New studio blues


Dear Artist,

Yesterday, Teressa Bernard of Vancouver, BC, Canada, wrote: “Even though I really love my new space, it’s taken more time than I thought to get acclimatized and to feel like painting. It’s almost like I left my creativity behind in my old place. Do most painters experience this when they move?”


Teressa Bernard

Thanks, Teressa. Apart from using the changeover as a procrastination tool, it’s a good idea to get things right in the new location.

Some of us have a greater tolerance for this change. Some plein air wizards can get immediately creative in a field of cabbages. Others spend so much time setting up and complaining in fine places that sunset happens first. It’s good training for artists to go to work in a variety of places.

Back in the new studio, lighting, elbow-room, Feng Shui considerations and lack of accumulated clutter can annoy the muse and send her packing. Seemingly inconsequential changes like the placement of furniture can be blockers as well. (I knew a woman who left her husband because he moved their dining-room table. To be fair, there was another factor — he was a regular user of tomato ketchup.)


acrylic painting
by Teressa Bernard

Easel placement and time-and-motion considerations for palette, equipment, etc., are vital. You need to keep moving things around until they feel right. Here are a few ideas:

Try not to have your back toward a door.

Move sound-volume controls to close at hand.

Consider increasing the amount of general lighting.

Get a speakerphone. Get comfortable.

You also need to make clear lines in the sand for the new neighbors and your habitual drop-ins. It’s okay to be peculiar, and it’s important to understand our own peculiarities. Like “The Princess and the Pea,” many of us are HSP (Highly Sensitive Persons). We need to find and zap the aggravating peas.

If all else fails, try squeezing out. Get started. While it’s best to get things about right, the onset of the creative process can draw you past an imperfect environment. Decent work trumps all.


acrylic painting
by Teressa Bernard

Best regards,


PS: “As I was sitting in my chair,

I knew the bottom wasn’t there,

Nor legs nor back, but I just sat,

Ignoring little things like that.” (Hughes Mearns, 1875-1965)

Esoterica: Your studio is a sanctuary, a workshop, a classroom and a throne room. Your easel is its central altar and you are its high priest. Like the dog who circles before lying down, you need to enter in a circumspect manner, take your place as a central character and please yourself. The studio is more of a fetish than most artists let on. Get the feeling right and you’ll thrive.


Afraid to mess it up
by Yvonne Sovereign, Sanford, NC, USA


“A dark horse”
oil painting, 20 x 16 inches
by Yvonne Sovereign

I moved into my new studio space a couple years ago. I can’t tell you how much I love it; I went from a small room in my house to converted space in the separate garage which is across the parking area and is the first thing people see when they pull in the driveway. It is 24 x 24 feet and the space is wonderful. It did take a while to get used to and completely comfortable in. It took me over 6 months before I actually started hanging my paintings on the wall, and as little as 2 weeks ago, I again re-arranged the furniture to be more productive. I think in a way, I was afraid to “mess it up.” It just took a bit of time to make it fully mine and truly it is my sanctuary.


Two studios
by Valorie Preston, Ottawa, ON, Canada


“Parallel Universes IV”
acrylic on canvas
by Valorie Preston

I move between studios every year. A dedicated one-room building for the summer and a smaller cut-up space with 3 small rooms (that doesn’t give room to get away from the work and put it to the viewer test) for the winter. I moved from a larger space 2 years ago and I still haven’t made the space workable. So this year I organized my summer studio with everything hung that could be hung and separated an oil station and an acrylic one. I found I could quickly get to work once I had done that. It just gave me space to be creative. Still messy but organized. I will have to look for another studio for this winter and I will need to try to find a similar space to my summer one. I am very influenced by my painting environment. Small work in a small space.


Design overload
by Elfrida Schragen, Canada


“Olive hills”
original painting
by Elfrida Schragen

There may be another factor at play in the inability to “get going” in the new studio space. Having wished for a studio, then actually getting to design and prepare one had two effects on me. My creative energy was refocused. In setting up the studio it was all about space, color, objects, and placement. Once it was finished there was a huge let down. Any painting I might create didn’t seem as big or as important as what I had just completed. It was indeed hard to get back to it. Only after a rest, a short passage of time, and some outdoor landscape work, was I able to put the studio in the background and start focusing on my painting again.


By appointment only
by Corrie Scott, Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados


“Pelicans III”
oil painting, 18 x 22 inches
by Corrie Scott

My studio is my haven, my space and as you said we need to ‘make clear lines in the sand’ with drop-ins and neighbours. My studio is very bohemian and extremely comfortable with divans, big cushions and lots of space for painting at easel or tables as I often have more than one painting on the go. I remember reading in a book about an artist who puts a sign outside her studio which says ‘Please do not disturb me as I am painting…. and that includes YOU my friends.’ Loved that one and have used it at times and put it on a chair at my studio entrance to stop anyone interrupting my dreams (creative and snore wise!) and process of my work. For many years people just came as they pleased and in the end I now have my studio as a place that visitors and friends are welcome, but by appointment. Works for me and I keep my friends this way.


The perfect space?
by John Salvi, Monmouth Beach, NJ, USA

I moved into what was going to be the perfect answer to all my problems — a 450 sq. ft. studio flooded with natural light, eleven ft. ceiling, five minutes from my home, 24 hour secure building access, free parking, state-of-the-art interior lighting, slop-sink and bathrooms down the hall, other artists toiling and interacting all around and — NOTHING happened? I found myself overwhelmed with all that glorious space where, finally, I could tackle those big paintings I had in mind. I wound up painting in a corner on a small easel. Did meet some other artists who have become great friends but the painting just never took off. Took me three years and several rent increases to give it up and come back to my too small condo space and paint. I hauled all of the new stuff: four drawer flat file, 4’x8′ work surface and saw horses, shelving and cartons, crates and — well, you know how it is. Now, I’m realizing I had to leave home to find out that I needed to be able to paint wherever I am and whatever the space considerations. What I’d visualized as ideal was just not what I needed. An expensive lesson but one that informs my decisions today about what, in reality, works best for me.

There is 1 comment for The perfect space? by John Salvi

From: Aliye Cullu — Aug 11, 2009

Thank you for sharing your experience, John. I’m saving time and money to stay right here in my sweet home and continue converting the sun room into a painting studio. More power to you!


