Many people are fascinated by artist’s studios / workspaces and I am often asked by clients if they can come and see my studio and I am delighted to oblige. I am also hoping that some of the things I suggest may be helpful to other artists to give them ideas of how they might set things up. We are all individuals and work in different ways so ultimately you need to find what works for you.
My studio is in my home which while I would love to have even more space and not have to worry about making a mess if I throw paint and splatter, I do love the freedom of just being able to walk into the next room in my pajamas at whatever time of day or night – that is truly a joy. As you will see from this photo I have three tables which I cover with heavy duty plastic purchased from Home Depot or Lowes. This protects the table and may be thrown away when it gets too heavy with paint. It also acts as a palette on my right hand side. I squeeze the paint directly onto the plastic and blend right there. If there is any paint left over I can let it dry and peel off to add to mixed media work or collages. I like lots of tables as sometimes I might work on five canvases at one time and can move a finished piece that is still drying onto another table while I continue to work on my main large table. I would have more tables if I had the space. These are folding tables purchased at Costco.
I also have a spray water bottle, my water, acrylic medium and Viva kitchen towels all handy on my table. The large trolley that is pictured at the beginning is positioned on my right hand side so I can grab any paint that I want quickly. I mostly use Golden heavy body paint (in the front), Golden open acrylics (in the middle) and Golden Fluid Acrylics and all laid out in color order. I also have another shelf with larger tubs of acrylic colors. Just looking at all these beautiful colors gets my creative juices running! This industrial trolley has 3 shelves and I use the other two for varnishes, gesso, palette knives, colored pencils, hanging wire, nails, hammer, tape and all manner of extra things I might need.
Lighting is very important and this space does not have the best natural light so I purchased Day Light clip on studio lamps from www.dickblick.com and Day Light Triple Bright Lamp which is affixed to my large table. This allows me to paint at any time of day and night and be able to see the true colors. They are also great for lighting your artwork for photographing.
Having an easel or a couple is essential so that you can stand your work up and step back and look at it at a distance and also close up. Of course some people paint on their easel and that is personal choice – I do not as I like to paint really wet and juicy and I would end up with a pool of liquid color on my tiled floor. I do like to look at work on the easel over a number of days to see if I would like to add or change anything.
If you are going to do any work on paper it is a very good idea to have a flat file for storage of paper ready to use and works you have completed. An 80+ gentleman built this one for me in wood and I love it – I found him on ebay and I thought a wood flat file was out of my budget however his work was so reasonable and I wanted wheels on the bottom which he was happy to do. I like to store my Fabriano 300lb sheets of watercolor paper and some of my Documounts archival matboards – www.documounts.com
You also need a place to store your canvases ready for your creativity to unfold. I prefer to work on larger canvases and therefore stack mine against spare walls. I like to buy my own belgian primed linen canvas and stretch my own canvases or buy from www.signaturecanvas.com who make beautiful professional canvas stretched drum tight and gallery wrapped. They offer specials and very unusual interesting sizes – see my art website www.VanessaKatzArt.com for three that I purchased on a special offer that were 18 x 54 x 1.5″ titled The Mist, Feel The Blue and Strata (which can also be hung portrait 54 x 18″).
If you are beginning to paint you do not need much – just a few colors in the medium you choose, a paper palette, a piece of paper suitable for your medium and some plastic or newspaper. I do recommend you buy less however buy the best quality professional paints as the quality of paint and its pigment load makes all the difference in the world. Just start painting and you will collect your favorite things along the way.
I hope that this post helps give you some ideas and resources and you can see how I work in my studio and the ingredients of a working artist. This is just what works for me. Let me know how you have set up your studio and whats on your wish list to add to your studio next.