mt. Rainier and the boats in Shilshole Bay. She shares the studio with her husband, John Gleason, also a painter. 

“The two photos you see below look past my encaustic bench, toward the mountain, which often appears when it's clear. Cody sometimes keeps me company in the studio.The work I do in this urban studio can be large and complex, composed of panels, many layers and revisions of trial and error." 

Works in progress

Cody after a long day in the studio

The Nahcotta studio set amid the beauty of nature

Joan describes her second studio: “In 2008, I asked a contractor to build a studio for me on two acres of wetland and forest, which we call Froggy Hollow, in Nahcotta, a village near Willapa Bay. The studio is 600 square feet, with nine-foot ceilings, open rafters and many windows. 

“There I enjoy a lavender garden, listen for the sound of the ocean a mile away, and enjoy the Northwest spring and summer. I visit this studio during other seasons, mostly to think. The work I do there has been iconic and smaller, imagery of oysters and boats, the exemplars that surround one in the peninsula’s coastal environment. During the summer months, I also begin larger work, and find that I develop it here with a sense of abandon and experimentation.”


Joan in the Nahcotta studio, above

Views of the 600-square-foot space, left, which is illuminated in large part by skylights

Photos courtesy of the artist

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