When Dean Mitchell decided to leave his basement studio in the Kansas City suburbs and move back to Florida where he grew up, he was looking for a place with more natural light—and also seeking a better balance between his work and personal life. “I actually wanted a personal life,” he says with a laugh.
“Working in an aesthetically pleasing environment is very important to me,” says the artist. In his travels around the country, he has always enjoyed “scrounging around” for sculpture and antique pieces to furnish his studio.
He chose the furnishings because he liked their design but also because they’re functional—they store his art materials, including oil (Old Holland) and watercolor paints (Winsor & Newton, Grumbacher, American Journey). See the three photos below.
Mitchell uses his balcony area (shown below) year-round for working,
relaxing and entertaining clients and collectors.
To the right of the stairway to the loft is a small kitchen (shown below), which comes in handy when the artist is busy finishing a project. Depending on his mood or the deadline for the project at hand, he can choose to walk down the street for a bite and a glimpse of other people or he can grab a quick meal in his studio kitchen.
This view shows Mitchell’s work area (shown below) with its 20-foot wall of windows facing the northwest. The drop cloth on the floor has been replaced with a plastic sheet from Ikea to protect the hardwood floors. His taboret-of-sorts is a small table with drawers and a plastic-laminate top.
Upstairs he had a large closet built in (shown below), where he stores slides, exhibition materials and books. There’s also a storage closet there, where he keeps boxes and shipping materials, as UPS picks up directly from the studio.
Dean Mitchell’s work has won hundreds of awards, including first prize at the T.H. Saunders International Artist and Watercolour Show in London, the Hubbard Art Award for Excellence, and the Gold Medal of Honor from the American Watercolor Society. His work is represented by Bryant Galleries (New Orleans), Hearne Fine Art (Little Rock, Arkansas), Morris & Whiteside Galleries (Hilton Head, South Carolina) and Marshall Gallery (Scottsdale, Arizona).
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