My studio is about 800 square feet. I moved into this building in 2006, first on the third floor. A year later I moved to the fifth and top floor for the opportunity of having a north skylight built.
From 1974 to 2005 my studio was the dining room of an eight-room apartment on West 77th Street in Manhattan. In 2005 I sold this apartment and moved to a 1,200-square-foot studio in Union City, New Jersey. Then, in 2006, I moved to my present studio, which is located in Long Island City, closer to my residence, a small apartment in Manhattan.
When my studio was in my apartment, I did not have to spend time traveling and that was a timesaver, giving me more time to paint. But the advantage of a separate studio, a half-hour away from my residence, is a larger space in which to paint. I can paint larger canvases and there are fewer distractions.
As for my productivity, let me give you a little history. When I was teaching full time at the High School of Art & Design, from 1960 to 1982, I did a lot of painting. Every year and a half, I had a solo exhibition at the Harbor Gallery, in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, and sold about ninety percent of the paintings each time. When I worked as an illustrator, from 1980 to 2004, the publishers loaded me up with so much work and paid me so well that I had practically no time to pursue my own work. My greed and insecurity, combined with the responsibility to support my family, compromised my integrity as an artist. When I stopped doing illustration, in 2004, the quality and ideas in my art changed, and I became more interested in painting the reality of the streets as I had during the 1960s and 1970s. Over the last thirteen years, I’ve resumed painting more from life, which I had not done much as an illustrator. In fact, I began coming to the Art Students League in 2006 to practice painting from life. Two years later, I began teaching life painting in workshops and a summer class at the League. More and more of my painting has been done from life, especially my multifigure compositions.