Art @ Home: Make a New Friend: In the Studio

When you make friends with a work of art at the museum, you begin a friendship that will grow and grow, just like when you make friends with a person. And, you’ll discover that whenever you spend time with your friend, you’ll learn new things about what you see and how you feel about it.

Today, we’re going to make friends with a work of art by Louis Charles Moeller called In the Studio. Artists often create works of art that feature rooms—filled with details that tell stories of that place and the people in it.

Louis Charles Moeller, In the Studio, 1885. Oil on panel, 14 1/4 in. x 11 1/4 in. (36.2 cm x 28.58 cm). The Lunder Collection, 037.2009.

In this painting, there are many details to discover. 

  • We see a woman holding a work of art in her hand, looking intently at it. What words would you use to describe the woman’s appearance and clothing? Any ideas about what she might be thinking about in this space?
  • All around her are works of art—sketches stacked on a shelf and tacked on the wall, a statue and vase on a nearby cupboard, and a large portfolio filled with drawings at her feet. What do you notice about the works of art in this room? 
  • All the spaces around the woman are filled with patterns and designs—the rugs on the floor, the tapestries on the wall, and the carvings in the wood furniture. Do you see any repeating patterns?

One thing we don’t see in this studio are the actual tools that an artist would use. In addition, the woman doesn’t seem to be wearing a dress you’d want to paint or draw in, so that may tell us that she is not the actual artist but rather someone who has come to visit and see works of art in this space. What do you think the artist wanted us to notice, and remember, about this painting?

Let’s get inspired by this work of art and create a drawing of an artist’s studio. You could imagine it’s your studio, or perhaps another artist’s studio you are visiting like the woman in this painting. 

Find a piece of paper and pencil. Begin by drawing a square – a ruler can help you draw straight lines. Then draw lines from each corner, the way you see it drawn here to create the dimensions of a room. 

Next, decorate the wall of your studio with works of art. You could add a shelf or table for sculptures too. If you want to add color or more details, you can use other drawing tools like crayons, pens, colored pencils, or markers.


Bonus Activity

Create a poem about the studio space you created. Richard Blanco, a poet and Maine resident, has written a terrific poem about a room he remembers from his childhood, El Florida Room. It’s a good example of how you can use descriptive language to help people picture a place in their heads. You can find the poem at the Academy of American Poets website, here.

Create your own poem, using descriptive language that includes some of the details in your drawing. Here’s an example of a poem that includes descriptive words about the studio space that was drawn, and invites people to that space.

In the Studio

When I spend time in the studio, I am surrounded by bright colors
—pink, red, purple, and green.
I see pictures of quiet owls, and dancing frogs in a field.
They make me laugh.
Not a room of quiet and calm, but one that is filled with
Bright colors and joy.
This is a place that welcomes the sun. And, you.
Come and see me there.

Have fun being creative—we can’t wait to see how this artist inspires you! Have a parent tag @ColbyMuseum on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #ArtAtHome, and we might share your creation with our followers.

Inspiration by Kristin Bergquist, Mirken Curator of Education and Engagement