My Art Studio

Art Studio

Where is your art studio located?
Royal Oak, MI. It is a suburban-basement space (which I share with the furnace) in my home. That’s okay, because it is MY space. No one else in the family uses it and they all know it is “mom’s art room.”

While I would like to have a fancy studio that boasts more space with the perfect lighting and the option of leaving my easels set up permanently, I know it would not offer the same kind of convenience. I like that I don’t have to drive to an off-site studio and pay for a rental space. I am still available to my family and when I’m done working late at night I just head to bed. I should also mention the super-convenient option of being able to multi-task by throwing in a quick load of laundry.

Does your studio always look like this?

Truth be told, I cleaned up to take these photos. I simply could not post my mess for the world to see. I am sure I will post my studio mess at some point, but that will be a blog post for another day. Creative thinkers are usually messy and I struggle with being an “equal brained” kind of personality. My creative side is messy, but my analytical side strives for order and cleanliness.

My studio supplies are always organized, but I will admit, sometimes they don’t always make it back in the bins or on the shelves. Recently, it got so bad that my family was afraid to enter the space for fear they might not make it out. At one point, my husband started a running joke that there might even be an alligator in there. That’s when I knew it was time to do some major cleaning!

I acknowledge there are times we cannot do it all. And when this happens (and my art studio becomes a dumping ground), I simply divert my eyes in shame and refer to my studio as my “Monica Room.” Monica's messy closet from FriendsFor anyone that remembers, there was an episode on the TV show Friends called “The One with the Secret Closet.” It was a situation where Chandler discovered a disorganized, chaotic mess behind a closet door and Monica revealed she had a secret ‘problem’.

I think we all like to put our best foot forward, but in reality, we all have clutter located somewhere – and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

Where do you like to work?
My studio has wrap-around counters which provide plenty of workspace and overhead track lights with “natural light” bulbs as well as two Ott-lights for task lighting. But, I honestly prefer natural light and the comfort of the upstairs. So I often work in my beautiful kitchen that is surrounded by windows where I can see out into my yard and gardens.

Do you have pets or smoke?
My home and studio are pet and smoke free. As an allergy sufferer, I clean regularly using natural products. In addition, even though my studio is located in the basement, it is humidity-controlled using a dehumidifier and a heater, as needed in the winter. I check the humidity regularly with a hygrometer. Maintaining stable humidity is very important to me because as a printmaker, I have many works on paper that would be ruined otherwise.

How do you store your art supplies?
Items are grouped, labeled and stored in plastic bins. This system is ideal for me for a couple of reasons:

  1. Since I am in a basement environment I need items protected from moisture and water. We have never experienced major flooding (other than a hot water tank bursting once), however I prefer not to tempt fate. I would much rather be proactive. Not only do plastic bins stack well, but they aid in moisture control.
  2. As a muralist, I travel and paint on location. I need to be able to transport my paints, brushes, tape, drop clothes, and other materials quickly and efficiently – and without damaging my vehicle. Bins work really well for this. Speaking of transporting and storing materials, plastic 5-gallon paint cans are also nice to have. They are heavy-duty, only cost $5, and have a handle.

Most of the storage bins are kept on inexpensive grid shelving from Home Depot, which is attached to the wall. I keep the wall of bins hidden behind a curtain to make the room look nicer.

Several years ago, I invested in Ikea cabinetry. I love these storage units. They are sturdy, cost-effective and versatile. There are 2 floor cabinets with doors to store small items and 6 wall-mounted cabinets which house my art reference books and magazines.

How do you store your artwork?
Framed work is stored, using adjustable protective cardboard corners, on the top shelf of the grid shelving unit. They are off the floor and away from potential water problems.

Unframed prints are stored flat, between Glassine interleaving papers, in print drawers.

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?
Just like my artwork, the type of music I listen to is also eclectic. What I listen to really depends on what I am doing and my mood. When I am sitting down to a new project, I usually like to listen to the Blues – John Lee Hooker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King, etc. Otherwise, I tend to listen to whatever is on the radio. Adult Contemporary has lots of fast beats to keep me moving and motivated. However, when life gets too busy I know I just need to take the edge off and slow down, I will listen to classical music. I will also listen to classical music if I am working in a sketch book.

What do you like to do when you are not in the studio?
Gardening, gourmet cooking, attending my kids sporting events (they play multiple sports, which keeps our family busy year-round).