An Artist's Sacred Space: The Studio
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.
Clutter Kills Creativity
Aside from having your studio on standby for when the muse strikes you will also need to keep an eye on creeping clutter. This condition befalls all artists. One day you will open your 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.
Make a Date to Restore Your Studio
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.
Resolve to Make a Sacred Space
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 also remove a few creative blocks together with all the clutter. Have fun!
Need a little inspiration? Check out my Artist's Studios Pinterest board. There are tips for storage, studio layouts and much more.
The Artist Who Conquered Doubt
It is one of the peculiar parts of human nature. The desire to create something as well as the appreciation of art for art's sake. No other species does this. What makes this even more peculiar is that art is perceived as merely a luxury. True when survival is at stake purchasing or creating a painting is not a priority. Yet even in the extremes of war the preservation of art was important. Important enough for people to risk their lives. We saw this in the true story recently shown in the movie Monuments Men.
Think of the history of art. What compelled cave paintings when life was so precarious? Perhaps art had supernatural power to help them survive? Despite weapons and strength the human mind sought something more from art. Even in these modern times art can provoke extreme responses. But how is this relevant to you me? I simply want to make art and maybe you feel the same or you want to collect a special piece of art.
You see there is still one big issue that artists struggle with. It is the doubt that what they are producing is not good enough. Even worse is the artist who does not start creating because of self doubt. Yes there are other challenges artists face too, but so long as the doubt exists there is no more energy to face these challenges. That is what doubt does. It steals the artist's will to create. What is the answer?
There is only one response to doubt. Make a start. Persist.
We would not have been given the urge to create and appreciate art if it was not important. Animals can attack and destroy and so too can humans. But only humans create art for the sake of art. It does matter. Art is part of what makes us unique. So when the doubts surface remember that your art is necessary. Do not hide your talents. Share your art and be confident that you are following a tradition of endeavour that is unique in the universe.
Tips For Painting Commissions
The words "I would like to commission a painting" should be exciting to any artist. It is a compliment and a financial windfall. However commissions can go horribly wrong if the basics are not covered. Commissions are simply part of the artist's repetoire and come with their own unique challenges.
Here are a list of considerations for both artists and collectors:
Commissions can be fun for artists and collectors. By taking a few common sense steps there should not be any problems, but rather the start of a beautiful relationship between artist and collector.
Any suggestions or points that you would like to add? Please leave a comment.
Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa