We all dream of the perfect studio space, the loft with the big north window, a seperate building just for art. I'm on my eighth studio. Surprised? Most artists must find ways to create art in a variety of spaces.
Most of us start on a eating table, but less than ideal when you must set up and clean up before eating on that table. As a mother of two small boys in the early 70's this was a problem in a lot of ways. Including the boys getting into paint that ended up on hallway walls.
I started in oils in the 70's, moved to watercolor when my son kept getting into the turps to clean brushes. So the eating table was quickly abandonded.
Studio #1 A small drafting table tucked into the dinning room near a window that way I could quickly sit down and practice techniques just for a few minutes, which is all I had with two boys. Ocassionaly a crayon creation would happen on a sad watercolor I left on the table. It was an improvement I'm sure.
TIP: So a corner of any room can hold an art table, desk lamp, table easle, ect. and a chair or stool. This way a few minutes of practice is better than not painting. And improves your skills for when you get enough time to paint.
Studio #2 Moving the eating table to the kitchen, I took over a tiny dinning room space with a big east window. I had a few irises blooming and painted many in watercolor in that space.
TIP: moving furniture to clear a space can open up an art space.
Studio #3 I painted in the dinning room for quite a few years, and teased my hubby that the living room was on the endangered species list. With some creative arranging we flipped the couch and tv to the dinning area and I took over the living space with a big west window. My florals were selling at a local gallery and the paintings were getting bigger.
TIP: East or west, or south windows can be challenging depending on what time of day you paint. I like my sunlight to stream from my left to my right and how I prefer it to flow in my paintings as well. Sometimes you need to put up a LIGHT disfusing blind to help with strong light. North light is the prefered, since it changes the least, but on gloomy days a good light on the painting surface is needed and I prefer the new LED daylight blubs.
Studio #4 Sometimes your art markets grows and your able to RENT studio space. This was my studio move when I signed with Mill Pond Press to publish my art in the late 80's. I was able to give the living room back to my family in our tiny home. But rented spaces have their own issues, such as RENT, leaking cealings, or bad landlords. Mine had all these issues, but also 17 feet of northwindows and only a mile from the house, I did some of my best work there with the quiet and not getting distracted by the washing machine, or other house duties. I used this old dental office space, setting hours I was there so family time was kept consistant. Using one room to frame, one to paint, one as a reception area, and even had a sign on the building.
TIP: renting is my least favorite as the pressure of rent each month, even if art is not selling, or spaces you share with other artists can be a drain depending on personalities.
Studio #5 In 1994 we sold our tiny home and moved to a larger home in Arvada with a year round sunroom with floor to cealing EAST, SOUTH windows, skylights and a tiny north window. I was in heaven to be back in the home with my cats, dog and boys. BUT too much light and windows is as bad as no light. So I had to drape the south windows, put light disfuser on the skylights to even out the light in the room. Challenging and the space was 15' x 15'.
TIP: In each space I set my painting table up so the light streamed over my left hand toward my right so I'm not working in my own shadow. With all those windows I had to use a daylight art light to even out the light on my painting table and cover the southwindows. When you have more space to play with, bookshelves with art books, extra painting table or easle, chair for visitors or the hubby. Downside to being back in the home-boys running though, phone calls, and household duties what call to be done.
EX TIP: try listening to books on cd, or i-phones, audible or from the libary. You would be surprised how your left brain is entertained listening to a story while right brain is in painting heaven.
Studio #6 Empty nesters bring new spaces, my last son married and moved out. His basement bedroom was 14' by 20' but only had two small basement windows. MORE ROOM? Less light?
I took more room (and funny part I was painting walls as he moved his last box) I will not write here how much he teased me about this. NO light is a problem as much as too much light. the tendency would be to paint the walls white and put up a ton of lights. That is just the same as the sunroom. So I painted the walls a dull gray green. YEP dark as a dungeon when no lights were on. But then I put up
full spectrum floresent lights (no LED's in this time frame) when you turned on the lights the WALLS disapeared and the light was perfect since it didn't bounce off the white walls.
TIP: Many artists paint their walls a dull gray green especially if they do portraits, it puts good reflected colors for skin.
Studio #7 ALMOST in 2004 we ripped down the old sunroom and built new Studio space where the old sunroom was, with NORTH windows. I was just getting set up as this photo shows, when my Mom needed to move in, so we quickly put me back in the basement and she lived with us until she passed March 2011.
Studio #7 again in 2012 This was my dream studio with northwindows, hardwood floor and set me up to open my studio for private sessions. With my garden out the door and waterfeature. It hosted many students. Again I set my easle up so the light was left to right and daylight art lights for gloomy days. a TALL catherdal cealing for big pieces.
Studio #8 Life throws challenges at you at times which affect studio spaces. In June 2017 we moved from Arvada to the Western Slope of Colorado . My hubby Bruce needed to retire near family, we found an older home sitting on a bluff overlooking the Delta Valley and Gunnison River that needed updating, but with a beautiful view. The studio space is a walk-out basement with big EAST window and handicap access.
This is the BEFORE Photo
This is the BEFORE Photo
The view of my working space. The walkout had lots of shelves from an old kitchen area, so I gained a sink and cabinets for my still life elements and even though it looks full room, there is still room for Student Lessons. The Window looks east, so I put up sheer light filtering drapes when the sun in beating in the window. Lights on the cealing are LED daylights and one on the easel. The tall black drawer holds my paint and I got it from Hobby lobby.
EAGLE ROCK easle which I love and a kitchen cart for a taboret. I have much more room in this space and even enough to set up my glass working station for making my Lampwork Jewerly .
Tip: I organize my studio spaces by what I do in that area, so everything is at hand. I'm not fond of digging for tools or brushes that don't relate to what I'm doing.
ART Hanging system where steel cables slide on a rail, WORKED great and allowes me to rearrange as paintings come and go for shows.