View Full Version : Where do you work?

07-08-2003, 07:12 PM
On perusing posts in the forum, I've seen scattered mention of where some of you work and how you're set up, but I'd love to hear more about the environments you choose to work in and the methods you use to take best advantage of them.

Do you have studios? Are they located in a basement, attic, separate building, spare room? A corner of a room? The kitchen table (raising hand <G>)? And once there, what's your setup ... type of easel or drawing board, lighting, etc? Have a window with a view to inspire you?

When you take your work on location, what sort of equipment do you haul with you?

Just curious on the various personalities and their choices for workspace.

--Gayze :)

07-08-2003, 07:44 PM
I found this thread that will show some of studios for pastellists in this forum...


Last year I began painting on location all the time...almost every day out in the open air! Was very habit forming...and this winter when the weather kept me in, I really got cabin fever...feeling all cooped up in a studio again! So "all outdoors" is my favorite place to paint. (for a lot of info about painting plein air, you should drop into the plein air forum).

I also have a studio in my home...I call it my "attic studio" just because its upstairs but not really in the attic! It's so stuffed with shelves, tables, my computer desk, and office supplies that I really never paint up there anymore! LOL But I also have a drafting table in my downstairs sunroom where I paint when indoors. It's covered with watercolors supplies right now since I've been working on some new wc florals. There's an easel set up behind the table, too...where I can paint in pastels!

My husband says I keep spreading out all over the house! I tell him that art is an ongoing lifestyle...not a hobby! I can't just lock it away in a closet when its all I do...lol!

OK...enough about me!

Kathryn Wilson
07-08-2003, 07:46 PM
I have a separate building with windows along one side of the wall facing our pond. Two skylights let in almost too much light, so we recently covered them over with transparant paper. I have a workbench underneath the windows with an easel set into it in the middle, with a contraption that raises and lowers the surface depending on whether I am pateling it or other mediums that need to have a flatter angle.

Only problem, it is not heated or cooled automatically - I have a window a/c unit but it just can't keep up in this heat! Heat index today of 106 degrees.

07-08-2003, 08:05 PM
I've been doing a search, but can't find the thread... I know it's there somewhere.:)

Some time ago there was such a delightful thread on this where everyone posted pics of their workspace..... as I can't find it... okay go ahead and lets see how you work... get those pics up !

Hmmmm I think this would be a good project... old grey cells are working overtime now.

Anyhow.. I use the spare bedroom...which is small, about 11' x 11'...so don't come visiting...no room... this contains, 4 bookcases stacked , my computer and all that goes with that... printer, scanner, all my art materials, desk. shelves, radio/cd player... no tv :D.... too distracting...... also a large birdcage containing my pet cockatiel Macky... my dog comes in to keep me company and sits at my feet.. I'll take a pic tomorrow.

Vegas Art Guy
07-08-2003, 08:10 PM
I do both plein aire and studio work. Our spare bedroom is my (cramped) studio. I have 1 big easel, one portable easel, one tabletop easel along with all my drawing tablets, paper, pastels, oil pastels, pencils, paints, ect ect ect. Most of my pastel work is done indoors. I've been experimenting with doing conte crayon drawings on black paper and I have a figure painting in progress in the acrylic forum, and now I have 3 mural projects for the children's church... If you look up the work busy in the dictionary, you'll see me! Oh and Kyle it's 107 right now, so I know how you feel, supposed to be 111 tomorrow... Do they make SPF 100?

Craig Houghton
07-08-2003, 10:50 PM
Here's a pic of my studio I recently put together in a corner of my room. I pretend my french easel is a table easel when I'm working on a pastel, otherwise it hangs on the wall.


I keep each media or series of pastels on a different tray, and then I slide the trays into the space on the lower left of the desk. I place the trays I'm using to the right and left of me and I sit in the middle.

also, here's an outdoor set-up using the same easel


I also have little travel kits and a pastel kit for out of the house stuff. I've only done plein aire now and then, but it's always been rewarding.

Here's my portable kit in use on my stunningly beautiful girlfriend's studio table:


Anyhow, I usually work at my studio table or at my gf's.