No reason to go out
by Russ Hogger, Edmonton, AB, Canada


Russ in his studio

My wife and I moved into our new house six years ago. Although I had a studio in the old house which was just big enough, it doesn’t compare to the studio that I have now. On account of my wife’s mobility problem getting up and down stairs, I was allowed to commandeer the whole basement for whatever purpose. Moving in to my new space was easy. I painted the walls and put up shelving for my books and stuff. No new studio blues for me. I am not a plein air painter. I have no reason to be one as long as I have my trusty digital camera with me wherever I go. My studio is the place where I like everything to come together and make it all happen.


Modifications beget paintings
by Michael Abraham, Delta, BC, Canada


Michael in his studio

I was happily reminded of how many changes and adjustments were made to my studio over the past twelve years! I have added a skylight, closed off a window permanently, added two windows in other areas, turned a door into a window, added another skylight, removed the garage door and put in sliding doors, fenced off the front of the house (for privacy with the new sliding doors). I have built a desk, another desk, removed all the furniture, then slowly added things back, built a book case, then removed it, rewired the studio for speakers, there was a large TV in the corner, then small, then computer, then added an electronic piano for musing in sound as I take breaks, which I have also moved twice in the past year. I think I have had about six different sofas and twenty different chairs that have come and gone. I now have a bed in the corner, the third one, with storage and cabinets below, and just a few chairs sparsely placed… I can nap, stare at my work, read, or I can remove the mattress and use the raised bed box as a table for varnishing or stretching linen, so I think I like this bed thingy now.

For all the time spent in non-production mode, I must say I have created about ten solo shows in this space, and live solely off my art. The righting of the space has allowed for all the ideas to flow, so I am never too hard on myself for shuffling things endlessly. My wife gets a kick out of it though! The saying goes, “Where there is motion there is life.”

There are 2 comments for Modifications beget paintings by Michael Abraham

From: Sandy B. Donn — Aug 11, 2009

I absolutely love your work. . .you are “too cool for school!” I have this affliction of changing things, although gender differences prevent me from “building” things! Hmmmm. . .maybe that’s too self-limiting. . .where’s my tool box?

From: Helen Opie — Aug 13, 2009

Absolutely no gender problem for building studio furniture – or anything else! Especially if you can sew: wood doesn’t flex like fabric, and doesn’t need motion-ease built in. Take a course at a local high school (IF you have one) to learn how to use power tools OR find a helpful neighbour. Measuring is important, and I’ve found that many men with tools who want to help me cannot measure, even if I mark where to cut and on which side of the line to cut, they don’t understand those fine points. Learn them yourself. Start with shelves, and make them yourself; slightly off kilter will still hold stuff, and eventually, when you are annoyed enough and more skilled, you can take them apart – use SCREWS not nails! – and rebuild them. Tables are easy to make with folding legs; just a top of the size you want. Think about those crude old shelves and cupboards that are now revered for their very crudeness. You can make crude!

Start with a good, sharp handsaw – I find Japanese style easier to cut with – and an electric drill/screwdriver with variable speed. Also a small square, a steel tape measure, and a good pencil.


A sacred place
by Fleta Monaghan, Asheville, NC, USA


“Laguna verde”
oil painting, 34 x 34 inches
by Fleta Monaghan

I had the same difficulty in adjusting to my new space about four years ago. It took me about three months to make the adjustment and feel ready to work. The following year I moved to the adjoining studio, and did not want to go through another three months of dithering about. Some of the things that helped me adjust much more quickly with this second move were some starting practices I developed and some furnishing set-ups. I have a little love seat that is large enough to spread things out a little, but not big enough to stretch out for a nap (it is a little sofa bed, if a nap is really needed). I put wires on all my paintings before beginning to paint so I can hang them on the wall while in progress. With the work hanging up, first off, I can look things over with fresh eyes. A cup of tea, a candle, some music can help set the mood. Making my list of work for the day, looking forward to the next show and writing down notes or lists can really get me going in a positive, productive way.

It is such a wonderful thing to have a studio to go to, and so necessary too. It is like a sacred place. Getting that all-important spot to paint in the studio established first off is important, and for me, a place to write, look at the work and plan is important too.

There are 2 comments for A sacred place by Fleta Monaghan

From: Lillian NY — Aug 11, 2009

I agree 1,000 % with you on having your space. So necessary and so welcome to get that all important ‘thinking’ done;whether it is on paper, in the air or just inside your head. Keep up the great work. I LOVE your idea of hanging while wet. Gotta try that idea.

From: L Perrella — Aug 14, 2009

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of these thoughts about artist’s studios. The comment about “studio as fetish” was, I thought, right on. I just completed a book on the topic of artists and their studios. The process of traveling throughout the Northeast and Southwest to do the photography was wonderful. Each studio/each artist was so different. Almost everyone obeyed the request, “Don’t clean up!”. And I especially loved the various terms people used to define their spaces:

“Epicenter”, “The Vortex”, “Sanctuary”, etc. What I know for sure: There is no formula, and certainly no

“right way or wrong way”. Once we embrace that fact, we can boldly proceed with creating the studio of our dreams…..regardless of size, location, boundaries, or occasional “inner critic” chatter.


Little details save time
by John Fitzsimmons, Fayetteville, NY, USA


John’s rolling tool box

I recently built a riser that fits on top of my rolling tool box. This riser has a series of holes along its back to hold paint brushes vertically so I can easily spot the one I want. Its extra height brings the palette closer to me so I don’t have to bend over. The glass palette is easy to clean and the white laminate under it reveals the colors well. I have a few extra holes in the top surface for things like palette knife, scraper, etc. The top has a jog to accommodate my solvent container at a lower level, keeping it out of my arm’s way.

The next level down is a clear sliding shelf that is my “ready” shelf. This is where I hold the tubes of paint I am working with right now, saving my digging around in the drawers over and over. Under that is an area for things like mediums, mixing cups and mini-palettes. I keep a small waste container for palette scrapings that I toss out when it gets messy. The mini-palettes are things like plastic food container lids or small scraps of Sintra plastic, that I transfer mixed paint to and bring with me to a painting. This avoids wasted movement to and from the palette.

Below is the rolling steel tool box that I have had for about 30 years. These tool boxes can store an enormous amount of materials and I have a similar one set up for my drawing area. To better organize my tubes of paint, I added wooden trays that slide in and out. This adds “floor space” to the drawers, avoiding piling up tubes. On the bottom is a large compartment where I store gallon containers of gesso and solvent. On the side of the riser are a few screws sticking out, I hang rags on these and my palette scraper. I use a rag until it gets messy, then hang it up to dry for a day and keep rotating them until they are too stiff to use, then I toss them in the trash on trash day.

All these little details save little distractions and little amounts of time but added together save a lot of time and a lot of distractions.

