painting and photographic works

A Studio to Call your Own – Reminiscing

A year ago I was packing up the studio that I’d called “my space” for 16 months. It was hard. I came to the reluctant decision that I had to move out of lovely studio space.

It was May of 2014 when I noticed a sign on the outside of a historic (over a century old) building in downtown Edmonton, a comfortable half hour walk from my home.

Studios were located on the 3rd and 4th floors, in a variety of sizes. I was able to get a very generous space of over 400 square feet. That amount of space was very beneficial to me. Of course it meant that I didn’t have to clean up after every creative session, packing away wet materials and works in progress. It meant that I could set up separate work spaces for my two main painting medias: oil and acrylic.

First into the studio space – my oils

The space gave me room to get, and keep, organized. A set of shelves, behind my work table and next to an easel were dedicated to my acrylic paints and media.

Acrylics Shelf

A similar set-up of shelves, table and easel on the other side of the room was dedicated to oils:

Studio Divided

The space allowed me to work larger than I had been. Canvases of 3 by 4 feet (90 by 120 cm) became my standard and I assembled some even larger stretchers (but never did get around to putting canvas on them).

Big Stretchers

Even with the two work spaces,  I still had lots of floor space to use when I needed to paint on the floor, to build stretchers or for varnishing.

Paintings on the floor for varnishing

In the end it was time to retreat to a much smaller home studio, disassembling shelves and stretchers and hauling out many carloads of supplies and many mostly-completed paintings

Packed up and Ready to go

Packed up and Ready to go

And in the end that highly creative space reverts to just a space.

The Final View - Empty Studio

The Final View – Empty Studio (like in the beginning)

A year later I can see ever so clearer how important that space was. Although I do have some space at home that I am re-converting into a working studio, progress has been very slow. I didn’t paint at all for half a year. Finally I cleared out a little space and created 3 works. Now I am back into re-organizing mode that will hopefully give me room for a couple of easels and two distinct little work areas (one for acrylics and one for oils, with a third, a small table for pastel work).

The other important function of that studio space was storage. I had lots of space for materials – for stretcher bars and canvas rolls, for primed canvases and boards, for paintings in various states of progress, completed works awaiting varnish and framing and exhibition-ready pieces. Now I have all these things stored around my house in different rooms, paintings stacked up, eight deep, against walls and bookshelves. My ultimate goal is to make my studio space just a working space – the storage issue is a whole other problem that I will have to address. I suppose someday it will all come together …

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