flooding in my studio yesterday / by Philip Tarlow

11:06 am: Yesterday, when I arrived at my studio to continue work on my “Sound of a Flute” series of paintings, I noticed water around the front door, pouring down from above the door. When I opened the door, there was standing water in the entire North portion of my studio, and bulging areas in the ceiling, where it was obvious that water was pooling. I immediately shut off the main water valve, and the rest I’ll talk about when I have time later today.

What you see on the right is a large oil discovered by the mitigation team, rolled up & wet on the bottom of a closet affected by the flooding. I lay it out to dry in the sun. It’s undated, & I have no memory of when I painted it....probably in the mid-90’s.


fortunately, not many paintings were damaged. although my flat file cabinet was directly under the area of the ceiling where the water was descending

from the water heater in my loft, the water only entered the bottom drawer, which had been partially open. it didn’t contain important gouache paintings, but the ones it did contain were damaged.

my studio was due for a big re-org, so this served as my wakeup call. it will be at least 10-14 days before i can get back to work painting. mikela is over there right now, sifting through stuff & preparing for when the mitigation team of 3 arrive around 1pm. before they left yesterday, they set up fans, dehumdifiers &, in the bathroom, a heater which will drive the temperature in there up to 100F.

what i can do while i’m waiting for the moment i can continue work on my sound of a flute series, is stretch 6 new 78x26” canvasses intended for the series, unstretch a bunch of painitngs that don’t make it as 10’s & venture out to the creek to make some plein air gouaches & oils, which i’ve been waiting to do since the mosquito season ended about 10 days ago.

BELOW: a tour of the scene in my studio yesterday & today. the 3 members of the mitigation team, out of salida, colorado, are true professionals who work swiftly & with certainty. their work will continue for about another week, until there’s no dampness left in the ceiling & walls. the dehumifiers & heaters they placed will be operating non stop throughout this period. so far they have carted away 2 full truck loads of stuff that was irreparably damaged or simply no longer needed.

once it’s all over, I will have a much cleaner & less cluttered studio. thanks in a large part to mikela’s organizing skills, everything will have it’s place: tools; brushes; paints; stretcher bars; paper; canvas; etc. my challenge is to keep it that way. that does not come naturally to me, so i just have to remain vigilant & immedialy throw stuff away that is no longer needed, and put stuff back where it belongs when i’m done with it.

in the end, this disaster will actually benefit me tremendously. right now, after a day of sorting, moving stuff & clumping paintings, tools and materials all day, we’re exhausted. at least, starting tomorrow, our 4 day streak of record breaking heat will begin to subside, with cooler temps & thunderstorms predicted for the weekend.