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Cathy Shanahan, detail

Dana Eaton, detail

I recently visited a beautiful studio in the hills above Santa Rosa.  A converted three-car garage at Cathy Shanahan’s home,  it provides a wonderful space for Cathy’s groundbreaking art quilts in textile and dye and Dana Eaton’s evocative abstractions in acrylic.

Large and full of light!

Studio showing Cathy’s work in progress, with Dana in background

The studio is a wonderland of light, space, and materials.  It’s enough to make another artist , like me, envious. Cathy Shanahan does revolutionary abstract quilting.  Her dyes, threads, sewing machines, and dye baths make the studio into an alchemical laboratory, with stunning results.

Cathy Shanahan, detail

Two of Cathy Shanahan’s quilts are currently on tour internationally, and she has exhibited in museum and quilting association shows.  She’s a master of her media, and she’s defining her own terms as she goes along, breaking away from traditional quiltmaking and into her own unique territory, the mark of a artist.  Tour more of her lovely work at http://www.cathyshanahan.org/. The photo below gives a good feeling for her bright spirit.

Cathy and studio buddy

Dana Eaton’s richly-hued abstractions invite the viewer deep inside a world of saturated color.  It’s so cool to see her paintings in the same studio as Cathy’s quilts, an intoxicating brew.

Dana Eaton, detail

Dana Eaton, detail

The bright spots of light in the overall composition of these works gives the eye so much to play with.  They have a dreamlike quality and one can feel an almost volcanic warmth bubbling through them.  Dana Eaton is an accomplished artist in two media, printmaking and painting. She has an impeccable feeling for repetition in form and texture, and has translated her vision from detailed, Durer-esque black and white landscape prints and monotypes into new worlds of vivid color and abstraction.  You can enjoy some of these prints at http://www.eatonstudios.com/index.html

Dana Eaton abstract paintings

Cathy and Dana share a studio and often work at the same time in this generous space, lending each other a critical eye and support.  I really like it when I have others round about my studio, and have been lucky never to feel overly distracted. Perhaps because more women are painting now, the notion of a more communal, friendly, shared working space is coming into its own.  I’m very happy to say that they both have been students of mine, and I’m  humbled by the quality of their work.

I’ve published more studio photos below.  Do you think you could work in a shared or partially-shared studio space? I have before, and it wasn’t hard. What studio accessory would you most like right now?  I must confess that I  loved Cathy’s tiny Canon printer, no bigger than one’s hand. It could spit out a glossy 4″ x 6″ photo immediately from your camera or phone memory card.  Cool toy!

Cathy’s tiny printer with photo coming out. She uses this as a color and composition tool!

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