This morning as I sat down to a relaxing cup of tea I was blindsided by light coming from the corner of my eye. I had been contemplating a large list of tasks and preparing for the day when my attention was drawn to the newly renovated art studio which sits in a far corner of the house. The sunlight was streaming in, it has that affect on me - like a calling, because somehow when I walk into it I enter a whole new world. It has only just been completed as a purpose made creative centre - still pretty bare and lots of neutral shades to allow for the outside world to come in.
|The light coming from my studio|
For the past few years I have used anything from the dining room table to the lounge room as my dedicated art space. It just doesn't seem to work well when you are sharing your creative space with an area destined for another purpose. You're exposed to all the crazy sounds and movement of those around you and while I love my art, I also adore my family and want to put them first. I needed a place of quiet to allow me to process a train of thought and carry it through.
A few months ago I severely injured my knee, ended up on crutches, went through all the medical palava, ended up in hospital having surgery and was immobile for a length of time. If you are suffering a setback with your health it can leave you feeling deflated but I did use this time wisely and creatively. I convinced my husband to completely clear a spare room used for that all too consuming clutter storage - threw out a lot out, gave heaps away and then proceeded to strip it back to bare bones to rebuild as an art studio.
It was a great project and very motivating - choosing paint colours, pulling up carpet, etc - which I have to admit I could only direct from a chair so full kudos goes to my beloved for indulging me. Our house was built in the 1880's so the boards under the old carpet were wonderful and I decided to leave them bare, rough and less than perfect. This bodes well for using water and paint and giving a more rustic feel. The room was painted in whites and neutrals to allow for the sunlight to stream in and reflect natural hues.
|Before - hideous shade of green|
|After - beautiful and practical|
One of the things I have always done in my home is to restore furniture - anything that has great bones and serves a good purpose has been painted to suit the environment. I am not keen on dark furniture so pretty much everything in my home is painted the same alabaster shade of off white. It allows the decor accents and plants to be the centrepieces rather than heavy furniture setting the tone. Most of my furniture was also secondhand - especially the plan drawers, architects table, drafting chair, drawers etc - these days modern furniture rarely provides the utility space you need especially for a creative role. Gumtree is an excellent resource to search for those ever elusive plan drawers to store our precious paper!
The architects drawers above on the left cost $100 but were a dark laminate so I painted it off white - it's such a great piece of furniture and allows me to stand at the desk as well as providing great storage for larger papers.
|Before - dark and uninviting|
|After - light and bright|
I love to have lots of little drawers, I picked up this little unit above for next to nothing and painted it to suit. It's a great piece and houses all my pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, all the fiddly little bits that I always end up losing.
To create this space it came down to stripping the room, repainting the walls and painting secondhand future. It cost next to nothing except for a lot of time and effort planning and carrying out the work. I can't thank my husband enough for being supportive of this renovation, it was a much needed boost during my recovery.
Here is a portion of the room above - quite difficult to photograph for perspective. It also shows the tall drafting chair I also picked up secondhand - because it's not good to always stand or always sit and this gives me the flexibility to have both. I think if all the furniture items were left their original dark colour it would look very cluttered.
The light is really beautiful in here - I have positioned the easel so that it illuminates my drawing and painting area well enough to rarely have to use the additional light from my daylight lamp.
This is not a large room but it is very functional, light and inviting. I love being in here because let's face it, artists have an awful lot of 'stuff' and it's difficult to keep it all organised and looking presentable. I may be an artist but I am very organised and I love everything to have a place, so this makes me very happy! Everything is within arm's reach and there is plenty of storage. It did take time and planning and sourcing the right pieces but it certainly wasn't expensive.
I enjoyed sharing my latest project because while it wasn't an artwork on paper, I think everything we do which allows us to focus on what we love creating is a step in the right direction ...