There is 1 comment for Little details save time by John Fitzsimmons

From: Linda Mallery — Aug 11, 2009

Brilliant design, looks very organized. Thanks for sharing.


La Petite Maison
by Kittie Beletic, Dallas, TX, USA


mixed media
by Kittie Beletic

Having a new studio is such a luxury! I’ve recently downsized from 2200 square feet to 300. The first space was shared and incredible. It was in a public place so there was a lot of stimulation (and interruption). It had a big kitchen and I kept a bed there for overnights. I loved it and at the time, couldn’t imagine creating anywhere else. Financial responsibility was the reason for moving. Things went into storage and for months I tried to work out of my house. I found it so hard and was constantly tripping over things and drinking out of my paint water! One morning as I sat in my writing chair I noticed for the first time that my carport (where I never parked my car) was well built and sturdy. I imagined it enclosed and immediately the studio muse rose inside of me. How would it look? Who could build it? How could I afford it? The details are important to that story but not pertinent to the point of this writing. Suffice it to say, I started imagining and things fell into place. La Petite Maison is the most charming little place and I’ve minimized with glee! It took a month to put my creative energy fully into it. Although I’m sure this is different for every artist, the sooner a creative begins, the better. It takes time and activity to develop a relationship with your surroundings. It is a joyful time where you have the opportunity to get to know yourself as an artist again, shake the dust off the old mediums and even learn some things new!


Fighting through difficulty
by Charles Peck, Punta Gorda, Florida, USA


“That loving feeling”
acrylic painting
by Charles Peck

After the hurricane of ’04 in southwest Florida leveled my studio, I went 4 years without a studio. I only could do plein-air, mural work and paint in my little Pearson Vanguard sailboat which I made work but is anything but ideal for a studio.

In November of ’08 I managed to secure a small downtown studio and though I did have some good output months I just couldn’t find the swing. I fought for many months to get back into the groove. The only thing that helped I think are the regular plein air sessions that started to build a decent body of work and then after I was able to get enough (?) up on my walls and stacked against the wall it seemed easier to just start goofing around with new ideas and adding color washes, glazes and areas to existing work. I have not been able to explain to myself the difficulty I had getting going this time for I have had much experience with new studio settings in new towns in the past (some very make-shift) and no trouble just getting after it. I think plein-air has been my savior this time and now my studio work is not just commission work but real work. My studio time is profiting from my plein air though I still don’t find much use for working from photos other than commission work. There has been some sort mental something I had to fight through this time and it seems to be becoming a thing of the past though I still can’t put my finger on the cause.




Girl with golden earring

oil painting
by Scott Mattlin, Denver, CO, USA


You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Joe McAleer of Bonita Springs, FL, USA who wrote, “I have felt that there has been something wrong with my working space recently. After reading this letter, I’m inspired to do some late spring cleaning.”

And also Trish Booth Pieterse who wrote, “Dust it up and get to work. No excuses.”

And also Leza Macdonald who is moving to Oliver, BC, Canada who wrote, “After your letter I could not sleep last night so I spent the time designing my new studio. Two fold up chairs, portable easel; small table all placed about 10 feet from the lake. Two cats running around. My back will be towards the world and my easel will face the future.”


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for New studio blues



From: Janet Toney — Aug 06, 2009

Recently we added things to our room, which is where my “studio” is. Every time something is added it must be arranged so it can be accessed and other things must be shifted. So…put my drawing board right in front of a window – no curtains – lovely view of our hill & the old apple tree and another mountain peak in the distance. Drawing board and etc. looks great there! Like an ideal artist’s space.

Then I finally got finished arranging stuff and sat down to paint. There was such a glare I couldn’t see!!

From: Janice_Marie — Aug 06, 2009

My new studio is lovely, good light, space, and storage but like Theresa’s it doesn’t feel right. Months of having no studio and sketching and sewing on my lap on the couch with my partner nattering next to me and the tv waffling away have made the studio seem cold and distant. Our solution? Get his nibs a desk in my studio so we can share the space and I can work while he fiddles on the computer.

From: Layne Taylor Kairis — Aug 06, 2009

New Studio Blues has been my experience as well. My joy was full in my prior home as far as the creativve excitement I felt there. Though I moved only a mile away (still the same neighborhood) to the other side of the golf course I felt surely the move would be great for my creativity. Right out my living room is a pond…actually two, the course and space goes on to the length of three or four football fields. Evergreen trees and Palm Trees are a haven to the great Egrets, wild ducks, and birds which

From: Edward — Aug 07, 2009

Perfect timing on this topic. I’m finally planning a return trip to the UK, and I will plan a full day for each of the wonderful National Galleries in Edinburgh. At the Dean Gallery of modern art, one of the treats is the recreation of Eduardo Paolozzi’s studio. It’s fascinating to see how other artists arrange their work spaces, and as soon as one sees Sir Eduardo’s work room and the incredible collection of articles that became part of his creative environment one knows that making your work area suit you is not an overnight task. I’ve known artists who can work happily in sterile, tidy studios, but I’m not one of those who can do so. I save the tidiness for the kitchen. Where I paint is my private world, and each item in it makes it what it is. I actually clean it up periodically, but as long as the bits of drawings and partial paintings are near at hand, I can work contentedly. Oddly, the view out the window is irrelevant to me, as I forget all but the image I’m making once the brushes are wet.

From: Julie — Aug 07, 2009

It’s much much easier to adjust to a new studio than to no studio! In New York City I can’t even afford my own apartment.

From: Cooper — Aug 07, 2009

Thanks for the nicely timed article, Robert. The studio is packed. The moving company is scheduled to arrive at 9:30 on Monday. I am currently trying to tamp back painting-withdrawal symptoms :)

From: Meg Wolfe — Aug 07, 2009

I never seem to have the same studio space for any length of time. Our previous home was divided into three apartments, so the living room of our section was our shared studio at first. Then my husband needed more space for his work so I moved my studio into my son’s old room, tiny but I managed. Then we took over the downstairs apartment and shared it for studio space. Then we took over the remaining apartment and used it for a gallery and office space. Then we had to move. Now we are in an 1100 sq ft house. At first I used the smallest bedroom for a studio, and my husband used the bedroom that doesn’t have a window. Now he uses both those rooms and I have the run of the full basement. It’s not a finished basement, but it is dry and has a lot of light fixtures and all my stuff is down there. It’s not too bad in the winter when the furnace is on, but in the summer it is really too cold when the a/c is going. It’s really hard to paint down there, but there is no place else to work. All of these changes have occurred in a space of seven years. Something’s gotta give pretty soon!

