visualizing your dream art studio: how 5 minutes showed me what i really want

Reading and thinking A LOT about art studios and their design, feel, layout, use, and so on and so on can be a heady task.  I’ve been looking at romantic studios, grunge workspaces, people who are inexplicably in love with pink roses studios, french vintage flea-market lofts, and pretty much the whole range of what one can do with a studio space.  This causes two fallouts.  The first is that you begin to rethink and relook what you have now and how you have it arranged.

I had for example, this nifty little brush holder that I thought was the best thing since sliced bread until I read about incorporating more pottery, glass, crystal in your studio – statement pieces that could be reconverted and re-imagined and most importantly, rearranged – you know, moving from the make-do to the things you love to look at.  You know, baby steps.

So I took my little 96-space plastic square brush holder and put it away in exchange for this crystal vase filled with river stones.  I had to choose between filling the base with white sand or stones, and in the end went with stones so they could easily be cleaned, even though they made the vase heavier than I had hoped.  Now my brushes are much more accessible, even the more-so enjoyable, and the only problem I have is digging through the lot to find the smaller sizes (my square grooved container held each brush in precision alignment so you could easily see).  It’s a constant battle between the visual, the handy, and the workable with artists.  We each have to draw our own lines.

Now during this time of looking at studios, the second thing that will happen is you’ll start thinking yours is the smallest, most inconvenient, most ill-conceived one on the PLANET.  It may work and you may love it, but if you had space like THAT well then you’d really be something, wouldn’t you?  So I’ve also been reading some tips from people who’ve gone through the whole art studio-conversion process and one of the things they kept suggesting was to draw out, map out, diagram, or plan your own dream studio.  I had never done this.  I had to pick my son up today and had 10 minutes to wait when I pulled out my travel watercolor and art journaling case (see previous posts on creating your own travel case).  This ink and watercolor sketch of my own dream art studio was completed in 5 minutes flat in the art journal I always carry with me.  Come on in, I’ll show you around.

There’s really not much to see.  A huge, empty, second-story warehouse (so I can be up in the trees and look down to the street level) complete with wide-wood planking floors, brick walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows, at least one of which is overlooking some type of veranda (I need fresh air and I like plants).  In the center is a farmers table, at least 30 feet in length – the longer the better (remember my empty loft is huge).  Floor to ceilings ambient light with the sun shining through and the blue sky above with some architectural elements and crown-moulding to offset a fading brick wall.

And me alone with my ideas.  And the art for the communication of them.  I can see green, I can hear birds. There’s some type of flowering tree.  I am happy and comfortable, only getting up from the art table to walk around, take another look at inspiration and return to work under my vaulted ceilings.  Lots of papers and projects on the table.  Maybe a little music in the background.  And what you can’t see are shelves and shelves of books holding everything under the sun, completed works stacked up against the opposing wall, and some gorgeous lighting fixtures.  Art.  Books.  Music and not much else.  Jack’s apartment in “As Good As It Gets“.

Funny thing, in real life when I finished up my quick sketch is that my ideal dream art studio looks like something out of “Beauty and the Beast”, clean, regal, pricey, elitist.  When in fact, the dream studio in my mind is much grayer, more rustic, more authentic, more functional, more New York City Loft.  But it’s got to have the wood floor planking, the brick walls, and the windows, even if they don’t open or are partially covered by old sizing.  Big. Open.  Stable. Permanent.  Freeing.  Private.  Peaceful.  Calm.  No clock.  Mine.

Just for kicks, the following day I asked my husband to design his dream studio so I could see how we are similar and different.  His right hand wall has strung beads reflecting the light and include movement due to air or heat transmission.  A left-hand wall contains a built-in bookcase, and a facing wall holds a circular window and cross beam bars.  “LOVE” and “LIFE” are painted in Beatle-esque fashion and the entire room is surrounded with a row of clear story windows.  His floor is also hardwood.  By the way, he’s an architect.  Can you tell?

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