Studio Visit with Carlyle Wolfe

Carlyle Wolfe is based in Oxford Mississippi.

“Not surprisingly, seasonal changes play a strong part even in the pictures of home.”

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“My studio is just across my driveway, and a lot of the plants that I watch and draw live right here. I walk back and forth underneath a redbud tree that reaches way out from under a giant pecan tree. The redbud makes my driveway less user-friendly for visitors, but I think of it like a natural arbor and love looking closely at the branches in every season.”

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“Harry and Buddy, my two terriers, spend most of the day watching me. It’s fun to look out of the window and meet Buddy’s stare. We have a routine.”

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“The previous owners, Bayard and Jane Hart Morgan, had a pottery studio. They used the front climate-controlled building for wet work, and the back well ventilated building with the barn doors for kilns.”

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“I never knew that I needed a studio building without heat or air-conditioning and barn doors that open wide, but it’s been perfect for me. I spray paint a good bit, so the ventilation is necessary. (I also wear a respirator.) I keep my stencils spread out on tables around the edges of the room and set paintings in progress horizontally on saw horses near the doors.”

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“I heard that two sisters lived in the front studio building while they built the house in 1910. Bayard and Jane Hart renovated the building using materials from a barn in the Mississippi Delta. Even the storage racks they used for pottery are perfect for my paintings. They covered the interior walls with corrugated steel. I’ve gradually covered them with studies and index cards and the hundreds of magnets I originally used to install an exhibition of drawings. The windows and changing natural light make me happy, and I have a bird feeder out front.”

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“The studio is where most of my work happens, but I also spend a good bit of time at my computer inside my house. From line drawings of plants, I cut out silhouettes that I use as stencils in paintings. After about 10 years of cutting stencils with an x-acto knife, I started using laser cutters and plotters to make the process more efficient and easier on my hands. I trace the shapes with the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator (yay audiobooks), and then I use a Silhouette Cameo to cut smaller shapes and a new US Cutter vinyl cutter to cut larger shapes.”

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“It works for me to have so many distinct parts of the process – and to move from one workspace to another and even outside.”

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