Art studios

[Edit: This post was an effort from February 2014 to figure out what I consider my ideal studio.  I have since moved studios and addressed most of the items on this list. I am also trying to use Pinterest more for this sort of plotting.]

I seem to think that lists can solve everything.  It’s a definite bias towards ….linguistics?  Logic?  Meh.  Anyways, I have been ruminating (trans: daydreaming) about ideal studios since those presentations by Brown and Bowelby last July in Philadelphia.

It of course varies by artist, project, location, and budget…but what should I be considering?  Like workbenches, it’s past time I put a bit of effort into fine-tuning my workspace (beyond making do).


I’ll need to fit my supplies, the finished artwork, and my working self in this space.  I’m bad on sizes, but I think that I can do everything but the storage in a 10 x 15′ space.  The storage needs at least two racks:  a 32 x 40″ horizontal set of racks, and one with 9′ clearance and a 5 x ?’ footprint.  I’m using two closets to store all my paintings now, but that could be reduced with better use of racks.


-some task, some track

-natural?  depends on whether or not I want to control the lighting on something observed or just enjoy the psychological boost of DAYLIGHT


I’d like to have some ventilation.

Screens are required.


Big enough to get the 5 x 5 ft paintings in and out.


every eight feet or so at ground level?

ceiling for track lighting


I’m a big fan of practicality on this topic.  I know myself to be a messy artist, so carpets are just a bad idea.  I do my best thinking and working without shoes, but I can just wear socks to protect my feet from the intense cold of California winters.  Being able to clean the floor is worth it.  If it’s a concrete floor, I might want to look into doing some sort of clear coat to make it less absorbent.

Temperature control

Maintaining a liveable temperature also means less damage to the artwork.  Some of the materials are fairly flammable, so in this climate is most important to keep things cool enough.

Ceiling fan?


Messes happen. A deep sink can be really helpful.

Tables and seats

I usually work while standing, though having the option of sitting is nice too.  I do love tall stools for this sort of thing, though I may have to make them if I want them.   I never did quite finish that workbench question last fall.  Something I could bolt my miter saw to, and which would be offset from the adjacent workbench enough to hold wood steady, would be really handy.


Something offset for a miter saw, but also a flat surface to clamp projects to.  Needs access to electricity.

Lumber rack and scrap bin

Tool storage

It’s not terribly pretty, but I love the convenience of hanging tools on the wall.  Rulers of mine tend to go wandering.  Pegboard might be a good idea, though the look of it does remind me rather of my day job.

Hanging work (for display, since I’ll be making some storage racks)

Molding hooks.  They’ll save wear and tear, and hold a lot of weight.  I know you can do the fancy wooden molding, but I like the look of pipe a little better.

Art storage

Most of my work is paintings on panels or canvas, which would be best served by vertical racks.

Some flat horizontal racks for paper and paper projects would be grand.  Having at least one of those racks large enough for mat board (standard 32 x 40″) would save a lot of bother and damage to the boards themselves.  They would need about that much space in front of the rack in order to access the shelves.  The heavy metal flat files for architects are lovely, but a column of shallow shelves like we had at Voney would be much easier to effect.  Perhaps I could hang a curtain or prop a folding screen in front of them so I (and hypothetical guests) wouldn’t have to look at them all the time.

If it doesn’t need to be pretty, these counters/shelves look like they’d work pretty well.  They’re just your basic frame, done at a larger scale and with plywood rather than canvas.