My New Little Sanctuary

7I9A2617I’ve been slowly and deliciously chewing my way through Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances (which is a splurge brand new so look for it used).  It is one of the most beautiful art books I’ve ever handled, and full of snippets of wisdom and truth, and once you read her thoughts and letters and the things others wrote about her you can fully appreciate what she was trying to do with her paintings and they become unquestionably beautiful.  She wrote a lot about how the artist must create a sanctuary to create in and that once in her creative sanctuary, she must not be disturbed lest she suffer murdered inspirations.  She didn’t even allow herself a dog or a cat while living remotely in New Mexico.  She cloistered herself away in order to create without interruptions, to keep her inspiration as pure as possible.

While I do have some hermit-y tendencies, I do not mind the occasional studio interruption (especially if it is fur bearing).  And of course, there’s my trail run every day around 2:30pm, wherein I interrupt myself and which I daydream about as I work, looking forward to the wind and the sky all around me.

I am trying to keep this new studio as spare as possible.  I like the texture of the room, the volcanic stone work, the quiet paint color of the upper walls  and the light is amazing — the wall behind my benches in this photo is the only complete wall in the space.  The room has light pouring in from two directions of windowed walls and a third wall bears big French doors that lead into the dining room.  I have worked out of 8 different studios in the past 9 years and this is by far my most favorite space yet.


  1. Chris Moore says:

    I love the phrase ‘murdered inspirations’. I feel like that every morning. I have the most wonderful waking dreams and thoughts. When I open my eyes, they become instantly ephemeral. My cat looks a lot like yours, except mine is huge, named Atlas the Bruiser. There is nothing more comforting than a cat, in particular, a tabby cat. Cheers!

    • I hate that “murdered inspirations” is a reality!!! I have troubles with flitting ideas, too, especially when I am running. For a while I tried to carry a notebook and pen with me when trail running but I found it cumbersome. Anyway, that’s not really murdered inspiration and I do believe that if it’s meant to stick in the mind and heart, it does, and it will find its way to the surface again, eventually!

      That’s Sugar Baby. She’s such a fuzz.

  2. What a gorgeous space you have here Jillian. I love the stone wall and the wood. Such an organic feel to it all. I wish for you wonderful inspiration in this space and hours of spiritual creativity that then pours from your fingers into the beautiful stones and metals you so beautifully shape into art. Much happiness to you and Robert in your new home. Now, I must go find a used copy of Paintings, Writings, Remembrances.

    • Debbie,

      It’s shaping up nicely, the whole house is. I’m not in a rush to fill walls or space. I’m just letting things find their way to us. It might take me years to feel like I’ve really impressed myself upon this space! But I do really like this studio very much.


  3. ….and, what is sugarbaby brontë thinking?!?!

    i must find myself a copy of this book. yes, used is best, recycling beloved books.


  4. the lack of unbroken wall space is a delicious thing– while challenging for furniture placement it opens up the space visually to incorporate the outdoors and, when looking out at the trees, creates a limitless feeling.
    as for agnes martin, she is enormously interesting in the way she viewed life and why she truly needed to be a hermit. for those who are interested, it is possible to download a free copy of her book “writings” on Scrib’d: you do have to join, but you get a 30-day free trial which really can’t be beat. her books are very expensive, even used, and before we purchase books like that we usually request them through our public library’s prospector system. if we love it, then we buy it! i have been very thankful for it many times when books have turned out to be disappointing. right now i’m waiting for four titles to come in, about perle fine, matisse, abstract paintings by women artists, and modern abstract painters. i only recently realized how much i love abstracts with rich color markings. big, glossy, full color art books are my kind of armchair travel!
    in other news, i picked up our red short-haired Penelope-twin doxie this morning following back surgery– oy!! nomie is a quiet dog that never really makes a sound, but he vocalized for a full 30 minutes from the moment the vet brought him to me until he was home, reunited with his four brothers, had a snack, then passed out cold in his crate! keeping him still(ish) in the coming weeks is going to present a challenge for sure…
    i’m so happy for you in your new space– all of it, from the orchard to the hay field to the kitchen to the studio! not to mention the snow squalls, the sunshine, the wind, and the starlight. you are *home*!!

    • True true! This space does hold a limitless feeling!

      I knew YOU would know of Agnes and have some thoughts on her. Do you think “Writings” is worth owning???

      Glad Nomie made it through surgery ok. I haven’t shared it anywhere online but Penelope has been plagued with health issues since last spring and any time she’s spunky and feeling good is a time to celebrate! The weenies really are hilarious!


  5. Kara Bozik says:

    Glad you are back, hopefully a little rejuvenated and nesting in quite nicely to your new habitat 🙂

    • I am feeling really rejuvenated. Yesterday while driving with Robbie I looked over and said, “I’m so sorry about how tired I was this fall up until Christmas. I really needed to get my roots settled in some home dirt and unpack all the boxes of my life.”

      It’s good to finally be here.

  6. traceyp. says:

    Jullian, I am sooooo happy you are sharing your studio, I have always LOVED seeing you workspace and this is my favorite of all! I have a question for you- we just purchase a cabin and I love, want, need to know what color is on the board and batten wall above the stone? It’s a beautiful creamy white and with my dark interior would work perfectly in my space. Please pass the information on to me will you?
    Thanks in advance and many wonderful years in your “dream home”

  7. traceyp. says:

    sorry, your name was auto corrected, Jillian was what I wrote above!

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