Artist's are often asked if they have a studio.
I'm not sure if I do, really !
I tend to have spaces around the house
which I use for this and that.
I dream of having a custom-built studio in the garden, but the cost has always been prohibitive.
Living in Cornwall, it would have to be able to stand the stormy wet Winter months, be totally insulated and the air, within it bone-dry.
I did build a log cabin years ago, but it was too hot in the Summer and impossible to keep dry in Winter. It's been a glorified garden shed, ever
I devour books on artist's studios and look longingly at the cavernous spaces some of them seem lucky enough to have.
At the end of the day, however, I think I'm lucky to have what I have. I just have to be a bit organised ! In fact, very organised !
Everything tends to revolve around my desk. Virtually every painting, canvas, sketch, illustrations for book jackets
have been done on this desk. If the paintings too big, then I use trestles, but generally I can balance quite big canvases on it.
I like to paint flat and not on an easel. I've always painted this way. I find there's more control of the brush this way.
I'm totally anal and a control freak when it comes to my painting environment. I know, it's sad, but there you go !
I use desk lights, never daylight. A lot of the work I did for book jackets was photographed and reproduced under electric lights, so, using daylight would , I think have altered the colours during the process. It also means I can work day and night.
With the deadlines I used to have, this was essential.
It's safe to say, I spend many hours sitting at my desk.
My painting space seems to get less cluttered each year. I have a blitz every now and then to clear the bits and bobs I've accumulated. Maybe, it's an age thing ! We pair life down to the essentials as we get older. Who knows !
Generally, there are quite a few pictures at various stages lying around. The nature of oil paint is such, that you are always waiting for various layers to dry, so I tend to work on different pieces while I'm waiting. The picture above shows various paintings from the Colour Series at different stages of development. Click here to go to COLOUR SERIES page
I use other spaces to store or frame paintings, read art books and keep objects used as source material for paintings.
It's surprising how many objects find their way into my paintings. From these few photographs, see how many you can spot in the paintings. I'm in to painting jugs of flowers from my garden, as part of the Colour Series at the moment (see picture above ). There's something about jugs. I'm always on the lookout for them in junk shops and bric-a-brac stores.
There are two faithful constants in my studio, that I can't do without. One is my trusty palette ! It's a very old tupperware, shallow box which you can scrape the old paint out without denting it and put the lid on to prevent dust or the paint drying out too quickly.
I've used this palette for every canvas I've painted. It's brilliant. I don't understand why art material suppliers haven't cottoned on to a palette with a lid for oils !
The other constant is my cat, May. She keeps me company for hours and hours. She's getting on a bit in years now, I think she's about 15. Unfortunately she has a habit of wanting to sit on my knee while I'm painting, which makes it a bit difficult to paint, and makes your knees ache after a while, or she insists on sitting behind me and pushing me off the chair...either way, it can be a bit awkward ! I don't know who's more patient, me with her, or her with me ! She certainly feels, she's the boss !
Anyway, that's a glimpse of my working environment. One day, who knows, I might get that studio in the garden, for now, dream on !