Tip Two Setting up Your Art Space

Tips to Getting Started – Tip Two Setting up Your Art Space

I know from personal experience once you are clear about your why and what you want to achieve, the next step is to set up your art space. 

I am a self-taught artist and I remember many years ago, when I was learning about fabric painting, I would have large pieces of fabric on my lounge floor and bedroom floor, firstly so I could painting on them and then I had to leaving them out to dry.  It used to drive my husband (and my knees) mad!

I then went through a phase where I would work on ideas but always have to put them away at the end of the day, so they didn’t interfere with our home space.  Equally frustrating!  But this time the frustration was more for me and less for my husband 😊 definitely, not an ideal way to turn a side-line into an income! 

I soon came to realise that this really wasn’t working!  Something I also started to realise was that in trying to fit my art around my home, energetically I really wasn’t sending out the right message.

If I wanted people to take my art seriously and even spend money purchasing it, then I needed to take my art seriously by spending the time and money into creating an art space for myself.  Doing this sent out a strong message of intention not only to me but also to the people around me.  It’s a really important step in the process of starting an art business from home.

This is why I always recommend, where possible, the importance of creating a space that is dedicated to you being able to do your art without interference. This space needs to be a place where you can either shut the door at the end of the day or be able to walk away feeling confident you can leave your art to dry without it being disturbed.  Or so you can return to your work the next day and not have to spend a lot of time setting up your space before you even get started.

I know, sometimes one of the biggest obstacles to getting started is having a space to work in.  For this reason, some compromise and try and work around spaces they have in their home but the downside of this is eventually you get tired of always having to set your space up before you work. 

Whether we realise it or not this can become a subliminal barrier to us taking the time to sit down and starting our art, simply because if it’s a hassle to set everything up each time. The downside of this is that overtime we might find ways to fill our space with other things.   Which means eventually we do less and less until we give up. 

This is why from the outset I always encourage people to get creative with the space they do have.  Think about the space they do have and how this can be used.  It’s amazing, with a bit of thought and planning how you can rearrange things to create an amazing amount of space.  Trust me I know! 

For example, when I decided to step back into the world of art, we had moved to a really small home.  The five of us already find it a challenge to fit into our existing space, how on earth was I going to create an art studio?  As it was, my office was already in the garage and the rest of the garage was taken up storing both my husband’s tools as well as valuable items we didn’t want to let go of in case we moved to a bigger home in the future.

When I first told my husband I wanted to start up my art again he honestly looked at me like I was crazy….followed by ‘with what space’, I think he was having flashbacks to when I first started 😊 

However, because I was clear about what I wanted to create and fortunately drawing on lots of previous experience, it wasn’t long before I had repurposed most of our garage space to accommodate my new art business.  I achieved this without losing the office space or moving my husbands tools out the garage (even though it was very tempting to try 😊)

One thing I am pretty good at is figuring out how to create space, so if this is something you would like some help with, why not jump on and take advantage of my 1 to 1 coaching.  Together we can brainstorm how we can repurpose your space so you can start creating without the headache of worrying that it’s going to negatively impact your home space!

So how did I go about this creating my art space? 

One thing I have learnt from previous experience is that when it comes to art you need as many surfaces as you can get.  By this I mean, I don’t necessarily mean large spaces, but you will need both working surfaces, a place to store things and a place to dry things.  With regards to storing, shelving is by far the best solution as not only can you go up a couple of levels.  If you plan your shelving properly you can actually store a lot without impacting a lot of your working/drying space.

With regards to your workspace the size of this will be dictated by the size of the canvas’s you plan to work on. 

I know this may seem obvious but the smaller your work, the less space you will need.  With my mixed media I personally love working on big pieces and I think my work looks better on large canvases.  However, currently working on big pieces isn’t as easy as it is to work on smaller pieces which is why I have switched my focus to fluid painting.  Not only do I love this medium but it’s a great medium to use when creating smaller pieces of work that don’t require such big spaces or the need to create such large pieces of work.

When preparing your workspace, it’s a good idea to give some consideration to the size of works you plan to create.  If you aren’t sure where to start, something I did was research what other artists are using, what sizes they are working on.  Doing this can start the process towards helping you make some decisions about the size of space you will need and how you plan to set up this space.

It’s also a good idea to research prices of canvases/board etc.  When setting up its so important to focus on no cost to low cost as much as possible (more of this in tip three 😊).

Find in-expensive canvases/ideas to work on and adjust your working space around these options.  I personally prefer working on canvases and not board because canvases are already prepared so you can just start painting.  When finished, they are considered complete piece of art, which means you don’t need to add extra cost to framing or completing your work. 

A good idea is to then plan your workspace around creating art pieces that will look good on these sizes.  If possible, depending on the space you have at your disposal, even consider preparing a bit more space than you currently need so you have the ability to move up into bigger pieces of work when the time arises.

The reason why I suggest this is more to save you time later on as your work develops.  Instead of having to rearrange things to accommodate your growth, forward planning a bit will give you the space and opportunity to grow with your work.  That said, this isn’t essential it’s just a nice add on if possible.      

The second consideration you need to give is to working surface.  It’s good to have a surface where you can work from that is next to your paintings so you can pick up and put things down without impacting your painting.  Having learnt from experience, not giving yourself enough working space means that you have the potential to mess up your painting – I cannot tell you how many times I have cut corners around this and then oops! Sometimes I have totally ruined a really good painting! 

Ensuring you have a working space next to your work helps to keep your work clean and minimises the possibility of making unnecessary mistakes because you don’t have the space to put down a tin of paint when reaching for another one or reaching for a paint brush and accidently knock your artwork.  This is a really important thing to think about, I have ruined many good pieces of work because I haven’t created enough space to put paints down next to my work or I have to fiddle around grabbing a paint brush!

The next thing to consider is drying space.  This doesn’t need to be vast but take it from me, some art takes sooooo long to dry! Particularly paint pouring.  It’s really important to have some way of drying your work away from your painting space because if you rely on leaving your work to dry once you have created it, you could be waiting days before you get to work again!   

It’s also good to consideration where to dry your work.  I say this because sometimes when you put your work out in the sun to dry, it can cause paint to crack if it dries too quickly.  With some of my work, I deliberately want the paint to crack so letting it dry in the sun is fine but for other pieces of work, not so much.  Currently I have set up shelves.  Once I have created some work, I move my work to these shelves and then cover the work it to ensure that dust flecks, hair and all sorts of other surprising things you wouldn’t have thought of can’t land on your composition and ruin it 😊  

Finally storing paints etc.  There are so many different shelving options you can choose from here!  Again, my suggestion and something that I did was look for low cost or no cost options.  I love scouring recycle tips and op-shops for bargains!

All the tables and shelving I have in my workspace have cost me nothing but time in sourcing them (which to me is more like fun as I love finding a bargain!)  My philosophy is the more money I could save setting up my art space, the more money I have to spend on art supplies 😊

To make this easier, I have included pictures of my workspace for you to see to help you get an idea of what I have done to give you ideas so you can start to work out what will work best for you.

Earlier, I also mention that I provide 1 on 1 coaching services to help fellow artists wanting to brainstorm how to get started or how to develop their art skill.  If this is something you would like to consider accessing then please book in some time with me.  Having learnt from personal experience accessing mentors has enabled me to move so much faster with my work which has been awesome and definitely worth the money I have spent 😊

In the meantime, stay tuned for Tip 3 which will be coming soon 😊

Time to paint up a storm 😊 All the very best