Yes it is a new year and a new decade and what better time to get rid of some clutter and gain some clarity. Something I tend to forget is that EVERYTHING is energy and when my studio is cluttered then so is the energy within it. If I want my creativity to flow, then my space needs to allow that. So let’s take a look at this.
Artists studios, come in all shapes and sizes. There are however certain elements that make an artists studio much more enjoyable to work in and offer greater functionality. Some key items that are indispensable in a studio are:
1. A decent easel
2. A large mirror
3. A comfy chair, a lounge chair or a settee
4. A good-sized palette
5. Plenty of storage, either as part of the studio itself, or reasonably close by.
Of course, there are many other things that contribute to making a studio not just functional but fun to be in. It is important to remember that my studio space contributes to how I feel when I’m painting and therefore can significantly influence how I work in that space. Creating is a complex process. I often create at my best when I’m in a nurturing environment. If I have to hassle with the elements or feel uncomfortable with the surroundings this can create a barrier to the way I connect with my creative flow.
The fewer external distractions I have the more connected I am to my creative process.
Now you may think some of my indispensable items are not what you expected them to be.
A Decent Easel
For many years I made do with rickety easels. When I first came to Australia I painted out on a veranda, which was rather chilly in winter as there was no room in the house where we lived, to have my easel or a studio. We do these things because we have to and if you are motivated enough you will paint under all kinds of difficult situations. However, that doesn't make them ideal.
It was only a couple of years ago that I bought my first easel that winds up and down with a handle. What bliss. Expensive bliss, but bliss nevertheless. If I had realized sooner, how much easier it makes my artist's life, I would have saved up and bought one a long time ago.
A Comfy Chair
Now why would I need that? Aren’t I meant to be standing in front of the easel most of the day?
I have found over the years that having a comfy chair in my studio has become an indispensable item. At times, when I need to take a break from painting, I will sit in my comfy chair which is set up so that I can see the painting I'm working on and look at the work. This allows me to relax, often with a cup of tea and view the work without fiddling with it. It also facilitates me looking at it from a greater distance.
A Large Mirror
This means that as I'm taking a break I can look at my work from a different point of view, which is valuable because when you are working alone you need to be your own critic and discover your own mistakes. Sometimes a mirror is one of the only ways you can do this. I have found a mirror to be an indispensable tool in my studio practice as it offers me a different point of view about the painting. Not only am I viewing it from quite a distance away, but also I'm seeing a reversed image. I find that this allows me to see mistakes that I wouldn't otherwise pick up.
A good-sized palette
I find there are few things worse in the studio than working on a tiny little palette. You need a good-sized one so you have plenty of room to mix up a variety of different colours if you need to.
Currently, I'm using a white melamine one which is the top of an old sewing table. I glued this onto the top of a small set of drawers which I keep all my paints in and so have everything right there when I need it.
Plenty of Storage
And last but not least is of course storage. If you are a painter who uses canvases to paint on, sooner or later you are going to run out of storage room. Not only that there are other things to consider if you stretch your own canvases - like stretcher bars and canvas - where can you store those items. It is good to plan for these things in advance rather than running out of room and having no contingency plans.
So that's my beginning thoughts for the New Year. In signing off I wish you a happy and abundant New Year and a successful decade.
NEXT WEEK: Who Can Help Me?