When I bought that first “how to draw” book back in 2015, I never once thought about being an artist or having an art studio, yet here I am. Funny how life takes us to places we never expect to go.
Once I began oil painting late in 2016, I did occasionally think about having a studio of my own instead of having my brushes, canvases, and easel all crammed into a corner of the kitchen. Those thoughts weren’t too serious, of course. My husband and I had a comfortable home and no intention of ever moving. Again, funny how life takes us to places we never expect to go.
So, here I am today, working and playing in an art studio with lights, storage areas, easels, tables I can move from one place to another, and all the art supplies — well, almost — that my heart could ever hope to have. Definitely all I really need.
It occurred to me this morning that having my own art studio has changed me as an artist. At first, I’ll admit, it felt a bit awkward. In some respects, it was almost overwhelming. Finally, I plunged in, and now I’m loving all that I’m doing here in my studio. Sure, I’ve had frustrations along the way. That’s part of the process of creating art. But overall, having a dedicated art studio is the best thing that has ever happened to me as an artist.
Here are a few of the ways in which having an art studio has changed me.
I SPEND MORE TIME MAKING ART
Absolutely true! Before I had a studio, there were days when I was too busy to think about art. It was easy to put art on hold, to focus first on more mundane things like laundry and shopping and other errands.
Now, I begin each day by writing a bit in my journal, always closing with the words… time to head to the studio. I grab my “studio clothes” and head down the stairs, eager to spend time making art. I’ve created a solid routine for the most part. I blog, I play in my art journal, and most days I work on oil painting. On weekends, I don’t usually create art, but I spend time reading art magazines, studying art history, and looking at online exhibits. Sunday has become a time when I can come into the studio and play — doing crazy things, having fun, experimenting with new art supplies or new techniques.
I CAN WORK ON MULTIPLE PROJECTS NOW
When I was working from the corner of a kitchen, it was difficult to have more than one painting or project going on at the same time. I had limited room for art supplies, and it’s no fun putting them away and getting them out again each time you want to use them! So, I generally worked on only one oil painting at a time, occasionally doing a bit of graphite drawing at the kitchen table, but mostly staying focused on a single thing.
Now, I’ve devised “media stations” — an area for watercolor work, an area for my oil painting, an area where I can do acrylic pouring, an area where I can do pen and ink drawings, graphite drawings, or Zen doodles. I have my work space arranged so that I can easily find what I need, and whatever I need for any project can remain close at hand during the work process.
Currently I have three oil paintings in the works, I’ve just finished up an imaginative watercolor, I’m working on my November art journal, and keeping a sketchbook near for graphite drawings. It’s enough to keep me busy, enough to give me the variety my creative soul craves, but not so much that I’m overwhelmed by art and possibility.
I’M MORE EXPERIMENTAL IN ART NOW
Again, it’s all about having art supplies within easy reach. In the past, something as simple as grabbing a watercolor crayon would have required effort. I would have had to stop what I was doing, recall exactly what drawer or closet the watercolor crayons were in, go to that area, and spend time digging through things to locate what I needed.
Now, a lot of my art is more spontaneous. When I think, “Hmmm… maybe that distress crayon would be good here,” I can simply walk a few steps, pick up exactly what I need and carry on. And because I’m now able to spend more time making art and am, therefore, creating more drawings and paintings, I’m finding that I’m not so “precious” with my work. Okay, so something I try might not work out. No problem. I’ll just set it aside and make something else. That’s a nice feeling. Instead of each stroke of paint, each mark of crayon, each line of graphite being an act fraught with peril, it’s all fun now. Try it, see what happens, like it, keep it, don’t like it, shrug and do something else.
I HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF AS AN ARTIST NOW
For so long I questioned whether or not I was an artist. I did lots of things that artists do, and sure enough I had ribbons and awards for my art, but there were still all these doubts in my mind. Was I really an artist? Or had I just gotten lucky a few times? Did I really, truly, have any idea what I was doing?
Now that I have my studio, have more time to create art, and am more willing to try different things, I can confidently say that “Yes, I do know what I’m doing — some of the time, at least.” I don’t have all the answers, of course, and that’s why I play with methods and techniques. More and more, though, I do understand the medium I’m using and how to best work with it.
When I’m at my easel, I know what brush to choose for a particular painting, and I know why. I’m able now to paint with more intention, not merely hoping for a good outcome, but knowing the effect I want to create and understanding how it can be done. I might not always do it as well as I’d like, but the knowledge I’ve gained goes a long way toward increasing my confidence. With more practice, my skills will get better. Art is a life-long learning process, and every oil painting I do teaches me new things.
My studio is a mess — again. I try to straighten things up a bit every so often, but I have too many different things going on for it to stay nice and neat. It works for me now. I know what’s where, I know what I’ll be working on each day, and I know that whatever I do will be fun.
Yes, having my own art studio has definitely changed me. It’s made me a better artist, I think, and for that alone, I love it. I’m so glad my husband and I had the opportunity to buy this home and that he was more than willing to help me put together an art studio that I can call my own.