A new vision

Local artist and her father turn old Camas home into art studio, living space

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The Elida Field Art Studio & Gallery is located at 735 N.E. Sixth Ave., Camas.

For more information about upcoming workshops, art classes, art trips to Europe and other special events, visit www.elidaart.com or E-mail elidafield@yahoo.com.

The Elida Field Art Studio & Gallery is located at 735 N.E. Sixth Ave., Camas.

For more information about upcoming workshops, art classes, art trips to Europe and other special events, visit www.elidaart.com or E-mail elidafield@yahoo.com.

Elida Field has long dreamed of having her own studio. The Camas artist has used her basement and leased in the past, but always desired her own, dedicated space.

So, when a friend in real estate suggested she fix up an old house on the edge of downtown Camas that was coming on the market, Field jumped at the opportunity.

“She said I should buy the house and remodel it to fit with the vision I had in mind,” Field said. “Use the top two floors for my home, and turn the downstairs into an art studio.”

Field and her father, Randy Bjur, made an offer the same day they looked at the house.

“As soon as people realized it was for sale, 70 offers came in,” she said. “People love this house.”

After their offer was accepted, Field and Bjur began an extensive, nine-month remodel.

“My father has a lot of experience in new construction, but this was his first big remodel,” Field said. “We took out stairs to the basement so it could be a separate studio from my house and we added windows.”

There was extensive flood damage in the studio area, so much so that it basically had to be stripped down to the studs.

“It was an absolute disaster,” Field said. “You couldn’t even walk in here. We had a vision to clear it out and put a driveway outside. I wanted a lot of light down here and there was none. We co-designed a lot of things.”

French doors were added that lead to the outside of the studio, and an antique chandelier was installed in the porch area.

“My dad thought it was nuts,” she said with a smile. “But it turned out really nice.”

It wasn’t the first aspect of the remodel where father and daughter didn’t see eye-to-eye. Field wanted black doors with white trim, and the outside of the house painted a grey-green with black trim.

“I told him my paint colors as I was headed off to Italy and he was freaking out,” she joked.

On the main floor, a laundry room was created, the ceiling was lifted and the floor was dropped. Upstairs, a bathroom was added in an otherwise unusable space. Hallways were added, walls were knocked down, and new plumbing and electrical was created.

In November, the studio remodel was complete. Field is still planning to add a kitchen and complete work on the bathroom.

“It’s a wonderful space,” she said. “I’m looking forward to doing more classes and workshops.”

The house is still a work in progress, but is nearing completion.

Soon after Field began remodeling the home at Sixth Avenue and Garfield Street, her parents moved into a home on Seventh Avenue.

“My dad was remodeling this house and theirs at the same time,” she said. “He was not afraid to dive in.”

Since the remodel, Field said that many people have dropped by to check out the studio and the house.

“They are curious,” she said. “We kept the original hardwoods, the original fireplace and the old steps to the top floor. These kinds of things keep the integrity of the home and people love this house.”

Field noted that since the remodel, business has doubled. Previously, her business was located on Cedar Street.

“It was great being in downtown Camas, but I think there is better visibility here,” she said. “I love what I do and where I am. People work their whole lives to do what I do. For me, it’s the perfect job. I get to be creative, teach and travel to Europe two to three times a year.”

Field offers art classes for both children and adults, as well as workshops with guest artists, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, baby showers and free demonstration nights. She also does commissioned paintings and individual consultations. Recently, she created an anniversary painting, using a sketch her client made. She also coordinates European tours, which include an artistic component.

“There is really no limit to what you can do with art,” Field said. “Ideally, I would love the space to be used as an art center for both adults and kids. I really like bringing in guest artists and having a mix of people here. There is nothing in my studio that can’t be touched. I want kids to be able to be comfortable here. It is a studio first and a gallery second.”

Field is also hoping to reach out to the teen population.

“There’s a real need to offer them options,” she said. “There’s not a lot out there right now.”

Having a vital art studio near the downtown core helps everyone, Field said.

“We all feed into each other,” she noted. “I can tell them where to get the best food in Camas, where the antique shops are at and where to get coffee. Everybody here helps each other. I can’t think of a better solution for the space here. It just fits. The studio is the studio, and the house is the house, but they are in the same location.”

When asked if she plans to do this for a lifetime, Field looks around her studio, a small smile playing at the corner of her lips.

“It’s not about how much money I make,” she said. “It’s about doing what I love. With art, I can merge my passion with my job.”

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