From: Laurie Leehane — Aug 07, 2009

Last November I moved. My new studio space is a room 18′ x 8′. No surface space, two small windows, only an easel. I spent the winter blocked artistically and dreading to go in there. The only consolation was that I had my computer set up by a window looking over the backyard. Recently I had 15 feet of workspace/tabletops built and shelving. What a difference having somewhere to store my stuff and lay my brushes and paints..The final touch will be a new huge window added and a vent. Oh glory day that will be.

From: S. Kellogg — Aug 07, 2009

As I remember, feng shui practitioners were originally referred to as “white feather merchants” (i.e. mattress or used car salesmen)! Because of window glare in my new studio (former guest room) I have my back to a doorway and feel very secure and happy.

From: Jackie Knott — Aug 07, 2009

My studios over the years have included a living room coffee table of a tiny apartment, a laundry room, a kitchen, multiple extra bedrooms, a portable building, a magnificant 20′ square room with north light *sigh*, a small office, and now, our last move, a 12′ square room that our house plans calls a “bedroom.”

The only times I had trouble painting was when I tried to share the space for another function. How do you make a studio presentable for a weekend guest? You can’t, and I quit trying. I have one extra bedroom, not two.

There is nothing in my studio that isn’t devoted to its function and that is what pleases me. I have a chest with the tools of my trade, canvas stretcher, staple gun, etc. Another drawer devoted to only drawing, pencils and charcoal, another sketch books and paper. The closet holds rolls of canvas and wooden stretchers.

Oddly enough, all these years I have kept a three-tiered table on wheels, 18″ x 32″, that could be a rolling studio unto itself. The top level is my palette, jars of brushes and turp. The middle level, palette knives and tubes of paint. Lower level, can of turp, more jars, extra large brushes, and odd tools I use less often. It squeaks and wobbles when I move it, and has had repeated repairs. This rickety old table is my familiarity zone. As long as I have it, I don’t have to adjust how I paint. I move it between two easels when I alternate between projects.

Having permanent work surfaces is necessary for some. I just need my own space and my table. The important thing is to have a place to paint and not have to “borrow” it. Your art is worth that.

From: Carole Pigott — Aug 07, 2009

I also recently moved to a much larger – nicer studio but wondered also how was I going to paint in this energy. A solution for me was to hang all of the best work of mine on the walls to renew the feelings of the old studio until the new one took on its own energy.

From: Dwight Williams — Aug 07, 2009

One of the best watercolor students I ever had, in evenings locked herself in the bathroom away from several little kids, leaving them in the care of her professor husband, while she painted great work. Maybe she was used to that and a larger, grander space would have stymied her.

I switched about 18 years ago from one nice space to another and it did take a while to feel “at home.” There’s nothing like getting to work in a new space to make it home. Very natural, I think.

From: Laurel Alanna McBrine — Aug 07, 2009

“I knew a woman who left her husband because he moved their dining-room table. To be fair, there was another factor–he was a regular user of tomato ketchup.”

Snort. Robert, you are a hoot.

From: Jeanne-Manhattan Beach, CA — Aug 07, 2009

Once I had my studio walls re-painted in preparation for an open studio tour. For weeks afterward I couldn’t work. The space was filled with masculine, testosterone-laden energy left over by my hard-working painters. The whole place felt distinctly different. The only way I could overcome this sensation was to maintain my discipline of going out to my studio every day until my own energies dominated the foreign energy residue. The muse returned in full force. Be patient. Mark the space with time and consistancy. It will respond.

From: Carol Ann Waugh — Aug 07, 2009

Several weeks ago, I moved from my home studio (dining room) to an artist’s studio in the RiNo section of Denver. I am now working with 30 other artists of a variety of mediums and displaying in the gallery where we participate in open studios on First Fridays. Ever since I moved, I’ve been creatively frozen. I busy myself with the mundane tasks of “getting organized” and “arranging my space” and “locating nearby resources — like banks, lunch places, hardware stores, and the like.” Anything but working on my art. I feel a tremendous pressure to being working on a “big, important piece” since I now have an official artist studio. But I am completely drained of ideas and creativity. Your thoughts have helped me see, again, that just making art leads to making better art. So tomorrow, I will make something just to start. And it will come.

From: Sue Rothschild Goldenberg — Aug 07, 2009

Yes, yes, yes – when I moved from my lovely little studio where I had a pretty caravan with a deck that looked over lake Ontario and I could paint happily when I moved into a bigger place but back into a basement studio although bigger with a little room where I could possibly have a little gallery it just was not the same. I kept reorganizing and moving tables around. The space although bigger is not my first little studio which I loved.

From: Carolyn Rotter — Aug 07, 2009

Moving, as some say is a traumatic experience. I can attest to that. Last year I move from New York to a tiny town in N. Carolina. In an attempt to maintain control of the condition of my art work I made arrangements with a climate controlled storage facility near my new home to hold my paintings. Each time we visited during the construction we traveled with a carload of paintings. I wasn’t going to leave them to the movers, a good decision as it turned out. After the move, setting up a house, a studio, and making new contacts filled my days. I found people who were interested in being in the classes I teach. I found new inspiration but I still wasn’t ready to paint. Upheaval takes a toll on creativity. Six months later when the dust settled to get myself motivated I decided to paint an already completed work but with a different media. The creativity was there all I needed was to get out my paints and enjoy the process. Once started, a deluge of work came pouring out. I still have many days where I continue to hunt for some supplies that were lost in the move but I found it was easier to just replace them and not worry so much. The best thing about the move is the wide variety of new subjects to paint. Embrace the change!

From: Kimberly Arnold — Aug 07, 2009

Can you provide some suggestions/assistance in regards to size (square footage) of studio space and layout designs – I tried to find something on-line with out much success. (I used to have a textbook that outlined design features for your dream studio etc. but I seem to have lost or loaned out that book, so it’s back to square one) My husband is going to build me a studio space. Yaaaaaaay! The studio usage would consist of stone sculpture, painting, computer/photography, scrap booking and private lessons.

From: Sandy — Aug 07, 2009

The topics of preparation and painting in “cabbage patches” have been especially timely for me this month. In July I was active in an invitational plein air event when a man drove into my Soltek easel, broke the leg, crashed and broke the box, broke the umbrella, and, working in pastels, bounced the pastels on the pavement putting the painting on top of it all.

This happened the second day of the four prime painting days and knocked out 2.5 days. A ridiculous amount of time went to managing the feelings of the driver and the crowd since this was at a public demo during the competition.

