reassessing the art studio

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Art, Artistic Endeavors, Decorating, Home Studio, My House34 Comments

Every once in a while, I have to reaccess my art studio and how it functions.  For while, I have felt like I needed more flat work surfaces.  My primary work surfaces are tilted (the easel and the drafting table) and I just have the flat surface of my desk.  I found myself wishing the back wall of my studio was just about two or three feet wider, so I would have plenty of room to add a generously-sized, counter-height island right in the middle.  But, moving walls is complicated and expensive, so that will remain a wish and a note for any future studio.

I decided to set my drafting table so it was level and used it like that for much of the week.  I think I would miss having the table titled, though, which I use for sketching and watercolor.  It’s not too hard to adjust, but it does take a bit of effort to turn the crank, raise the table, add on the ledge to stop papers and pencils from sliding off, etc.

art studio | drafting table | miss mustard seed

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

I found I was using the flat surface a lot, though, so this gave me the incentive to try some other options in the art studio.

I have started working some in acrylic to do little abstracts and landscape studies.  It’s been so fun to expand my artistic horizons a bit more.  I’m working on acrylic paper, so it’s better to work on a flat surface with plenty of room for a palette and water cup.

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

I’ve also been adding some water-soluble crayon, colored pencil, pastel, charcoal, and lead over top of them.  I haven’t done very much work mixing mediums, so it’s been challenging and freeing.  I tend to take my work a little too seriously and this is pushing me into being more playful and relaxed.

I’ve always been that way!  When I was studying musical theatre in college, my music theory professor (who also coached our traveling musical theatre ensemble), told my parents, “Marian is very serious!”  I was and I still am.  I take creative work seriously, which can be a benefit when it comes to discipline and study, but it can hold me back and box me in when it comes to experimenting.

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

I find that these little studies and abstracts are helping me find my artistic voice.  I’m not focusing on the detail but allowing the paintings to come together intuitively.  I’m excited to take what I’ve learned back to my oil paints and easel.

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

I have received positive feedback on the little studies and abstracts, so I will be selling them in my next original art sale.  I have been planning on doing that in November, but we’ll see!  I am finding that I don’t want to rush into a launch followed by all of the packing and shipping.  I want to keep the pace slow, enjoy the holiday season, and create.

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

But, my board is full and so are my drying ledges.  I’m going to have to have a sale to make room for new creations!

I’ll just have a little debate with myself about when I should have the sale for a few minutes!  I guess I need to get that sorted out…

art studio | mixed media painting | miss mustard seed

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to talk about my art or the sale, but to share what I’m trying out in my art studio!  Our old kitchen table has been hanging out in the basement as a place to play board games and do puzzles.  More often than not, though, that happens on the main level.  The table gets pushed against the wall and sits unused most of the time.  So, I brought it up to the art studio to test out the size.

I butted it up against the back of the desk partners-desk-style.  Size-wise, it’s a nice match for the desk and just needs some casters to make it the same height.  I am also going to try it as an island to see how that feels, but I’m going to use it like this for a while.

art studio | miss mustard seed

This option allows me to keep my drafting table titled and provides another flat work surface.

art studio work surface | miss mustard seed

I brought a chair from our bedroom to use for now…

french cane chair | art studio | miss mustard seed

The table is a little low, but the casters will fix that.

My main point in sharing this is to share my process for testing out ideas when it comes to arranging furniture.  I used to feel like I needed to run out and buy something, but I’ve learned it’s more valuable to borrow something from another room in the house to test out that idea.  If it works well after a few days or weeks, then it might be worth looking for the perfect piece.  If not, you can simply return the piece to the room you borrowed it from, your curiosity satisfied.

As far as this table, I like having an extra work surface in here, so I know I’d like to make something work.  It might end up being this very table or I might end up replacing it with something else.  Time will tell!

If you don’t follow me on Instagram and you’re curious to see the art I’ve been creating, here is a preview or a few pieces.  I’ll share a separate post about the Nice View collection as well as the oil minis, color charts, acrylic abstracts, and studies.

