The very nature of a creative space dictates that it has to be dynamic. My furniture and belongings are accustomed to being maneuvered and shuffled around, but that’s doubly true for the stuff in my studio. Each new artistic endeavor or novel idea can put new demands on the space. It usually starts in stacks and messy corners, but then it has to be managed. Accommodations must be made, so the new venture has room to live, and be nurtured, and grow.
And all of that is a wordy way to say I did some cleaning and straightening in my studio that turned into furniture scooting. And it was long overdue.
This space is my sanctuary, and it’s perfect with its big windows, planked walls, and painted floor. The issue is that I ask a lot of this room. It has to be a functioning art and photography studio, and it has to house all of the supplies and gear that come along with those occupations. The room itself also has to be photogenic, since it’s often the backdrop or the subject.
The way it was arranged looked fine, but I was always moving things around when I needed to use them only to have to move them all back again, so things could look pretty once more. It was impractical and inefficient.
One other thing is the leather chair that was in the corner was starting to fade from sitting in this sunny room. It’s a beautiful chair, and I really didn’t want the leather to be discolored any further, so I moved it into my (north facing) office and brought back the chair that I slipcovered in an antique linen sheet.
As a happy accident, the leather chair seems to suit the office better.
I just have to give this chair a wide berth when I have the oil paints out!
I could not get tape to stick long-term to this chalkboard, so I strung some twine between small nails tapped into the back of the frame to give me a place to clip artwork and color swatches.
The most impactful change was swapping my easel and drafting table. I always wanted my easel in the corner, but moving it there meant the postal cubby would have to be moved. It’s not that moving it would be hard, but it would be a pain! I finally did with, with Jeff’s help.
Now, I can set up a still life on the hardware counter to my left and I have all of my oil paint supplies in the green cabinet to my right.
I can easily scoot the stool between the easel and drafting table, depending on what medium I’m using.
While everything was off the shelf, I took the opportunity to thin things out and make it a little neater. Most of the stuff that’s up there is put to some practical use. The marmalade crocks hold erasers, binder clips, chalk, and other small supplies. I use the heavy mugs to hold water when I’m using watercolors. I use some of the decorative items as still life props. Small jars hold inks, oils, and solvents. Small tins hold watercolor palettes, gouache, pastels, and pen nibs.
One jar is dedicated to sketching and writing instruments along with my favorite watercolor brushes, while another is just for long-handled oil brushes.
And antique clip-on water bowl for chicks hold my business cards. (Isn’t it the perfect holder for business cards?!)
The drafting table is a little more “out there” moved out of the corner, but it’s a much better spot for it. It’s on sliders, so I can scoot it out of the way when I need a blank wall for photo shoots.
I tidied up my hutch/library as well. Several of my newer books were stacked, making it cumbersome when I wanted to reference one at the bottom of the stack.
So, I moved the heftier books to the hardware counter and rearranged the remaining books on the shelves. Art books have become one of my favorite things to collect! I have found so many new-to-me-artists, and it’s been fun to study their work.
The slim wooden drawers hold my pastels, and the small antique wooden box will soon be converted to an oil pochade box.
I moved the table that was under the postal cubby to under one of the large windows. We’ll eventually build some shelves there, but for now, this table holds my drying rack, the sketchbooks I use most, a tackle box with gouache paint tubes, and a wooden box with raw pigments.
The temperature is dropping below freezing now, so I’ve brought my lemon tree inside. It was a scrawny thing this spring and had some issues with spider mites. I sprayed it with soapy water (as some readers suggested), moved it outside for the summer, transplanted it into a larger, and put on some citrus fertilizer and now it’s doing great! Look at all of those tiny lemons!
I’ve counted about 30 of them and feel like a proud mama. I hope it does well inside this winter.
Above the windows on the right side of the studio, I started hanging MMS Milk Paint samples, but I ran out of velcro tabs. I’m going to pick up some more this week, and all 25 colors will be up there.
After rearranging and cleaning the space, I found myself wandering in there or simply leaning in the doorway, admiring my creative space.
Moving things around in a room is free and one of the most effective ways to revitalize a space that isn’t inspiring or working for you. Do you have some rooms that could use a little scoot?
PS – We’re not done touring Tuscany, yet, but I’m going to mix in some blog posts about what’s happening now, too.