From: Foxy loomer — Aug 07, 2009

New Studio Blues

I worked as an illustrator for 25 years, moved twice in that time, I spent a day with each move fussing with silly stuff, also afraid I’d left my creativity behind. After the first piece was finished I was fine! So glad I’m not crazy, just sensitive!!!

From: Robin — Aug 07, 2009

My small studio is always being invaded by the cable guy (because the access wires are in the studio closet), or my husband who nudges things around to be orderly. It is very disturbing and takes a while to re-acclimate which eats into precious creative time. Biggest problem though is a feeling that my creativity has been partially drained away by a recent surgery. Is anyone else having this experience? Are we examining again what is important with the time we have left – as one of your respondents has recently remarked. Or does a re-arrangement of our innards (or the addition of a metal device) affect the way we feel about our art, our perceptions, our energy, motivation, etc.

From: JoRene Newton — Aug 07, 2009

Recently I had to downsize and move to a retirement location. the hardest thing was giving up my studio . In my new location I made a space in my large living area for my easel a, table and a few storage shelves. My flat file and other art supplies I stored on shelves in my attached garage.

It is not the “perfect place ‘ but in that small location I can continue my painting. Surrounded by paintings and books I find that the creativity is still there. We artists are quite adaptable.

From: David Nielsen — Aug 07, 2009
From: Hugh G. Rice — Aug 07, 2009

Here in Winnipeg, I enjoy a large well lit studio in my home for eight months of the year. I have easy access to good quality affordable canvases and paints. In keeping with the prairie that inspires me, I mostly paint large landscapes. My palette is vibrant. I use a lot of paint. How else to capture the grandeur of the grasslands and the skies of the Manitoba prairie?

In our rented home in Ballycastle, N. Ireland, I paint in the attached garage which has only one window and limited space, lighting and materials. Thankfully, the boiler is in there so it is warm. There is only one dedicated art supply store in N. Ireland so finding affordable canvases is tricky. As I am always mindful that I might want to take some of my Irish work home with me, I work on small canvases. I cannot get the same paints there that I am used to, so I have to work with the ones available. The landscape is dramatically different. Each year I have to start all over again in Ireland. In a sense I become a different painter. And it can be really difficult at first to find my rhythm.

The only solution is to put out the paints and start painting on a consistent basis. And slowly slowly over a period of time, things begin to work again. I even find new ways to paint. Recently experimenting with mixing oils and acrylics has been rewarding. One year I tried out a medium that was new to me. When mixed with acrylic paint it produced some really lovely patterns when it was allowed to flow freely on the canvas.

My inspiration over there are the mountains of Donegal, the Mournes and the Glens of Co. Antrim with their unique laddered patchwork fields. The weather is often wet and misty. The scenery changes by the minute and by the month as the slow spring arrives and moves slowly up the mountains. The mood of the landscape is rugged and often bleak. My palette becomes soft and subtle. I use less paint. I work small. The landscape of N. Ireland is a far cry from the simplicity of the sunlit prairie and the vast skies of Manitoba. I am unable to work in the same way and in the same style.

But I love the challenge as much as I love both landscapes. And as an artist who is really most interested in colour and how paint is applied, I believe that having the challenge of working in two very different places and circumstances has added new inspiration to my creative process.

As someone once told me, don’t be afraid of change. As one door closes in your life, another opens. And if you can get through that long and often difficult hallway to the open door, the rewards can be worth it.

From: Tulia Wiggens — Aug 07, 2009

I recently moved into a yurt, situated at the edge of a forest on a slight bluff overlooking a small lake. My studio loft is in town on the second floor of a disused injection molding facility. An ex- with whom I am on good terms, lives in the suburbs in a patio home, and my parents are in their tudor manse on three wooded acres of a gated community. I volunteer weekly at a storefront clinic as a tutor for underprivileged school kids with a reading deficit. I very often take time out to visit a friend who lives in an Airstream trailer at a year around camp ground. I move between these places in a van, the rear of which is set up to permit both sleeping and painting, when ambushed by inclement weather during a plein air adventure. I paint where I am, and that seems to be everywhere. If I have the gear with me, one place is as good as another. When I finally get used to kibitzers — and I’m almost there — my french easel and I are gonna go walkabout for a year, and I don’t think I’ll worry much about feng shui.

From: Lyn Wardlaw — Aug 08, 2009

Didn’t know how important my workspace was until last week when my visiting grandchildren locked one of my Kunekune pigs in it for 24 hours and it was totally refurbished by a hungry thirsty pig. It now smells funny but has all the floor level well cleared of clutter! Lyn

From: Rick Rotante — Aug 08, 2009

My studio is my sanctuary. Everything I need to create is there from tools to music; from a comfortable chair to correct lighting; from books to a model stand. All my painted work past and present are hanging or stored in an adjacent area.

I also have hanging paintings, some classic study copies to originals. Also a large long stationary table that holds paint, extra brushes, picture files, projector, more books, speakers. Being left handed my large easel is in from of me with the large table to my left. On an “L” shaped wall shelf behind and to the left side of me are measuring devices, rulers, cloth towels, cassette tapes, and various wood blocks and ink, bottles and various plastic containers. Below the shelf and behind me are calking gun tubes of paint on hooks for easy access.

On the floor beside me, under the table are various sized canvases, gesso, extra paint tubes, and paint thinner and varnishes along with a regular tool box. Above my head is a balanced light fixture with four fluorescent tubes. In front of me is a small folding breakfast tray that holds my “easel buddy”. It’s a fold up box that holds the paint I am using with both side able to fold open.

This set up allows me easy reach of anything I may need at any moment to minimize distraction or lost time in hunting down material or brushes or tools I may need to accomplish the task at hand. Oh, one more thing vital to me is a large mirror on an aluminum easel roughly three to four feet diagonally behind me on my right. This eliminates hours of walking back and forth to view my work in progress. I do have enough room to feel comfortable and maybe have two other artists if the situation comes up. I have no phones or intercoms or clocks to distract me. What I lack is a skylight or north light. This is something I have on my wish list in a future studio.

The key factor here is – I have a studio. That is a blessing.

It takes time and period of living in to get everything where you want it, but you have to get back to work in the interim. Start working and everything else will follow. Remember a beautiful studio does not an artist make.

From: Patsy — Aug 10, 2009

Glad I’m not the only one who’s had studio space problems, though my current dilemma is more a case of distractions – I live where I work, and the nature of the job is “on duty while you’re awake, seven days a week”, so even if there’s no particular task needing doing, my brain has to stay in work mode in case of enquiries, and that plays havoc with creativity.

