"When we all think alike, then no one is thinking."
— Walter Lippman

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Useful Ideas for Setting Up Your Studio Space

I believe that every artist deserves a space to create in. We need a dedicated area in which to work, and the freedom to walk away and leave things unfinished and waiting for our return.  This might be an extra room in the home, or a desk just for you, strategically placed within a shared room.   In my case, there was a little room off of the attic, that made a cozy studio space.  I was happy to have it.  
Over the years, I made a lot of changes in that space, and constantly struggled with arrangement and organization.  Storage was an epic problem, since I enjoy several different mediums, and have a lot of art supplies.  For a while, it looked like a train wreck, and I found myself almost avoiding the room because it was so messy.  Finally, I took a good hard look at the potential I had been missing, and decided to devote time and a little money to making things work better.   I emptied out the room, painted the walls, and started over.  I got rid of the things I never used, and bought some decent modular storage units to hold the rest.  My goal was to utilize every square inch of space as efficiently as possible.   What a difference!  It’s still a small space, but now it works for me rather than against me.   I love being in my little studio and spend time there almost every day.   
Here are some things I learned in the process, followed by some pics of my own studio.   Maybe they will be of use to you, if you are setting up your own studio space.  

1.  Decide where you want your main work table to be.  Avoid having your back to the door, or yourself facing a wall.   Consider having the work table come out into the room, as long as there is good flow around it on 3 sides.  It feels more open if you can look across the room as you work.

2.  Have a secondary work area for things like paper cutters, and tasks that you do standing up. You can add more function by using 2 sturdy storage units to support a table board across them.  Mine is a folding table top that spans over 2 large plastic drawer units.  Not terribly expensive.  

3.  Think vertical for storage areas.  One wall of storage space can hold a lot of materials. 
Stacking modular components are wonderful for this.  Also look into some of the wall systems (usually designed for workshops and garages) that allow you to snap on various storage baskets where you want them.  These are great for use above and adjacent to work spaces, and fairly easy to install. 
Be prepared to do a little DIY.  
It’s a personal choice, but if you keep a consistent neutral color for all of your storage units, it will appear less visually cluttered, and more cohesive. 
Assess what kind of storage you really need, make notes, take measurements and reference photos of the space you are filling.  Much easier than guessing at the store.

4.  Utilize the space under your work table for more storage units, like file cabinets or shelf units.

5.  Get as much stuff up and off the floor as possible.  

6.  Allow for at least one or two strong focal points of displayed art work. 

7.  If you don’t use, or really value it, get rid of it, or store it elsewhere.  It’s hard for artists to avoid clutter, especially in small spaces.  The more organized you get, the less time you will have to spend looking for stuff.   

8.  Keep a good sized area of your work table open for projects, but have the things you use most within arm’s reach.  Be selective about this.  Time and use will tell you if you have it right.  

9.  Comfort items, such as TV or music should be considered as you plan.  This is your space, so go for it.  Think compact.  Small TV, small speaker, and iPod will work great.    

10.  Your studio should invite you in, not drive you away.  

And here are the pictures of my own little studio:


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Eco Printing Leaves on Paper

I spent the afternoon eco-printing Autumn leaves on watercolor paper. So pleased with the results! The method involves pressing the leaves between layers of bundled paper and steaming them in a kettle for several hours. The tannin from the leaves transfers and imprints onto the paper. My plan is to bind these pages into a book. This is one of three batches I made today.   
Art and Nature combined.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Urban Sketching

 August was a wonderful month to be outside sketching.   One of my favorite places to go is a little local park in the heart of our town.   Some of my previous posts show sketches of historical homes that surround this park.
  I realized that I had never sketched the bandshell structure, so that was my focus when our Tuesday Sketchers group met at the park last week.
  The little red "caboose" below is a food vendor that participates in our Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, and was suggested for a sketching session, by a good friend.  We enjoyed good coffee and live music that morning, as we sat and filled the pages of our sketchbooks.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Landscapes in Watercolor

These are little 6x6" watercolor landscapes that I've been working on lately.  
I find the small format so inviting for quick studies.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Acrylics on Canvas

Barn Owl

Raven - Distant Storm

Lionel with Prey

These are a few of the acrylic paintings on canvas that I've completed over the last year.  
I enjoy switching from one medium to another on a frequent basis, and have been on a roll lately with acrylics and oils, alternately.   I seem to prefer oils for landscapes and plein air work, but gravitate to acrylics for larger, more illustrative work. 

Fox Paintings

Two Fox paintings, Acryic on canvas.

The top one recalls a chance encounter in the woods.  I was hiking and a fox met me on the trail.  We both sat within a few feet of each other for quite a while, just staring.  It was wonderful to be able to look so closely at the beautiful fox in front of me.  It's eyes were so compelling !  At last, the fox made a little sniffing sound, turned and calmly walked back down the trail.  Apparently we had come to some sort of agreement.   I turned around and returned respectfully back down the trail.  The painting is called Messenger in the Woods.

The second painting was done later.  I just couldn't stop thinking about foxes, so decided to paint another.  I haven't given this one a title yet.

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