When organizing any space, I find it helpful to think about the activities that I wish to perform there. I make a list and then break it down into smaller tasks.
In my studio, I perform a variety of activities: I paint (I use different kinds of acrylic paints), I varnish, I have a space for my artworks to dry, I photograph my paintings, and then I scan, document and store them until they find permanent homes. With this in mind, I've organized my space so that I optimize it, and can move about as freely as possible.
When I'm in there, I want my creativity to flow, unobstructed by having to organize furniture, move things around, adjust easels, etc. I just want to create the clearest path possible towards making my art. There are so many ways that a studio can be organized, and I find it helpful to have a master plan. Here are a few ways to think about your space, in no particular order:
• Organize by activity
• Organize by colour
• Organize by product
Here are some tips that have worked for me in the past:
PAINTS: BY TYPE OF PAINT
PAINTS: BY COLOR
Once my paint groups have been made, I like to organize my paints by colour, so that I can intuitively locate any colour without having to look for it (and break my concentration).
PAINTBRUSHESI have many different kinds of paintbrushes: long handle, short handle, wide, pointy, narrow. I like to use old coffee cans to group the different kinds together.
My blank canvases take up a lot of space. I therefore have to store them efficiently, so that they take up the least amount of room possible. I find it helpful to group same-sized canvases together and store them face-to-face and back-to-back. This way, the staples on the back of canvases don’t scratch the front of neighbouring canvases.
KEEP IT DUST FREE
My studio is my playpen, I welcome the mess! Spills, splashes, drips … it’s all there and it’s created quite an abstract-looking floor over the years! That said, I try to keep the dust level down, as it can get onto my paintings and sully them. For that reason, I try to sweep/vacuum regularly.
It’s important to have good lighting in a studio because you really need to be able to see colours and details fully. Painting is a visual medium, and so, making your own view as clear as possible is important. Whenever possible, paint near your light source. I prefer to use a series of overhead “daylight” bulbs, but I still paint near a window, if possible.
At the centre of my studio, you'll find painting tables. They're surrounded by my easels and a few chairs. I even have a sofa at the back, and I often take naps on it (squeezed in between our two dogs … it helps fuel my creativity!)
BIG BLANK WALL
After I'm done painting, I like to document my artworks, so I need a space to photograph them. I have a big white wall at the back of my studio for this. Try to avoid using too much artificial lighting on paintings, especially incandescent lighting, as it tends to create a brownish tint in photos. If possible, your photography space should be near natural light. I used to bring my paintings outdoors to photograph them, but that was a bit of a burden, as my large paintings often catch the breeze like a sail and the weather doesn’t always cooperate.