Physical space is not much of an issue to someone who has sewn curtains on a tea trolley (I’m quite proud of that achievement!); it’s mental space I need. ;-)

From: Rosemary Fischer — Aug 10, 2009

Perfect timing for me. I haven’t had good studio space since I left my home&self designed studio in Key West 4 years ago. Living in an urban area ever since I left has been a difficult transition other than I am now situated closer to family. I tried to make a studio in an unused office space available in the ap’t complex. It was too drab even with installing a white floor, repainting walls, installing a slop sink, and changing fluorescent to natural lite.

My muse would have nothing to do with it!!! It had very little natural lite-2ordinary size windows facing west. It was costly,too. I managed to do some work, not much and hung in there for almost a full year. I decided to put everything in storage and tried to relocate to a home with more space. With the real estate plunge I am trying to find a way to relocate to a country locale and am investigating financing. Enough of that, just to let you know that studio space for me is sacred space. I am now 79 years old and time is of the essence!

I just entered my 4th show for Artists Over 75. I live too far away to take classes but I’ve had enough work to participate in their venue.

From: Edna Hildebrandt — Aug 10, 2009

I never had a studio .I use whatever space I can find to paint. All I need is an inspiration and the time .Having a subject to work on also helps me. Since I joined Neilson Park Creative Center and the Etobicoke Art Group I also enjoy our Wednesday Open studio group exchanging and having conversations about news and the like or work in silence if we choose. We can always use our imagination to come up with a subject. Perhaps this would help fight the blues.

From: Cathy Harville — Aug 10, 2009

I have been a resident artist at a local converted cotton mill for about four years, and in that time, I have had five studios! Believe me, it was not by design – for a while I felt like I was in the studio of the month club!

The first studio was small, but bright. I spent a fortune updating the electric and putting in hard wired lights. Times were good. Another artist courted me into sharing a much larger space, in a better location, with many promises of various sorts. So we moved in together, and after six months, I moved out. Just did not work out as planned. So I took a studio temporarily off the beaten track, where visitors dare not take the elevator to get to. I was lonely, and that was the only time that nothing creative happened, despite the beautiful view of the river.

Another space finally opened up, and i grabbed it quickly. It was big and expensive, and the location was not so great. it was right across from a restaurant kitchen, and huge totes of rotten food were ferried back and forth all day, leaving lettuce and dirty napkins in the hallway. I had paintings stolen from the hallway.Vandalism was rampant. Business was slow, and my creativity, though coming back, was still dismal.

A smaller, more affordable space, closer to the path of visitors became available. This time, I hired a painter, and had it painted a light yellow, used inexpensive shop lights with halogen bulbs, and got to work. And my creativity is flourishing! Although the economy is dismal, I have great exposure, and the bright studio is cozy and inviting. I just love it.

Like real estate, studio location is important. Doing things, like choosing a lively paint color, and simple white furniture with clean lines, and ample lighting, really helped me. I have a stereo to play my favorite music. I also have a coffee maker, and keep all my storage behind beautiful screens. (I had a microwave, but there was not enough electric in the building, and I crashed everyone’s computers when I turned it on. So, I gave it to the cleaning lady, who was very grateful.)

From: Beverly S. Benson — Aug 10, 2009

Sorry, I have very little sympathy for someone that has a studio that hasn’t a clue of how to adjust to it.

I am too busy working to pay the rent for my studio…that’s sitting there not being used. When I am in it, I have 3 paintings I want to do, and it takes all my concentration to just pick one idea because I am bursting with things I have been wanting to do.

So now, I am looking at closing up my studio because I can’t afford the rent. That leaves me with no time to paint, but to downsize into an already crowded home. My precious last 2 months in the studio….will be packing it up. So sorry, if you can’t figure out what to do with a space you are fortunate enough to have…. maybe you could sponsor someone else that is bursting at the seams with desire to actually do work.

In my life, I know, as long as I have a french easel and some supplies, anywhere I set up is my studio.

It reminds me of all the people I know that have the fanciest kitchens and then order out.

From: Irene Webley — Aug 10, 2009

Just wanted to add the suggestion that she choose a favourite incense or essential oil to burn/disperse in the studio …. smell is such an evocative sense and doing this can be a powerful way of transforming a room (in Teressa’s case into her working space, as opposed to a generic one still inhabited by the experience of construction and design).

From: Phyllis Tarlow — Aug 10, 2009

When I read “New Studio Blues,” my memories went right back to my move 9 years ago to the apartment I’m now living in and the studio I set up in it. I chose the largest of the two bedrooms which, at the time seemed like it would be large enough for me to work in comfortably. I thought that within the week, I would be up and running. In fact, it was more like 3 or 4 weeks since I had to use the studio space to keep my many unopened boxes out of my immediate living areas.

I finally did get going again but it took even more time to feel like I really belonged there. I knew about feng shui and decided to purchase a couple of books on the subject. They were quite a help in giving me some tips about things to do to make a space more inviting and to invite good energy into it. I also found that spending time just sitting or standing and gazing around the room made me aware of what areas didn’t feel right. I then used my intuition along with the feng shui guidance to make me feel more at home.

Bright, color correct lighting helped. So did a couple of red patterned tapestry rugs from Home Depot placed in my main work areas and laid over the bland, gray industrial carpeting I had had installed. Somehow, those carpets turned off my creativity.

Nine years later, my place is homey but a jumble. I’ve really outgrown it as I’ve added an oil painting area to the computer area and drawing table area that I already have and use. So far it hasn’t stopped me from working but it certainly has made working large — which I would like to do more — awfully difficult. It now looks like I’ll either have to move or get a studio outside of my house.

Oh, oh, it’s time to face the music again!

From: Sara Spanjers — Aug 10, 2009

I can’t believe how often your letter is so timely with my own art world miles away!

I recently needed to re-group my studio space, and as it goes one area redo leads to another, and another.

I find that it is healthy to regroup and find your function groove all over again.

I Paint as well as work in re – claimed collage & the junk I collect for my re-claimed work is moutainous. Going through it is a necessity to rediscover what I have! It is also fun to find more practical / functional work staitons. It has put the spring back into my

inspiration. As I was nearing my cleansing process, I couldn’t wait

to get going again. It feels like my new place to work.

From: Anita Stoll — Aug 10, 2009

I found it difficut to jump right in and paint with my usual vigor when I moved from the high desert of Southern California to the footlhills near Yosemite National Park. Of course, the environment was new and the atmospheric conditions were new as well. Perhaps, though, the biggest challange was going from an 8 x 10 spare bedroom I used as a studio to a large converted garage with tons of space that needed to be finished and organized before I could put paint to canvas or in my case pastel to paper. My advice is to go easy on yourself. The inspiration will come. You will make needed adjustments. Allow yourself time to simply enjoy taking in your new surroundings.

