Artist Patty Feist just wanted a place to turn out some art. Maybe the space over the new garage/mechanical room, she suggested to her husband, Bill, when he was drawing up the plans. Knowing her husband like she does, she shouldn’t have been surprised that what started out as a wish for a simple studio turned into a space with no comfort overlooked.
That includes hardwood floors, a stunning view, a full kitchen, and a shower in the bathroom.
“I told him that all I need is a sink to rinse my brushes and an outlet to make coffee, but he doesn’t like to do things half way. I don’t think I’ll ever use the shower, so right now I’m storing canvases in it,” Patty related.
The inspiring, loft-like 650 square-foot space was waiting for her when she returned from Northern California last spring, where she was taking art classes during her annual “art trip.”
“This is just a dream for me,” she said. “It is a space built with love, by my husband, who wanted to give me a great gift. A gift of my own space. A space to inspire and to grow. I can think of no better gift an artist can receive.”
While most of the building and finishing touches were taken care of by contractors, Bill added his own personal touch to the space by doing all the tiling and flooring himself.
Patty has filled the space with her own artwork, and with furnishings and accessories that help give the room an inspiring atmosphere.
The old desk (above left) and leather theatre seats (above right) came from Lois Lane Antiques Warehouse in Kelowna. The theatre seats were originally from the Penticton theatre.
The first floor entrance to her second storey studio (above left), and a peek into her studio powder room (above right).
Patty bought the old wooden box that now holds tubes of oil paints (above left) from Country Tree House in Kelowna. The smoothly polished coloured rocks (above right) were picked off a beach in NoCal that was covered in thousands of the naturally polished treasures.
The plaque, which reads, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away,” is a mantra of sorts for Patty.
Eight years ago she was in a car accident, and a year later another one (neither her fault, she stresses). In the early stages of her recovery, Patty said, she couldn’t move her head or even carry a coffee cup across the room.
Rather than feeling sorry for herself, the uber active mother of two boys decided pretty quickly to focus on the things she could do, rather than mourn the things she could no longer do. She challenged herself to try three new things that year, which she did. The first was to go on an adventure by herself (having married and started a family young, she had never travelled by herself up to that point). She also took a photography course, and a watercolour class.
While Patty’s art education was originally limited to high school art class, her travels since her accident have combined her passions and given her the opportunity to hone her artistic skills in such locales as California, New York and Italy.
With a sweeping view of the forested hillside, Patty said her studio offers her a welcoming place to express herself as an artist, or just daydream.
“I imagine my pieces might show more of an inner peace since moving in here,” she said. “You look out this beautiful window at the beautiful mountains and how can you not be at peace here? My work was always pretty peaceful, but now I think it’s more so.”
Patty has dubbed her retreat the Little Light Studio, named after the song This Little Light of Mine. She said she thought of the name when she heard the song on the radio one day and applied it to her passion for art. She says that once she found this metaphorical light in her life, all she wanted to do is let it shine. Look for her work to be posted on www.littlelightartist.com in a few weeks time.
– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier