Creative Space

Working on our arts feature this month got me thinking about the spaces in which artisans choose to create their pieces writes Cathy Black. (Article first published in the...

Working on our arts feature this month got me thinking about the spaces in which artisans choose to create their pieces writes Cathy Black. (Article first published in the May 2018 issue of Four Shires magazine)

I do like to think I have a creative streak, albeit a small one! Just recently I created a three and a half foot representation of the Beast from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for my daughter’s fourth Birthday party. This was somewhat awkwardly drawn and coloured onto large laser printer paper that was stuck onto the back of a large mirror and propped precariously against a small living room table! 10 hours (throughout a number of evenings) proved rather uncomfortable! The end result however was acceptable – at least to a group of Four year old princesses that is!

Thinking back to times before children and when I had a little more time to indulge my creative side, I would have had all the kit; a drawing board, gum strip to hold the paper in place, sets squares and a fabulous set of watercolours to boot. But needs must and I did the best I could with the time (4 evenings) and materials (an old reel of laser printer paper and colouring pencils) I had available at the time.

So what makes a great home studio or creative space? Well I suppose these are very personal spaces and therefore, I suspect no two artists work spaces would be the same. However there are a few key things which may help enormously when creating the ideal ‘arty hub’.

Things to consider when you make an art studio: Once you’ve decided to make an art studio, it’s worth taking some time to consider where it should be located and how it should look. Perhaps there’s a spare room in your house or a corner of the garage or basement where you could work?Alternatively, take a look in the loft space…could all that clutter be cleared out to make way for your creativity?

Some of the main things to look for are:

  • Is there enough space for the art you want to make? If you like to paint on canvas, it’s worth considering whether there’s enough room for an easel or a suitable wall to hang your work on.
  • Will you have enough space to step away from your canvas and consider your next brushstroke? Is the floor strong enough to take the weight of your equipment? If you like to work digitally, are there enough sockets for your computer and do you need to get a network cable installed? If you have wireless internet, is there a good enough signal?
  • What’s the light like? Natural light can be a huge asset when making art, so having a large window is a major advantage. However, don’t worry if your only light source is electricity – a natural daylight bulb or lamp can be a great compromise.
  • Is there space for an ideas wall? Having an area where you can pin ideas up is great for inspiration.

Making an art studio and keeping it personal: Once you’ve found a suitable space for an art studio, you can really go to town. Fill it with the things which inspire you most and remember it’s all about you and no one else.We all have favourite things which give us inspiration – it could be a mascot, a piece of writing or a particular piece of art that never fails to get us thinking creatively.

Get some help with home art studio ideas: If, after looking at home art studio ideas, it looks like you’re going to need some help to make an art studio, don’t be afraid to ask! It’s a known fact of life that men of a certain age develop a liking for power tools, so your dad, grandad or husband will probably be only too happy to put his new cordless drill or electric saw to good use in helping you. Failing that, ask yourself what you really actually need to make an art studio. You might not need a huge fancy desk with a drawing board – it might be just as effective to keep it simple with a table, chair and your PC or canvas and easel.

Look at the studios of other artists: Every artist has their own way of working, so when you make your art studio, it’s worth taking a look at how other artists have designed theirs.

Some artists insist on keeping everything clean and minimal, while others prefer things a little (or a lot) messy. For example, the studio of famous painter, Francis Bacon, was notoriously cluttered with paints, magazines and all manner of randomness, which just left enough space to stand in the middle and paint! Alternatively, the studio space of David Hockney is a masterclass in minimalism – a clean, uncluttered and chic place in which to create.

Whether you have a whole room or just a little nook to dedicate to your creative side, it is important to embrace and nurture it because as the old adage goes, ‘if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.’ Now where’s my colouring pencils!