From: Olivia Alexander — Aug 10, 2009

I can relate to Terresa’s dilemma. I recently bought a house, turned to Granny Flat on the back of it into a self contained Studio/Gallery.

It was very exciting choosing paint, carpet and setting everything up. Lots of natural light and views of the lake have given it a beautiful peaceful ambience.

I then found myself standing at the easel for several weeks just staring at the white surface! I thought I had ‘lost it’ for awhile, Where had my creativity gone?

What did I do? I pressed through, forcing myself to put brush to paper. I experimented with new color combinations and generally tried out a few new things. As I kept pressing through the wheels gradually began to grind. It took a few weeks of being persistent and disciplined.

The end result? In a six week period I produced 7 new paintings all of which I am very happy with. It was a good lesson for me.

From: Cindy Mawle — Aug 10, 2009

Just recently we had a slow leak from our bathroom in the basement which is situated next to my studio area. My studio happens to be low ground, so the water slowely seeped under the wall, and accumulated for a couple of weeks under my laminate floor. Consequently we had to move everything out of the room and tear up the flooring. At first I was ready to tear my hair out, having to give up my coveted art space, but I took a deep breath and decided that I could turn this into a good “disaster”. The first thing I did was to designate a small area in another part of the basement as my temporary painting space, and made sure the lighting was adequate.(this helped to keep my sanity) Then back in the studio room I threw a fresh new color onto the paint speckled walls, and bought some new flooring at a discount warehouse for a good price. I am now going to repaint my tables with plastic enamel and build some new cupboards for canvases and frames, utilizing some of the laminate flooring that was torn out. I have invested in a whole lot of plastic bins and am looking forward to putting the space back together again piece by piece, throwing out or donating what I really dont need. I am finding the whole exercise rather invigorating!

From: Kevan Rupp Lunney — Aug 10, 2009

I am a fiber artist. I have spent most of my life setting up in my bedroom or on the dining room table, and having to pack up before dinner. 20 years ago when we first moved into this house I got my first studio. It was a 10 x 10 room with a very small wall space to pin up work which is the same as my easel. But what a blessing to be able to have my own space and to be able to close the door.

2 years ago we added a room to the house on top of an expanded basement. This became my dream studio. It was so pretty that I almost couldn’t get messy and creative in it!

I walked in there many times and admired the wall color and how I had worked out storage space and I admired the natural light but I just couldn’t get started.

I finally forced myself to get in there and make one small 4 x 6″ piece and that led to another. Soon the joy of being lost in the creative moment was greater than the fear of being stuck. But after 3 small pieces I froze again. this time I just tore a bunch of fabric from the storage and practically bathed in all the color with the goal of just letting the colors find themselves. I quickly refined the goal to making a composition in energetic red. This time the studio felt like home.

Each of these projects helped me adjust the track lights, move the tables in different configurations and lighten up my restrictions from creating the perfect looking space to the perfect functioning space. At night I needed better task lighting. I bought a lamp I just love, it is an inexpensive floor lamp from Target with 5 goosenecks with white shades at the top. I call it Medusa. She even travels well to workshops. It was also necessary to buy a small rug to baffle sound and ease my back when standing.

From: Diane Duncan — Aug 10, 2009

I work in fibre, acrylic and watercolour and recently left behind a spacious basement studio in our ‘dream retirement home’ to travel full-time in a motorhome – to reconnect with my spouse and to regain sanity and health in our lives. I careful chose and packed my supplies and am now, after six months, finally able to get serious about my art work again. I have discovered that my loss of creative focus was not just about the change of physical space, but more about what was happening in my head and how I was reacting to the new lifestyle. The calmness that leads to my creativity required that I get routines established and insert a level of planning and organization not required in my former studio. Once I figured that out, even in my limited space, my muse is returning.

From: Marie Pinschmidt — Aug 11, 2009

When I paint, I’m unaware of what’s above, behind, below or to the side of me. Nothing exists but the work in front of me – my painting, my paints and my brushes.

From: Lynda Cookson — Aug 11, 2009

We have had to move a few times in the last decade, after having emigrated from South Africa to Ireland, and living in rented homes. I always make sure the choicest (most light-friendly) room in the house becomes my studio, protect it from top to bottom with large sheets of cardboard and sheeting, so as not to damage carpets and walls with paint, and love the process of setting the room out! I feel it’s just as important a part of the growth of my art as experimenting with different techniques. In fact, when there comes a time when my studio hasn’t been remodelled for some time, I’ll probably find a reason to do it anyway …. nothing like a fresh look at my personal space as well as my art!

From: Susan Park — Aug 11, 2009

In a recent trip south, a friend and I toured the farmhouse once belonging to Carl Sandburg and his wife. They relocated from Michigan to North Carolina because she wanted to raise goats and this seemed the perfect location. He believed that he could write anywhere.

His wife understood her man though, having moved with him before. She had seen that long dry spell that followed a change of venue, so this time, when they were relocating for her, she made arrangements for him to go on a 3 week trip to Europe, and during that time, she had her builders/movers replicate EXACTLY his old studio writing room. Every book was moved into the exact position. Every piece of furniture was put in the exact place that he left it. The walls were painted to duplicate the former room.

When Sandburg returned, he expected to be opening boxes and trying to put together a new space for himself. Instead he found it to be the only spot in the new farmhouse that was totally finished. He wasted not a moment, sat down in his chair, tapped his cigar ashes into his pot-bellied stove, as was his habit, and put pencil to paper, and went on creating some of his best works…

Would that we all were so lucky to have such a smooth transition into our new spaces!

From: Diane — Aug 11, 2009

Through trial and error, I discovered the best place for me to paint is our basement laundry room. While natural light isn’t wonderful, I have an overhead light above my easel. I hang extra paintings on the walls for periodically critiques if I am working on something else at the easel. I love having a washtub nearby to clean my brushes and I don’t have to worry about messing up the floor. I use my ironing board (covered with a plastic cleaner’s bag) to lay out my paints at a convenient height. If I need more temporary space, I use the washing machine surface. The bonus is that when I step away to take a look, I can throw a load of laundry in the washer or dryer.