Marian Parsons oil painting landscape impressionist | miss mustard seed

Marian Parsons oil painting schooner | blue nose II | impressionist | miss mustard seed

Marian Parsons mini oil painting landscapes | impressionist | miss mustard seed

abstract acrylic seascape | Marian Parsons | Miss Mustard Seed

abstract acrylic landscape | Marian Parsons | Miss Mustard Seed abstract mixed media painting | Marian Parsons | Miss Mustard Seed

abstract acrylic landscape | Marian Parsons | Miss Mustard Seed

More on these paintings soon…


reassessing the art studio

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34 Comments on “reassessing the art studio”

  1. I love that sweet table! I hope it works for you. I want to own one of your originals so badly, but auction prices went a little too high last time I tried to bid. I’ll be watching!

  2. As always I really enjoy reading your blog and posts! I have a question for you… how do you sign your oil paintings? I have tried a few different things but I am finding it very difficult to form the loopy letters in my name so that they look nice. I remember reading that you sometimes scratch your signature into the oil paint. Any suggestions? Thank you Marian!

    1. I sign them with a rubber brush. I struggled with using paint, too, so I just scratch out the signature.

  3. Dear Marian:
    Everyday I expect your comment, your post. I really love the way you work…from the little projects to the big one. Love the happiness in your heart , the joy that you have and share with us through your work.
    Definitely the table belongs to your studio and the beautiful chair too!!

    Thank you…..
    May the Lord Bless you and have a wonderful day!!

    Mary and family.

    (I’m working at La Rosa Realty Kendall, LLC. God willing next time I will share my web with you)

  4. Marian, your paintings are lovely! I have been looking for little country tables like this one that you moved up from your basement and want to use them in my spaces at the shop. I always look forward to your posts.

  5. I love the direction of your work. The playful quality of the abstractions is simply mesmerizing. And the mixed media brings a sharpness and leaves me wondering…”what’s on the other side of that hill?” (110420 on the right). Thanks for sharing, always a pleasure.

  6. Marian, First I’m going to say I love everything you do and you have more talent in your little toe than I have in all of me. But I’m going to have a little fun with you 😉 That second to last photo, I’m not sure what I am looking at so I will give you my vision of it-sort of a Rorschach test… I see an over filled food blender with possible smoke coming off of it. A wire basket sitting next to it on one side and a side view of a sock monkey that has a hat on, peering into the blender on the other side. Am I close?

  7. Lovely! But why do you have the desk in the art studio at all, Marian? I thought you set up the office for non-creative stuff? Xx

    1. I do the podcast from that desk, since the room has an exterior door, which reduces noise from the rest of the house. I also write at that desk. I don’t do e-mail, bills, and business stuff there, though.

      1. Maybe at some point you’ll want to replace the desk with a large square table on castors. But it is very pretty as it is.

  8. I love that new (to the studio) table and with castors it is very versatile. I wondered if you ever found a matching teachers desk you could place them back to back and use the table as the island. I guess finding a matching teacher desk would be a challenge? I use an antique wash stand as my art desk. It is on casters and I raised it a little more with caster cups which also keeps it stable. Loved reading this post. I love your adaptive ‘shop the house’ thinking. Keep creating and inspiring. I’m sure that its what you were put on this earth to do.

  9. The new lot and of abstract paintings are all beautiful!!! I hope I’m able to purchase one this round.
    I’d love to see a winter scene or a Christmas themed painting, hint hint!!!

  10. Marian, have you thought of doing a tutorial on your abstract landscapes with acrylics? I love what you do and am itching to try, but too intimidated by your oil painting tutorials. The investment cost of supplies, the clean-up, the mere thought of taking up “oil painting” is overwhelming for a beginner. But acrylics? Sounds like a fun stab at a new hobby. Maybe you could just talk us through your tips while you are doing your nice view series, on Instagram stories? Either way, thanks as always for the inspiration.

    1. Yep, I’ll share more detail on how to do these. I have been playing around with the technique myself!

    1. Where Women Create used to be published by Stampington, but a few years back, Jo Packham, the brilliant mind behind it, took control of the publishing side of the magazines, too. Love the company byline: From a Woman’s Soul * Through a Woman’s Eyes * By a Woman’s Hands.

