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Creating An Art Studio from Scratch

Down-and-dirty studio where good things happen

How does one create a studio out of basically nothing? One gets honest about what's necessary and what isn't when it comes to getting work done.

Because we recently fled from Florida for the summer, I found myself having to build a new work space from scratch. In our new home, I have created a small studio—not inadequate, not insignificant, just small in size. As we packed light for our drive north, I only brought a few things with me—some paint, some good oil paper, a can of cold wax, a few tools, and well, that's about it.

I shopped for all the rest, carefully choosing only what I needed for small but mighty work. No galleries or exhibits to prepare for here.

Shopping list:

  • Folding tables, a large and a small

  • Risers for the tables

  • Drop cloths to protect the brand new carpet

  • Containers for sorting paint

  • A glass palette, because I didn't want to skimp here

  • Storage carts for keeping odds and ends handy

  • An easel big enough for a potential large painting

  • The odds and ends—shop towels, rubber gloves, painter's tape, tissue paper, a roll of wax paper, trash bags, etc.

That's all it takes for the work I do, and most of these things are readily available where I'm living. A few things had to be ordered (risers, for example, to raise the tables to a workable height; and a glass palette, which was not at my local arts and crafts store), but I picked up everything else locally, and I was able to outfit the place at a reasonable cost.

Tip—when creating a studio space in your home, it isn't necessary to purchase all the high-end things marketed to artists. Look at craft stores for inexpensive containers for storing paint and metal carts on wheels. Look at big-box home stores for folding tables and drop cloths. Be creative in repurposing things, and don't overdo it. I knew I would not be working on multiple large pieces this summer, so one easel was plenty. And I would not be creating vast amounts of smaller pieces all at once, so a drying rack was not on the essentials list.

A few down-and-dirty photos because a down-and-dirty studio can help you produce beautiful art:

Metal cart available at most craft stores

Plastic paint caddy from Michael's craft store (kid's section)

A glass palette from Jerry's Artarama*

Table risers ordered from Amazon

Easel from Michaels (required some assembly)

*Note: Because there is no longer an art supply store near me, I order most of my supplies online, like paint and surfaces and good palettes. One of my main sources is Jerry's Artarama website. Reasonable prices and quick delivery.


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