07-08-2003, 11:45 PM

Well, I live in a 5th wheel and this is my studio in the slideout...so don't want to hear how small everyone's studio is lol! I couldn't get far enough away to show the table itself. The big window is a north facing window, so it's perfect for light. I keep the others closed. It looks out on my garden...we're parked on a lot. The area is about 5x7. In this space I keep all my supports, two big boxes of OPs and about 4 small ones. 2 big boxes of soft pastels and maybe 6 smaller ones, colored pencils, pastel pencils and about 40 jars of airbrush paint and maybe 20 jars of acrylic paint and my airbrushes. Oh yeah, got about 8 tubes of oil paint too. I also keep a large and small leather portfolio, tubes of clear plastic, fiskar roll and tracing paper (used that for airbrushing patterns)...have a tray down one side of the studio for misc stuff like rulers, compass, razors, etc and keep a couple photo easels, a mahl stick and a feather duster in a ceramic pot underneath it. and I have a library of books and magazines. Obviously I have to keep it all very organized! Actually it works very well...everything is in reach and I just swivel to get what I want. I also have a full size easel under my bed for when I need it. Mostly I use the photo display easels though. My living room chair looks at the drafting table so unless I turn the painting I never get to sit long...I just have to fix this ONE thing....lol! I remember seeing your studio before, Craig, when I first came to the pastel forum...didn't you build it?

Craig Houghton
07-09-2003, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by Dyin
Craig, when I first came to the pastel forum...didn't you build it?

Yep, designed and built. By, "put together" I mean made-real. Btw Dyin, great use of space! I can relate. The room my studio area is in is only like 10x 15 and my bed and computer desk take up all the rest of the room. It's sorta funny really.


07-09-2003, 12:11 AM
then ditto on the great use of space to you too...it IS pretty funny, isn't it???:D Do you have to rescue stuff from people's elbows when someone comes to visit???

07-09-2003, 03:01 AM
After years of working in the basement, I couldn't stand being shut away from the daylight anymore, so now I work in my "dining room". (It's not really a separate room, just one end of the living room.)

I cover the table with an old cloth topped with a big sheet of masonite topped with a pane of glass from an old sliding window, which serves as my oil-painting palette.

I keep small stuff in the drawers and cabinets of the buffet and china cabinet (the linens can just take care of themselves!) and the larger stuff in a closet nearby. This includes a sewing machine, a spinning wheel, and a couple of unprocessed fleeces. Actually, almost everything is almost always on the table. I have to clear it all away when we invite people for dinner - that's the main disadvantage -- and another is that there's no door to close, either for privacy or to hide the mess.

I have two identical Stanrite aluminum easels, one purchased at full price twenty years ago, the other for $5 at a garage sale recently. I've always been very satisfied with this easel's performance, and with two of them I can work with quite a large canvas if I want to. I keep various boards, portfolios and things against the wall behind the bookcase and other furniture.

A small upstairs room has finally become available to take over as a studio. The main thing stopping me is it needs a massive cleanup. For years it served as an office for my husband, my daughter, and me, and it's been stuffed to bursting by three packrats. I'm talking Popular Mechanics from the 1950's, and they have to stay, they can't be discarded. I look at it once in a while but it's too disheartening. Anyway, when I work in pastels I like to be near the back door, so I can schlepp the picture outside to be sprayed.

For outdoor work I presently use a cloth tote bag and a binder. In the bag I put a cigar box and in the cigar box several rectangular tobacco tins. (Yes, somebody close to me has some Very Bad Habits, but at least the containers are useful.) In the tins I keep pastels, hopefully separated by value. When the tins are covered and packed in the cigar box, there's room for a couple of folded paper towels and a package of handiwipes. This is the best arrangement I've yet tried for carrying pastels outside. I can spread everything around me and actually keep them in some kind of order.

For the binder, I cut several "pages" of foamcore, poking holes with a knitting needle so they will fit over the binder rings. I tape pieces of Canson Mi-Teintes to the foamcore pages, with leaves of kitchen parchment paper in between. It only took an hour to do the original setup and it has worked very well. Both the binder and the parchment pages can be wiped clean of pastel dust. When I've filled all the Canson sheets, I remove them and put new ones in. This gives me more than enough sheets for one sketching session. The tape damages the surface of the foamcore but it's still usable time and again.