  11. Interesting idea of putting castors on the table. We have a small cabin on a salt water creek. I’m more relaxed and creative with the furnishings. Your idea of being able to move the table around is great. I actually have 2 VERY inexpensive armoires in the cabin and put castors on them. So easy to move around and clean behind. Remember it’s a cabin. Then in the small kitchen we needed more counter space. I had a table similar to yours, maybe longer and more narrow. I had a box built for a base (painted it black) and had the table attached which brought it up to counter level. Great work area for prepping or serving and I even have barstools for eating. I just wish I had a smidge of your creativity and energy. Keep up the good work.

  12. Casters will enable you to move that table around to the perfect position, which may vary from day to day. I have casters on my kitchen island and love that I can move the island around as needed.

  13. Your evolving studio is inspiring me to take another look at mine! I’m learning acrylic and wonder if you would mind sharing what you use as a palette?

    1. I have been using a gray paper palette, so I can dispose of the sheets after each use. I find the acrylic dries so fast that it’s a challenge to clean and I don’t like clumps of dried paint going down the sink.

  14. I do a lot of different crafts. I understand, we want a studio the size of a 2 car garage in a 10′ size room. 😂 Im sure the evolution of your art studio wil be wonderful…and temporary. 😂

  15. Love the new work…beautiful! I’ve been feeling a bit artistically blocked lately, you are inspiring me. I have an old dining table just like yours, I turned it into a desk when we moved, It makes such a great art table I love it, but I still need to add some castors for that bit of additional height. It’s so much fun to rearrange spaces & furniture you already have.

  16. Hi Marian, just wanted you to know that I purchased 3 of your yellow pear platters. I am keeping one and bought the other 2 for gifts. The are heavy, really nice quality and the gold around the edge gives the platter a really elegant vintage touch. Thank you so much for your blog. I’m going to buy more of your art soon.

  17. Hi Marian, you and your drive and growth and creativity and business have been such an inspiration to me. Thank you.

    I wanted to let you know of a great paint pallet to use with acrylics:

    My husband is allergic to the turps used with oil paints and since my studio is in a corner of the living room, I switched to acrylics. This palette is wonderful, it can keep acrylics wet for days. I waste so much less paint than I used to. It is basically a plastic box that contains a thin sponge layer and replaceable palette paper. The paper wicks just the right amount of water from the sponge underneath to keep the acrylics at their original consistency and the lid fits very tightly. And if life happens…and you don’t get back to the easel for months somehow ruining your sponge, you can get a replacement sponge. : )

    Check out the Golden Acrylic mediums and additives if you like. They can make the paint act like oil paint or watercolors and a whole lot more.

    1. es, I actually have one of those palettes from my mural days. I just need to get a new sponge and some new papers for it. I wanted to make sure I was going to do acrylic painting more before I set it up again. I have been using some mediums, but haven’t found any that make acrylics behave like oils. Let me know if there is one he likes.

  18. My beginnings so resemble yours, but I was detoured along the way. You inspire me to find my way back and I thank you for that. I start to feel like there are too many different things I do. I always heard, while growing up, “Why can’t you find one thing? And why do you not ever finish things?” They meant well, but never understood that the discovery and process were more important to me than niching down or completing something that I learned from but didn’t want to continue down that path with.

    May I ask about the lamp that is clamp attached to your drafting table? It looks more “flexible” than the one I have on my work table.

    1. I hope you’re able to quiet those voices and give yourself time to discover. 🙂 As far as the lamp, I purchased it on Etsy. I had saved the light in my cart a couple of years ago, but the maker wasn’t selling it any longer. They built this one for me, though. I found it difficult to find a clamp-on lamp that wasn’t too modern.

  19. I’ve become interested in a drafting table. I don’t have dedicated painting space and use a corner of my kitchen counter but I’ve cleared an area in our family room … out of the way, good natural light, power outlets. I’m undecided about large easel, desk or drafting table. Your drafting table is lovely.

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