Sunday, July 22, 2012


I used to meet monthly with a writer. The idea was that by summarizing our work and stating a goal, each of us would inspire the other to end procrastination and do more work. Our collaboration fell apart but there are a number of benefits that came out of it, not the least of which was the awareness of how important a clean workspace is. In other words, a lack of clutter makes it easier to get to work. No more random paint tubes lying around. Piles of paint covered rags are periodically banished. Color trials and scribbly sketches that I tossed onto random piles I now periodically either file or trash. The result? I’m creating more work and wasting less time. More importantly, I’m eager to get to my studio.

I was showing my newly cleaned spaces with a friend who said, “Your studios are so functional.” (Note: read “basement” and “upstairs bedroom” for “studios.”) “You really ought to post some photos. There lots of beginning artists who might benefit from seeing how you made use of your available space.”

So, here’s a quick run-down of how I made an attic-cum-bedroom work for me. It’s where I do my dreaming, planning, and watercolors. I hope you can use some of my ideas for your own workspace.

I collect lots of art books. When our daughter moved out, she chose to leave behind her book case. I turned it on its side, added a door.

No water? No problem. A recycled plastic gallon jug for fresh water and a pail for used works well for water-based media. A miniscule amount of liquid soap in a pump bottle filled with water works well when I need to wash my hands. I keep a basket of old towels  nearby.

Peg board is uber cheap, uber handy.
The room was originally a bedroom. The knotty pine paneling absorbed light so I stapled an old white sheet to the walls. True color lamps on the ceiling (not in photo) and on the table give me a lot of light. I splurged on a drawing table with storage space for brushes, pencils. (OK...the secretarial chair was a splurge, too...but I waited ‘til it was on sale. If I were more patient, I’d’ve scoped out garage sales, etc. But for comfort, height adjustment, and ease of movement, you can’t beat these chairs. Look for one with good back support.)

My basement “studio” is where I work on my oils and store paper, canvasses, and props. I’ll post pix of that in a week or so.

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