Saturday, January 31, 2009


This is my studio. There are many like it, but this one is mine. I could have cleaned up for you, but that would have been a blatant misrepresentation, and we are all about the Truth over up in here.

My studio is at the corner of the house, measures about 10 x 14', and has windows facing south and west. These are the worst possible directions. I like cloudy days because the light is more even, but this is the room that was left after everyone called their bedrooms.

That's an ott-lite on a dick blick easel. It's a cheap easel, and I wouldn't recommend it, mostly because the shelf where the painting is doesn't stay horizontal, which seems like it should be one of the top 10 non-negotiable assets for easel design. I'm getting rid of the ottlite too. The color has started to seem too green and too bright to me, making my paintings too dark and too cool.

In the foreground you can see Lulu's "desk," a leftover rolling nightstand. She paints when I paint, if she's home. Quite a good artbuddy. She's 6. One day I'll be able to renovate the attic, but no time soon. Please buy my paintings.

To the left (not shown) is a desk with a PC on it where all the blog and website maintenance happens, photo scanning, resource viewing, etc. I don't know what we did before computers.

Having stuff on wheels is a mandate, as it makes it easy for me to move easels and large paintings around, and set up still lifes in different corners. This tabouret was my husband's when he was studying interior design. It is a very cool tabouret, but mostly for a designer. Check the flyout drawers! I'm keeping my eyes open for something more paint-appropriate, but nothing yet.

Flat space - an Ikea table that's made 3 house moves and is still stable after 10 years. There are some Lulu drawings, too, and stuff that hasn't made it out of the room to be processed yet. The flat space is supposed to be used for packing/shipping, but has turned into a weigh station for items coming in or out of the room. Also, it's a shelter for our pug Hector's crate, which backs up to a heating vent. Pug heaven.
That frame in the upper left is part of a piece of purple 80's corporate art that my husband hung on the wall to both inspire and revolt me. He's just a little bit evil. I would show it to you, but it would be like the "Ring."

This looks like a bookshelf, but in fact it is a drying rack for small paintings. Has anyone noticed the avacado colored sulptured carpet? There are really nice floors under that carpet, which will be rediscovered after I move to the attic.

The easel in the foreground is another cheap easel - this one from Richardson, about $149 when I bought it. It's heavy, and it has no bells and whistles, but I love it. The tripod in back is for display only. That type of easel is not really suitable for work.

On the top shelf of the drying rack is a pochade box, another handy type easel. It is worth it, IMO, to pay for a better one rather than go cheap on the pochade. These have lots of small brass fittings, and precisely cut pieces of wood that unfold like a crazy Transformers object into a nifty plein aire easel. If the pieces aren't right, it doesn't unfold, or re-fold, and doesn't stand stable. So buy a good one.

This thing is actually a closet organization unit from California Closets, which we got on sale at Target for $17. It is probably the only perfectly usable thing in the room. The bottom 3 shelves pull out like drawers, and those are Acro bins (from the hardware store) which hold paint and other supplies. This thing holds all the tiny things I need to keep track of, and there are a lot of tiny things in painters' studios. At the top are the styro mannikin heads that I use for day 1 of my portrait drawing class. The corduroy curtains block out the southern light completely if needed. The wallpaper was just a bonus that came with the house.
Next to it are rolls of canvas. Rolls of canvas work well for small paintings, studies, etc, and can be glued to panels. I prefer not use them in large sizes because the unwaving process (the canvas holds the round shape of the roll) is a pain in the butt, and unpredictable at best.

So that's it. Hope there was some useful info in here for you.


  1. LOL. I have a different easel with the same non-horizontal ledge problem. I used to have the same drying rack disguised as a bookcase, but have turned to other solutions. Mostly, though, this post has encouraged me to stop feeling dissatisfied that I'm working in a 10x14' space. Look at the beautiful work you turn out. Who needs a big studio?

  2. Great post, Lisa, and a great idea! Thanks for sharing your space.

    I will post pics of mine, too.

  3. "This is my studio. There are many like it, but this one is mine."

    Actually, with that rad 3-D green carpet and lattice work wallpaper, I think you can safely say that yours is one-of-a-kind.

  4. This carpet is one of the reasons I loved this house. It looks like the carpet we had when I was a baby, in our first house at 63rd and Campbell on Chicago's south side. As soon as I saw it, it just made me happy. It's wool, it's in pretty good condition, and it's about 50 years old - what else could you possibly need?

  5. Hey, whatever floats your boat. :)

  6. Hey Lisa have you thought of putting some defusing material on the windows. You can get this stuff that lets in the light but it will defuse it and it will be more like North light.

    It's white or off white and does not change the color of the light.

  7. Lisa, if you haven't already, can you tell the process of gluing your canvas to panels and what you use in a post? I always have leftover canvas from rolls, and I never thought to paint directly on loose canvas and then glue to a panel. Thanks!