Every artist needs a space to make art. Fortunate artists have a dedicated space they call their studio. Others have to make do with a corner of the living room or bedroom. The latter aspire to greater things as I did once when I used my bedroom corner as an improvised studio. I did not mind and it trained me to be careful about messing paint. A useful skill. Now I have a suitable studio all to myself. How fortunate am I!
There is no doubt that the word studio conjures up romantic images. It certainly sounds a lot better than office. Spending time in your studio sounds like time well spent. On the other hand does anyone wish to spend more time in an office? Why would they? It sounds too much like unpleasant work.
Setting up a studio is not difficult. An easel and a small side table for your palette and paints is sufficient. A little cupboard space to keep some of the other items like brushes, jars, painting panels and so forth will ensure a neat and welcoming spot. The most important point is that your space be ready for more work at short notice. Consider the welcoming studio used by Paul Cezanne shown above. There is real energy within such a space.
Aside from having your studio on standby for when the muse strikes one will also need to keep an eye on creeping clutter. This condition befalls all artists. I have never met an artist to who did not one day open the studio door to stare at piles of assorted artist’s kit blocking free movement and wonder where it all came from. Clutter is insidious. It robs energy and hampers free thought. There is another problem however. Artists seldom spot the clutter before it reaches critical conditions.
Fortunately I have my wife who is the bane of all clutter. She recently put me on notice to sort out my studio. This might have turned into a domestic disturbance, but I had to concede that I could not reach into certain corners without moving piles of canvasses, used paint tubes and other oddments that should have been binned long ago. I had to do something.
So a Saturday was set aside for the task. What I thought would be a morning’s work turned into two days of labour that left me with aches and pains for the next week. My better half made me carry out every item in the studio until we had the bare shell. The walls needed repainting and from there it was an extreme makeover. Nothing was spared and we were ruthless.
How did a little bedroom corner turn into a cluttered studio? Give it a few years and other priorities. Before you know it you have something that will no longer be an energising space within which to create. Having gone through this process I am resolved never to repeat it. If something comes in then another item must be thrown out.
I know there are some artists who seem to insist on cluttered studios, but I suspect they are missing out on something. A studio must be a sacred space where energy can move freely. Air, light and sound not to mention the artist’s movements must never be blocked by clutter. Friends and collectors should not be horrified but noises and movement under piles of canvasses. Rather let them share your studio and the delight you have in creating.
So if you have a studio take a moment to assess whether it needs a clean out. You may removing a few creative blocks together with all the clutter. Have fun!
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