Does your style of art have to reflect your way of working?
When you look at some artist’s work, you can’t help imagining what their studio might look like. Would it resemble a shanty town after being hit by a hurricane, or would it look more like an old fashioned hardware shop neatly arranged with uniform draws containing all manner of well kept equipment & materials?
I know of some artists who’s work is wild & free, but their studio is well arranged & methodical. At the other end of the scale I know of some who’s work is measured & concise but the state of their studio is hardly representative of that fact.
DOES IT MATTER?
The easy answer is no, not really, if you’re happy with the way you work & the results you achieve. Francis Bacon was well known for having an extremely messy studio & some say it contributed to his successful work. My studio used to be pretty disorganised & I almost enjoyed the fact that it resembled the way I painted. It felt like it was an integral part of my work but I realised it was becoming a hindrance rather than a benefit.
THE CHANGE I MADE & THE DIFFERENCE IT MADE
I sometimes got fed up with the fact that I couldn’t put my hand on what I needed & had to make do with some other implement or tube of paint. I came to the conclusion that my studio didn’t have to resemble one of my paintings so I put a plan into action, a plan still in progression but a plan nevertheless.
KNOW YOUR WEAPONS
I’ve come to realise the benefit of knowing where my things are. I use different tools for mark making & for me it’s important I know where to lay my hand on them quickly.
With my style & method of painting, the inspiration to make a certain mark can come along quickly & disappear just as quickly. It’s a fast moving process so it’s vital for me to have everything to hand at the moment I need it. If I have to spend time looking for a certain painting knife over the other side of the studio under a pile of canvasses, the moment of inspiration to make that exact mark can pass & may never return.
SO MUCH STUFF TO KEEP ORGANISED
When I decided to get on top of my studio organisation I didn’t know where to start so I tried to think of the logical progression of my work & based my studio on this.
I needed an area to keep my blank panels ready for priming. I worked out how to have my oils & acrylics separate but easy to access. I made an area for storing materials I use in my work but don’t use as much as my oils. These include pencils, charcoal, inks, pastels etc. I made a rack to keep different styles of oil brushes & one for my acrylic brushes. My painting knives all hang from nails around my working area. I feel now that my studio is almost like Rick Wakeman’s keyboards that surround him when he’s performing a masterpiece. Everything is to hand & quickly accessible.
Of course, nothing’s ever perfect & every so often I’ll adjust something to make an improvement. One day I might get it totally right!
As important to me as organising my work space was designing a schedule for my week. This has been invaluable & I will discuss this in a future blog.
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