Behind the Scenes: Artists' Studios

My office is also a conference room on the third floor of a building on 46th Street in Midtown New York City. The desk and file cabinets are pushed against the east wall of what was once a library, and a large conference table and eight chairs are arranged in front of nonworking fireplace on the west side of the room. A few weeks ago, the entire space was transformed into an artist’s studio by our art director, Jamie Bogner, and a professional photographer, Nathan Kraxberger

The two men turned the conference table on its side and shoved it against my desk so there would be enough floor space to arrange a collection of studio furniture. Their purpose was to photograph products provided by the sponsors of our special Studios magazine in a simulated work environment that would show readers how they might use the products in their studios. Those included Artograph Open Studio furniture, a Blick H-Frame Studio II easel,  Gamblin oil paints and mediums, Faber-Castell colored pencils, Da Vinci paints, Royal & Langnickel brushes, and Blick canvases and paint sets.

Artist Claudia Seymour, who was profiled in a cover story of the September 2009 issue of American Artist, agreed to be the model in this studio setting, and she brought in examples of her stunning oil and pastel paintings, along with her own art supplies, to lend authenticity to the photographs. Some of my plein air landscapes were placed on shelves as additional props; and I bought a floral arrangement, fruit, and fabrics to simulate one of Claudia’s still life setups. Viewed through the lens of the camera, the entire set up really did look like an artist’s studio because the electrical chords, messy desk, upturned table, and bright lights were out of range.

Jamie, Nathan, and Claudia spent four hours setting up and shooting the one wide photograph and several detail shots that demonstrate what magic can be performed with careful art direction and skillful photography. Those informative photographs are included in the special Studios magazine that is available in bookstores and here in the Interweave Online Store. Jamie and Nathan also orchestrated the cover photograph of Dianne B. Bernhard in her National Arts Club studio, and that is a stunning image of an artist in her dream studio environment.

We’re all very excited about this special magazine and hope you will find it to be helpful, entertaining, and informative.

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M. Stephen Doherty

About M. Stephen Doherty

I've been interested in art since I was a child,  and I was fortunate to be able to take Saturday art classes at the Cincinnati Art Museum from the time I was 9 years old until I finished high school. I majored in art at Knox College and graduated summa *** laude, Phi Beta Kappa (proving artists can use both sides of their brain!).  I then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from Cornell University; taught art in public schools, a community college, an adult education program, and a college; worked in the marketing department of a company that manufactured screen printing supplies; and was hired to be editor of American Artist in January, 1979.

Thomas S. Buecher introduced me to plein air painting and it immediately became a passion of mine because it got me outdoors and allowed me to continue learning when I traveled to judge art shows, attend conventions, give lectures, and interview artists. Over the years I've exhibited my paintings at Bryant Galleries in New Orleans, Trees Place Gallery on Cape Cod, and in a traveling exhibition titled From Sea to Shining Sea.

I've written 10 books on artists and art techniques and contibuted articles to magazines, websites, and exhibition catalogs. Now as I prepare for semi-retirement, I'm trying to hone my painting skills -- especially those related to painting portraits.

I've been very fortunate to have met thousands of talented artists who have enriched my life with their art, their friendship, and their advice. I am grateful to Jerry Hobbs and Susan Meyer who hired me in 1979, to the talented people who worked with me on the magazines, and to the artists and advertisers who supported American Artist, Watercolor, Workshop, and Drawing  magazines and the related websites.

I've also been blessed with a supportive, talented wife, Sara; a daughter, Clare, who works for an insurance agency; a son, Michael, who is a computer enginner in Austin; a son-in-law, Shawn, who can fix and carry anything; a granddaughter, Amanda, who has me wrapped around her finger; and my mother, Dotty, who has advised and encouraged me from the beginning.

4 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Artists' Studios

  1. In the article, “Safety in the Studio,” you discuss Nox-Out Molecular Absorber. I have not been able to find a supplier on the internet. Can you tell me where I can obtain this.


  2. Steve, I think this is a great idea for a magazine.
    I have been working on ideas for the past 20 years on how to make my studio more efficient.
    I’ll by this addition to see if I can find some new ideas.
    Will there be any blueprints?

  3. Hello, I am new to this format, but would like to sing the praises of your STUDIOS MAGAZINE!!! I loved this style of new media surprises and was VERY INSPIRED by it; and I CONTINUE to reread the short descriptions with artists’ photos and their snapshot studio areas!! This is indeed “QUITE COZY” reading that is a SWELL COMPANION to AMERICAN ARTISTS MAGAZINE. Do you plan to publish more of these STUDIO MAGAZINE “treasures”?????- Makes the artists appear to BE MORE REAL, I imagine. THANK YOU!!!