From: Deborah — Aug 11, 2009

This winter I had the absolute delight of being able to convert a large, above-ground basement room in my house into an absolutley divine studio. I went from fragmented work spaces scattered throughout the house (a drafting table in the living room; an office in the spare bedroom; a work & storage space in another small room) to having one spacious, well-lit, cohesive studio complete with storage space and a lounging corner furnished with sofa and books. It’s now my haven; I traipse down stairs each morning with coffee in hand and dogs in tow, and never want to leave. For me, it was the change I needed to loosen some creative floodgates — it’s as though I simply needed elbow room. Just walking through the studio door brings me immense pleasure. However there are times when I miss being curled up with my pencils on the couch in front of the TV, and so have devised a portable mini workstation to accommodate that impulse. I firmly believe we need to recognize our in-the-moment needs and nurture them.

From: Christine Debrosky — Aug 11, 2009

Read with great interest “studio blues”, as am in the process of building a dream space.

I started out over 25 years ago working on a kitchen table (I think that’s why I took to plein air painting so readily)

Progressed to a converted bedroom in another house, which served me so well for 20 years…

Am now working in a breakfast nook, while 600 square foot space, with 10 foot ceilings is being completed. So, in the meantime, it’s been a lot of plein air painting again!

We artists are adaptible, yet very sensitive to surroundings.

now with a move to the Southwest

From: Ted Openshaw — Aug 11, 2009

I wonder at the idea that so many have of the necessity of ‘northern natural light’.. its importance was diminished with the availability of electricity. How many I wonder ever exhibited in a gallery or other venue that was lighted by natural northern light. I never suffer from using electric light in my studio. My work looks the same in exhibitions as it does in my studio…which is what I am after.

Now having said that… I would indeed like to have… as I have always wanted… one end wall of my studio to be a big big window. But that’s just because I want one there not because I need it to paint. And I wouldnt care if it was a north wall or not.

For what that’s all worth. I realize we all see the world differently…

it makes art interesting doesn’t it?

From: Cindy Wider — Aug 11, 2009

I have had many different studio situations in the past from beginning at the kitchen table, to having a huge three-room purpose-built studio. The three room studio consisted of; my own painting and drawing area, a student tuition room and a gallery where someone else worked for me selling my art. My needs have since changed; all I need now is a room for me to create art becaue I teach art over the internet in virtual classrooms, my art is represented by a local art gallery and I have two busy little girls to take care of apart from two days a week when they go to day care. So my favourite studio is the one that suits me at the time.

Right now I have a studio inside my open-plan living area that was purpose-built so that the little kids can be kept an eye on from my work station. My two little girls are kept out by a large playpen and within the playpen I have three main work stations; a drawing table, a painting area including book shelves for all my art books and research materials, a third station is for my computer. When it is a beautiful sunny day I drag my canvas outside and paint in another play-penned area. my paints are set up in both areas. Works well for me now but as the girls grow up I am sure I will be moving back into my own private haven.

From: Vonnie — Aug 12, 2009

Sounds like Marion is also suffering from a bit of the lonesome blues, how about some volunteer teaching at a local school or she could try running Plein Air courses — which are few and far between in the UK localised mags like ‘Artists and Illustrators’ ‘The Artist’ etc could be useful to keep in touch with what’s going on in the UK. I’d be happy to be an ’email’ friend.

From: Elaine — Aug 12, 2009

We have moved from the Pacific Northwest to sunny Arizona. The climate change and landscapes make for a change in subject matter and color choices-and friends!

From: Dawn Cosmos — Aug 13, 2009

Just moved. Phew! I know where my brushes are. I have north light! I know where my paints are. I bought a new easel I wanted forever. I can paint in the fresh air, plein aire, 2 stories up in the trees under shelter. No it’s not a tree house! Its the balcony of a condo here in the desert. I am excited and can’t wait to paint. North light again; I feel so lucky!!!!

From: Bunny Warner — Aug 14, 2009

I have recently moved from the country to a small town and from a 2 storey home to a one floor.

I found that I’ve situated my drawing table beside a south window. I also have the door open in that room and can look straight through the living room and out the kitchen window from that one particular spot. Its great to see the sunsets from there and be able to refocus my eyes by looking a distance away.

You just got to try out different spots until you know the one that works for you.

From: Kelly Andersen — Aug 14, 2009

I find it very interesting and can relate to most of the artists that are featured. In the 70’s I lived in Santa Barbara, CA, painted and sold my paintings on the beach every Sunday, my studio at that time was a converted hay loft, many hours were spent there and it was a experience I would never have changed. I was one of many artists, some blew me away with their talent and I’m sure there were many more from that area that I never even knew about. So even though I don’t paint anymore I still feel a kinship with artists. My studio space is really an office filled with computers, reference books and clients products waiting to be packaged in one of my designs. And of course a lava light, it is still my sanctuary, where, even if I’m not busy I can easily spend my whole day just keeping the creative juices following.

From: Janice — Aug 14, 2009

I don’t have all the woes of the questioning artist but I can certainly feel the status of wondering what to do to get sales, though the answers are always the same, I feel that my sales future is bleak, and though I enjoy the work I don’t know if there are sales in my future.

From: Redenta Soprano — Aug 14, 2009

Thank you for your ongoing letters. This one, like all of your others, underscores the fact that it is “all about the creativity”. Recently my husband retired and now I am sharing my “sacred space”, my “hermitage” with him and the four cats. It a tougher adjustment than I thought it would be.

Days that I am not feeling unproductive, I want to blame the space and blame him for being around. Days when I am completely engrossed in my project, nothing phases me. My kingdom is my work table. Even if I have to put in earplugs once in awhile, it matters not. Those days I am happy he is around and that I can ask his excellent opinion for instant feedback.

When I am feeling discouraged, I often consider the painter (I think it was Morris Louis who poured acrylic washes onto unprimed canvas in the 60’s) who was so determined to make art that he used his dining room table in his small apartment to create it (and it still hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York!)

What a gift we artist’s have to mine the joy in the process of creativity!

From: jacqueline — Oct 15, 2009

Joan Miro said it takes ten years to set up a studio. I’ve set up a few and have found Miro’s statement to be peculiarly accurate. Of course I worked in m76y new spaces – immediately, but not much of real worth was produced for several years.

After fifteen years in my latest acquisition I have found that the work has just about gotten up to speed.

Perhaps I’m just slow, but I think its a process and the impetus a new studio gives us,whilst being wonderful and bringing fresh insights, has to be courted and relaxed into.

The physical change has to be incorporated into a familiar but slightly different gestalt. I sympathise with the artist who struggles in a new studio, but I just want to say, persevere and new visions will arise.

Bonne chance, mes amis – jacqueline



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