Finding Your Space

If you do not have an official, proper, "real" painting studio, don't feel bad. Your studio can be in a corner of your dining room. Many people's are. Or it can be a section of the garage where you make your oil painting art; a spare bedroom (people still raising kids won't know what one of those look like); or part of the laundry room.

If you're lucky, like my Norwegian Artist Steve Henderson, it's a separate building, but these things evolve. The barn studio he's commandeered now used to house six of us while we took two years to build our house, and before that it was, well, a barn.

We all wish that we had a huge, sweeping panorama of endless space in which to paint and create. The Pataha by Steve Henderson, oil painting. Available as a limited edition print and a miniature study.
We all wish that we had a huge, sweeping panorama of endless space in which to paint and create. The Pataha by Steve Henderson, oil painting. Available as a limited edition print and a miniature study.

The important thing is to create a designated space, preferably somewhere you don't have to set up and take down each time, and for that reason, the dining room table itself is less than ideal for creating fine art oil paintings or other works. But if that's all you've got, then go with it. You can always eat on the coffee table.

The other important thing is to realize that just because you do not have a designated studio does not mean:

1) You're not a real painter or

2) This is not the time of your life to paint

Most of us live in a large enough space that part of it, somewhere, is not really being used. Find this place. Clean it out, take it over, barricade it with chairs if necessary.

My own office, where I run Steve Henderson Fine Art and my freelance writing career, is in the 10 x 10 piano room, much of which is filled with, you guessed it, the piano. My desk, a small filing cabinet, table for the printer, and a Mission style dresser hold my computer, the business records, and mailing supplies.

It's a small space, but in it we do big things. What kind of space do you work in? How have you made it work for you? Leave a comment and let us know.



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6 thoughts on “Finding Your Space

  1. It’s good to know that I am not the only one painting on a small area, a paint in my
    office/living room, the important thing is to never stop painting, ha if I didn’t have this space I would probably be painting on my front lawn.

  2. I am moving to New York City this summer and for the first time, our apartment is so small, that there isn’t even room for a small table to work at. I took the big step to get a studio space in Long Island City (it’s in Queens and just a subway ride away) with other artists in an “artist studio” building. I’m really looking forward to being in a space with other artists and “going” to work away for my home. No longer will I be able to use the laundry, making dinner, cleaning, or a short break to watch TV as an excuse to procrastinate from making my art. =) I’ll be interesting to see if this helps to focus me and make me treat my art more as a business. Wish me luck.

  3. I’ve been lucky in that my wife’s parents have graciously allowed me to take over a large corner of their garage to use as a studio. I’ve got a few hardware store style shelves and scrap carpet in that corner for my models to stand on. All I have to do when I’m ready to paint is pull my mother-in-law’s car outside and pull my easel to the center of the room and I’m ready to go.

  4. Ah ! the lack of studio space!… At present I have no designated area. I live and work from the Family apartment/Flat… While the rest of household are out or at work I drag to our main living room area ,easel, canvas and materials etc and paint for a few hours. On using up my ‘work time window’ I then have to dismantle all equipment, clean up the mess I no doubt have created while working… Have I made it work for me? Well yes, to some degree!… The frustration is I could be spending more time painting than building and dismantling a studio area each time the creative bug hits!

  5. My “Studio” is the extra 6 foot my husband added to the laundry room. He added a second window so I could have more North light and I have an old Bakers Rack that holds my brushes, paints etc (and a place to lay my palette). A rack for my art books and a rack for some of my paintings. An art table for drawing and my easel where I work.

  6. After many years of setting up and taking down in the breakfast nook, dining room or a corner of the living room, I now have a bedroom converted to my studio. It actually has north light, imagine that? Although tiny, I have an old wardrobe with shelves for supplies, a four foot work table, a kitchen cart on wheels and a small desk. So nice now to leave everything out and have designated area for pastels and a separate area for oils. Love it.