The Artist and their environment

"Hanging With Albin" by Bill Farnsworth OPA

“Hanging With Albin” by Bill Farnsworth OPA

Artists have long been influenced by their surroundings.

California artist’s paint mostly California scenes and so on. But that is just the surface layer in what makes us who we are. For me, family is first , and if all is well on the home front, all will be well in the studio. Working out of my house all those years as an illustrator kept me in close contact with my family, so I knew most of the time what my kids were up to and put out the daily fires that spring up when you are working out of your home. I love to cook so at the end of a hopefully good day in the studio, I’ll pour a drink and start prepping dinner. The process of switching from a brush to a spatula is relaxing and is great time to wind down. Food is such a great part of life that if we treat it only as fuel, we are missing out. Cooking, like art has core principals, and if you learn those principals, wonderful things can happen. My wife Debbie is a Kindergarten Teacher, so she comes home wiped out and in need to talk with an adult and I need to talk to anybody but the dogs. We have created a home we both really love and it is a place of sanctuary. Our neighbors and friends come over for Potluck dinners once a week. Living in Florida has allowed us to live outside year round and working for myself was a great way to work at another passion, my back yard. During a couple of good illustration years I starting putting patios, Tiki bar, fountains and an outdoor fireplace. Building the fireplace was an extension of my creative energy.

"In The Bowl" by Bill Farnsworth OPA

“In The Bowl” by Bill Farnsworth OPA

"Dash of Light" by Bill Farnsworth OPA

“Dash of Light” by Bill Farnsworth OPA

It also became a big meeting place for family and friends. I think these elements family, friends, cooking and building things have made me a better artist. The balance act artists have to juggle in order to survive is different with all of us, but I think we all have to be aware of not just what’s in our studio but what surrounds us.

As artist’s, we are sensitive to our environment and usually shows itself in our paintings. Some move to locals that inspire them and start creating the best art of their lives. For many of us moving is not feasible, but we can make our studio and home a place that inspires. My wife understands that her five year old students, who are starting school for the first time, need to feel safe and happy in order to learn. If our environment is one that inspires and makes us happy it will show in the art we produce. Collectors buy art that makes their lives better and are in essence buying a piece of who we are. I don’t want to sugar coat our careers as artists because it is very difficult, but I am reminded of a school talk I did years ago and at the end of my show a little boy asked me “so you get to stay home and color all day?” Yes, yes I do.

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  • Marsha Savage

    This is a very important message to get across to other artists… any really anyone. Thanks for sharing a part of your life.


    Delightful article! Thanks for reminding me again how wonderful the creative life is and to stop and appreciate it once in awhile.

  • Sarah Keller

    That sounds like the life, and I’m very fortunate to be living that life right now. It is still hard work, but the creative and personal freedom that working at home provides is completely worth it! I always like to quote from A League of Their Own. “It’s supposed to be hard. That’s what makes it great!”

  • Aleada Siragusa

    Do you love it? He is a house husband and an artist.
    My husband Guy is taking care of most of the household chores, kitchen duties included for now so I can focus on my painting. We will share these duties more when his woodworking shop is built, but for now this is a huge help to me as I adjust to working in a studio again in Mimbres New Mexico after our move from St Petersburg Florida.

  • Suzanne Poursine Massion

    Bill, your article is the best one yet. When you started writing about the art of good cooking, you had me. I live in and paint the open spaces of the Prairie State, but my father’s Creole family was from New Orleans and that is where my taste buds live. My sister, Kay, who is a dancer, and I get together and whip up Gran’ Mer Poursine’s seafood gumbo and Jambalaya washed down with cold brewed chicory coffee. Then there’s that surprise at the end of the meal that the Creoles call Lagniappe. Cafe au lait and beignets anyone? Back to the studio. Let’s get that sunrise just right. Maybe it will be white bean gumbo on steamed rice tonight.

  • mbu8504

    that’s really good Bill

  • Bill Farnsworth

    Thank you for all your comments. It’s really about the art of living.

  • lornaallan

    So very true, especially your point “If our environment is one that inspires and makes us happy it will show in the art we produce”. Its important for us to feel good about coming home, being home and not having negative influences around us as we create. I enjoyed your article. Thank you.

  • karen

    Totally agree with you Bill, it is about the art of living! I am very grateful I have been able to work from home, family definitely comes first. It was a juggling act at times, but well worth it! Thanks for sharing this!!