This studio is totally different from my last one. It’s about a 20th of the size, maybe even smaller than that. It doesn’t have storage closets, rolling dividing walls, or many zones for different tasks. This studio is designed specifically for small-scale creative endeavors and photography. No shipping, no office work, no big sewing or furniture projects.
Even small-scale creative endeavors require lots of gear, though! I am still figuring out how to maximize the space I do have, but this is what’s working for me so far…
The large, antique hardware store cabinet is the focal point, statement piece, and most of my storage rolled into one. It’s perfectly sized for art supplies – everything from tubes of paints and brushes to canvas and papers.
(For those who missed it, I found the cabinet on Craigslist. It came out of an old hardware store in Maryland.)
Someone asked and yes, I do actually use the labels to identify what’s in each drawer.
And some drawers have dividers and others have been removed to accommodate larger items, like pads of paper.
In some drawers, I’ll use plastic or wooden bins to corral smaller items. As an aside, one of the drawers had a bunch of tiny dividers and I’m kicking myself for removing them! They would’ve been perfect for small tubes of oil paint! Darn it!
By the way, if I meet some untimely demise, can you make sure Jeff doesn’t sell all of my super nice art supplies at a yard sale for $1.00? Thanks.
The other hard-working spot in the room is the corner with my drafting table, easel, and small storage piece. I use the drafting table for watercolors and drawing and the the easel for painting.
The storage piece is made of an antique table and a postal sorter. It’s two pieces I didn’t plan on putting together when I bought them, but they work perfectly. It looks pretty, but it really is very functional. It’s packed with items I use regularly.
Of course, the brushes are in mustard crocks on top…
And inside the sorter, some of the items are decorative, but even in the pretty crocks and bowls, there are things I use, like binder clips, a measuring tape, erasers, etc. I also use the small ironstone butter pats for mixing water and oils and mediums are stored in Weck jars.
I also have stacks of primed canvases and canvas papers and a couple of sketch books at the ready.
The small work surface affords just enough room for my glass palette and an antique tool box filled with my most frequently used oil paints.
The wheeled stool tucked next to the drafting table holds a crate with bulky supplies. I can wheel it out when I need to have it closer to me.
It holds paper towels and baby wipes for wiping away paint, as well as ziplock bags for storing dirty towels with oil on them (I then fill the bag with water to prevent spontaneous combustion.) There are also a few bottles of solvent and various mediums nestled inside. I have a box of gloves in there, but I hate wearing gloves, so I’m going to take them out. I just prefer to wash my hands frequently!
I’ve been taping my paintings to a masonite board, but was having trouble with the canvas panels falling off (and always landing face-down, of course!)
So, I purchased a holder for small canvases. It’s really a pretty clever little thing that uses friction to hold the canvas in place. I put a binder clip on for added insurance, but it holds pretty well with just the wedge in place.
I haven’t figured out how I want to store my color charts, so I just have them hanging on the “clothes line” strung across the window. I like having them out where I can see them, so I’ll have to figure out a nice way to display them. (I’m going to run out of room on the line!)
Anyone who enjoys an organized space knows the joy that is found when all of your supplies and necessities are sorted and even aesthetically pleasing. So, I’ve made a real effort to keep short accounts with keeping the studio tidy and organized. I clean up after almost every painting session, so I’m not met with a messy palette, dirty brushes, and clutter when I next go in there to create. I’m also not allowing myself to just plop bags and such on the floor. I need to put things away or not bring them in there at all.
And it seems to work so far!
I go in there, close the door, turn on my music, and I am ready to be a student and practitioner of art and design.
PS – I have started a new Instagram account @MarianParsonsArt , so I can share hyperlapse videos of paintings, more process details, as well as pictures of all of my work, for those who are interested!