September the 1st 2019 was a great day for me, although I’ve always been very comfortable working from home (as well as in the great outdoors) the opportunity to get some studio space was too good to turn down and my wife Jo gave total encouragement so it really was a no brainer. The task felt quite daunting and I was very much in my comfort zone at home, whenever I wanted I could just go and do something. That’s a cord that ended up feeling very hard to chop. I did though and decided to keep some art equipment at home, some oil painting and sketching equipment will remain and until I’m sorted with a nice big working surface in the studio I won’t be lino printing there, sad really, I was looking forward to that.
The key to me getting going was to invest in a few tools to allow me to build things, that’s not all done yet, but using the instructions given by Mark Carder of Draw Mix Paint, a bit of a hero of mine, I’d built a great easel in two hours, here’s a link to that by the way: Mark Carders brilliant and easy to make easel I have plans to make a few of the things he recommends such as the lightbox for still life work and his brush stand. I owe Mark a lot in terms of the ideas he has given me through his YouTube channel, the main one I’m focussing on is the studio, he advises us to make it black! So, I have (nearly, just need to do the ceilings next week) and I think it makes such a difference in controlling unwanted reflections everywhere and distorting colour and values on the canvas. It also gets a mixed review in terms of comments. I must confess to asking myself “what the hell have I done” when I first started rolling this paint on (actually it isn’t black, I couldn’t get black, it’s called ‘sophisticated blue’ in the paint brochure) but right now I am loving it and the studio has become an obsession.
So, with walls in both my rooms painted in Sophisticated Blue I started organising some basic storage shelves. If this was my permanent home I’d build less flimsy ones, they wobble a bit and I’ve fitted some strengthening braces, there are slots in the shelves where stuff can fall through but over time I’ll fix that, I might make some pull-out boxes for materials or just buy some big plastic storage boxes (although I am getting into the ethics of unnecessary use of plastic and wood looks better).
Over the following days I ferried my stuff from home to Space 2.0 (the studio name) and got it feeling like home, I have a big fridge and tea-making stuff which is a brilliant perk, I keep my paint usable by keeping it in the fridge! I have a lovely bluetooth speaker that I bring from home, it’s a pain when I forget it but I have some standby headphones.
Tanzie has joined me a few times, she finds it very exciting and loves the other artists especially Cendi who she has known for quite a while and was great buddies with her lovely fluffy dog, Spike who unfortunately passed a few months ago. The other day I rode my bike to The Space with Tanzie running on the lead, I was very proud of her and she was great but I was relieved to get there, there is a bit of crazy traffic and being in the road with a slightly unpredictable brand of motorist made me doubt what I was doing, I have an idea of towing her in a bike seat, I don’t have a car at my permanent disposal so I need a plan.
Although the studio set up is not complete and I have a list of jobs as long as my arm to be getting on with, the whole idea is to make paintings there. I wondered how well my preparation would work out, do I have all the things in place to carry out a painting. Two things were done last week. I mounted a canvas on the Mark Carder easel and but some indigo and burnt umber on it to take the brightness down and on Friday I wanted to paint on it. While that is still the plan I wanted to paint an image one step beyond the photo I’d be using. With that in mind I used my modified photographers tripod and an ultralight 9 x 12 inch board to make a study. I made it hard for myself by working from an iPhone where the screen went dark every two minutes but in the end got an image on there….Tanzie dozed on her blanket, I had music, tea and peace. The moment was as close to perfect as I could want.
Tomorrow is the start of another week and some serious work at Space 2.0, yep – ceilings painted, bare wood painted, shelving for paper put up and…painted! I’d love to get a table and comfy armchair and of course paint, paint and paint…with Tanzie curled up and happy. I will update this blog as it happens, until then have a lovely time everyone.