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The Southwick Studio Then & Now  

Southwick Studio today banner
the north window and cobbler's bench.
A photograph by F. Earl Williams of the
north window from outside.

Inside the: Southwick Studio


There are most likely several reasons why Woodward bought the Southwick place; it was high on a sloping hill with wonderful vistas all around him, plenty of inspriation to draw from and paint. The home itself was old, historic and possessed a classic New England simplicity he appreciated. It is fairly well known that he loved to fashion his homes with old boards rescued from crumbling buildings in the surrounding area. He also collected 'perfect' stones he'd come across when out painting. In many respects, he was a perservationist. New England was not just a home to him, it was a passion he wanted kept alive and so the 1830's blacksmith shop had to be an irresistable opportunity to him.


However, for it to be a fruitful studio a couple of things had to be done. For one thing, it sat below the house and for another, it needed more light. So the shop was raised up about 4 feet from where it sat, using turn lifts and a stone foundation was built for it to rest on. Then, Woodward had an extention added to the north side of the studio and had a picturesque "artist" window built aptly called the "North Window." It cannot be expressed enough what an oddity this was in cold New England. Because of the way the sun tracks across the sky from east to west you get a lot of places with windows facing either direction. But in addition to that, the sun tends to track southernly and in the winter even MORE southernly. So windows on the north face of any home in New England would be a rarity. Yet, the artist "North Window" is a tradition dating back centuries to Europe.


A photograph of the north window today
A photograph of the north window today.
Woodward used this corner to show paintings to clients.

Light possesses color which varies and is referred to in tempurate tones like warm or cool. Warm light color is found in the early mornings and evening as the sun rises and falls. The light holds tones of red and orange. When the sun is hightest (noon) the color temperature cools to blues and violets. As you can imagine, this would greatly effect the paint color choices of an artist mixing paints for a pallette. A north window is believed to hold the most consistant and natural light tempurature throughout an entire day and therefore is ideal for an artist. The window also gave Woodward a full vantage point to the north from which to paint and paint he did. He painted more window paintings from the north window than any of the other windows in the studio.


We should never lose sight of or forget that Woodward's father was a real estate developer who wanted his son to go to school for engineering and design. RSW was a gifted draftsman with and eye for design and skilled enough to draw his visions out. Outside the new North Window would also include an extension on to the barn to stable his horse Trigger. The North Window was not the only change Woodward added to the blacksmith shop to make it into a studio. Below are copies of hand drawn designs for a display case and book shlevs as well as a desk corner and work area.


Drawing of RSW's vision for the barn extension
Drawing of RSW's vision
for the barn extension

Drawing of RSW's design for shelves and storage
Drawing of RSW's design for
shelves and storage

Drawing of RSW's design for his desk area
Drawing of RSW's design for his desk area

Drawing of RSW's vision for the barn extension
Drawing of RSW's vision
for the barn extension

Drawing of RSW's design for shelves and storage
Drawing of RSW's design for
shelves and storage

A photograph view of the valley and hills
A photograph by F. Earl Williams of the desk
corner and door leading to the balcony.
A photograph of the cobbler's bench
A photograph of the cobbler's bench today. The
easel behind the bench is also seen in the old picture.
A photograph of the north window today
A photograph of the north window today.
Woodward used this corner to show paintings to clients.

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A photograph view of the valley and hills
A photograph by F. Earl Williams of the desk
corner and door leading to the balcony.
An October Gold
A photograph by F. Earl Williams of the wall
clock. The studio entrance just making the picture.

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A photograph view of the valley and hills
A photograph by F. Earl Williams of the blacksmith
hearth and schoolroom stove that heated the studio.
An October Gold
A photograph of the blacksmith hearth and
schoolroom stove today, just as it looked then.

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