For Better or For Worse…. Even if He Moves Into Your Studio
Longtime dk artist Holly Irwin was joined by her husband and new artist Ron Irwin this month for Romance of the Figure and Nude. Since this was the first show where their work was shown together, we sat down to talk with them about art and love, and sharing studio space. Here is a little of what they had to say.
dk: Are the Irwins “Morning People?”
Ron: “Yes we are.”
Holly: “No we’re not. See? We’re fighting already.”
Followed by laughter.
dk: Ron, you are in the latest Figure & Nude show with your wife, Holly. But you weren’t always an artist. How did this happen?
Ron: “I’ve always worked with my hands–I was in the remodeling business for over 30 years. Of course, Holly was always an artist even when she was working in the corporate world. So very often, I worked for artists that I met through Holly. Working in artists’ homes and spending so much time around them and their families —and of course, living with an artist — gave me such great perspective on fine art. It felt like a natural part of me. And after working for so long at the remodeling trade, I was ready to try something new….”
Holly: “One morning about 4 years ago, I asked him if he would help me by preparing a canvas surface as I was under a deadline for an upcoming show—he always helped build and prepare canvases for me. That morning he walked into my studio with the canvas, picked up a palette knife and said, “I’m going to paint.” And he did. He started putting paint on my canvas. And at first, I thought, “well that was for me.” But he kept on going.”
“Imagine my surprise…..”
Ron: “A week after I began painting that canvas I was coming in every day doing a little more when I noticed I was alone in the studio. (he laughs) My physical way of working had paint flying, and I was a little like a bull in a china shop. And even though I was enjoying the new exploration, Holly wasn’t getting any work done. So after about 5 more weeks of trying to share that space, I moved into the basement. That was the start. Holly got her studio and her sanity back.”
Holly: “Well, that’s questionable.” (laughter) “At first I was shocked, but it really isn’t that shocking because he’s always been very creative– always making creative suggestions to clients.”
And even though she was shocked at first, Holly says she’s really happy about it now. Ron has built out the entire basement for studio space. They have a lot more room, and the casual environment of the basement allows more freedom from the worry of “messing up” the floors and walls. The final touch? A wall separating the room to give them their own working space.
Holly: But it’s nice because we are down there together. Ron always puts on some kind of funky, high-energy music and we work at the same time now in our dedicated spaces.
Ron shared many of the details on how he built Holly’s new custom studio with the love and care of a husband and contractor. He says she has so much space now and she deserves it.
Ron: “I have become more patient, more tolerant, and more confident in the painting process. But it’s a continuous learning process…..”
Holly finishes his sentence…..”you’re never quite satisfied. You’re always looking for the next thing to improve yourself.”
To see Ron and Holly’s work, stop by dk gallery for this month’s Romance of the Figure and Nude Show, through February 29th.