When out sketching I either sit on the ground or try to find a bench or picnic table in a suitable spot. I hold one side of the binder up and it functions as an easel. Trouble is, you can't work this way standing up, and you miss a lot of good views that way, so I've ordered a Julian easel and hope it arrives before the snow flies. Also hope I won't find it too heavy and leave it at home most of the time.

If there's one thing I wish I had more of in my work space, it's light. My living room has a porch overhanging the windows and it's dim in there. I don't suppose I'll ever get my dream studio. I've been learning to bloom where I'm planted. Moving out of the basement made the biggest difference to my production. I just couldn't cope down there in the dark. Luckily, my DH is willing to put up with my bad habits since I put up with his, so I don't hear any complaints about the mess.

07-09-2003, 04:17 AM
Mo, you are right, I remember that thread, cannaot understand why it doesn't come up in a search. I tried "studio" and "workspace". Perhaps someone who contributed might be able to find it, it was amazing, a very long thread with masses of photos.


07-09-2003, 08:22 AM
search under Craig's posting........ sure it was he's thread showing us the units he made etc...... and it evolved from there

think this is the link


Kathryn Wilson
07-09-2003, 08:28 AM
There is also a thread in the Studio Tips Forum - it is a Sticky on the second page and it has tons of photos.

07-09-2003, 08:31 AM
art studio?, i wish...:(

i work on the dining room table. i keep my tools in my bedroom tucked out of the way, so everytime i want to work i drag the stuff down stairs. its fine like that though, i dont have enough time to do much work anyway. maybe i manage a small piece every couple of months

07-09-2003, 10:30 AM
I'm going to clean out the double garage on Friday so that I can turn it into a art/pottery studio. Have been so busy with Uni and working and my son starting kindergarten this year that I just seem have *no* time left over... And cleaning out all the junk that seems to accumulate in there just looks like such a monster task!! Any ideas on the best (temporary - because I'm only renting) lighting for a garage/studio with no windows?? It's winter here in Aus, so too cold most of the time to have the garage roll-a-door open..... brrrrrrr! I am also going to try and source some old lino for the floor... That way when I have to move (as is inevitable when you're renting) I can just roll it all up and no mess to be left behind for the landlord to be cross about.

Right now I just work at the dining table or next to the dining table where I have my easel set up. It's okay, but annoying having to shuffle all my art stuff around when it's meal times!! And the dust is messy!! Certain people who live here get a bit annoyed at how the 'art' mess grows and grows and grows! :D Oops! Soon I will get a new dining table so I will put the old one in the garage and it will be very useful in there!!

My pottery wheel and clay and tools, etc, are all in the garage but I really need to organise a *much* better setup so that it is enjoyable to work in there.

If I can manage to get the garage/studio organised this weekend I will be very happy :D I think it will help immensely to have a dedicated space where I can work. Very exciting :cat:

07-09-2003, 11:09 AM
Oh, *thank you*, everyone!

Both of the links posted are loaded in other windows as I type this, and I can't wait to dive into them. You've all given so many great ideas as you describe your set-ups, that I'm all eager to try and find out how to make my own space.

That's a hard thing to do, in a 28 x 40 foot double wide mobile home shared with a husband, two teenagers, three large dogs, three Siamese cats and a rabbit! LOL (I've uploaded a few photos of a couple of the animals to the image library, if you'd like to meet them.)

Currently what I do is haul my "stuff" to the kitchen to work, and spread things out on the kitchen table, using my big drawing board as an "easel" by sitting it in my lap and leaning it against the edge of the table. I can continue this way, the lighting is usually pretty good, but would love to be able to arrange better storage. Right now everything is scattered about in various drawers and boxes. I have one corner of the kitchen that I could, conceivable, confiscate, though, and am eyeing Craig's wonderful home-built set-up contemplatively. <G> A smallish storage area would definitely fit in there and it would mean I can eliminate three trips with full arms to the kitchen from various "hidey spots" around the house every time I want to work on something.

And Tracy, so far no one has complained about pastel dust I miss cleaning up. Tee hee, they're too busy complaining about pet hair!

Off to read those other related threads now. THANK YOU!