SETTING UP A STUDIO

It’s done and dusted.  My new studio is finished and I’ve well and truly moved in.  I am so lucky, it’s the most inspiring, beautiful space that I’m making my own. A dream come true.   What about the view though? 

Early morning view from the studio

 

I started painting over 30 years ago and probably like many artists, began working from the kitchen table.   As the years progressed, I graduated to a corner of a room at home.  I also limited myself to using watercolours.  Water-based media was more practical in those early years with three young, inquisitive boys – itching to get their hands messy.   Eventually, the children (and I) grew up and we began to take our chosen paths more seriously. 

 

Out came the oil paints.

I know some artists who are able to paint with little or no paint straying anywhere than on the canvas.  I am NOT one of those artists!  I need room to paint and now I have a room to paint in.  It has taken a few years and a great deal of planning to realise the studio I have now.

Let me take you on a little tour of it.

 

LIGHT   

North light is best and also to have light from above. My brief when designing the studio was to have plenty of natural light.   I have a large skylight as well as floor to ceiling north facing sliding doors.  The doors were fitted because I wanted to make the most of the wonderful view over Ardmore Bay.  The only problem I’ve encountered is that it’s too easy to put the brush down and to just sit and drink in the glorious view.  I haven’t painted at night in my new studio yet but if I do – I have an artist’s overhead daylight lamp. When positioned properly the lamp light takes in both the canvas and the palette which is essential when mixing and matching colours.

 

    

Lots of light and note the workstations on castors                   

ORGANISATION.  

It’s so important for all of us to be organised.  For me, it’s essential to be able to put my hands on materials and equipment easily.  I’m the lucky owner of a Hughes Easel that I bought second hand.  I also have a table palette that fits nicely in front of the easel (it was custom made by the previous owner of the easel) At the moment I’m painting small canvases and so the easel can easily take 2 at a time.  For my reference material, I usually use my iPad with an iPad holder.  However, if I’m painting from a photo there’s plenty of room to blue-tac it onto the easel.

I keep my paints and mediums in a make-up box beside me that can open up so that I’m not fumbling about looking for things mid brush stroke!

 

 

Studio furniture

 

CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS

Because I teach it is very important that everyone else is organised too.  I have kitted out the studio with IKEA bookcase shelves, having seen them at my good friend Julie Douglas’s atelier in Belfast.  I have added castors to mine and reinforced the slightly wobbly backs so that these shelves can be moved easily to different areas of the studio.  The bookcases are like mini work stations (thank you Julie) that can also be used to house individual still lifes in a workshop scenario.

 

 

Hard at work but coffee breaks are an important part of a class

CLEANING UP AND VENTILATION

An available sink is a must.  I also keep all the cleaning materials, soaps, mineral spirits in a little cupboard underneath it.  

Everyone who knows me understands that I need plenty of moving air around when I’m painting.  I also sometimes use alcohol inks and I have masks for this.  Not everyone uses them but I don’t think it’s worth taking even the smallest risk.   There is a door and a window on the opposite side to the sliding doors overlooking the bay and so it is easy to circulate the air if it’s too hot or if we use a lot of solvents.   

I’m actually reconsidering my use of all solvents, I have a little more research to be done first but I’m heading that way.

 

THE LIBRARY

Over the decades I have accumulated a large library.  Initially, I started painting with watercolour.  I then delved into the world of mixed media.  The oil painting section together with the rest of the collection makes up a diverse inspiration-laden area.  When things aren’t flowing freely and I’m stuck waiting for the creative genie, I just plough into the library.

Studio views and the library

 

THE SPACE

Last but not least is the overall space.  I’m building a little collection of jugs, vases and bits and pieces that would look lovely in a still life.  I will be hanging my antique door soon and will hunt around for some old rugs to grace the floors.  Then, when the sun is shining I can throw open the doors and drink my coffee sitting on the deck. 

I want my studio to be functional as a studio and classroom but I also want it to be my favourite room. Somewhere to sit and feel inspired, somewhere calm and comfortable.   I know I’m blessed and I’m so grateful to my wonderful husband and family for making this dream come true for me.

 

                        

A room with a view     

 

   

Me with my main supporters                                       

39 Comments

  1. Vivienne Mason

    Oh Judy what a wonderful read.
    I had wandered upstairs thinking I must get my stuff together for a watercolour class tomorrow and started reading this!
    My daughter, son in law and granddaughter have moved in with us in Aus, probably until early next year. So I have relinquished my studio to Bonnie, who is working remotely from home.
    I’m heading back to Dubai in September so will see you there.
    Lots of wonderful ideas for the future studio so thank you. Very inspiring!
    Love
    Viv xx

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Hi Judy
      All I can say is WOW! Your studio looks absolutely amazing. Congratulations. Happy painting and see you back in the sand and at Tashkeel in September! XXX

      Reply
      • Judy

        Hiya Lisa,
        Thank you – I’m so thrilled I’ve been planning it for a long time. I hope I’m being missed!:) The time is flying by but I’m following Tashkeel’s happenings online. Love from Ireland xx

        Reply
      • Judy

        Thanks Viv, I’m so happy with it. I’ve had a taster workshop already and will do a couple of classes soon. It’s ideal for a workshop. You sound so happy too… Aren’t we lucky? x

        Reply
    • Judy

      I think I already replied to you on another post-Viv… I think I should stick to painting. x xx We both are the lucky ones, aren’t we? See you after the summer x x x

      Reply
  2. Angela

    Wow Judy!
    What can I say?
    It is amazing! Love it!
    You have thought if everything.
    Congratulations! ????

    Reply
    • Judy

      Ahhh Angela, thank you. You’ll have to come and visit once you’ve had time to catch a breath. x x

      Reply
  3. Jane Love Elliott

    Judy, the studio looks amazing!!!! Every detail has been considered. Thank you for sharing all this valuable information. I can’t wait to hear and see more!

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thank you, Jane. I am so delighted with it – it has taken a lot of planning and then the building for most of last year. Now it’s almost too perfectly clean – I need another class to mess it up a bit LOL x

      Reply
      • Dalal Hamdan

        What a beautiful space you have created Judy. It looks amazing, and i agree with you about the view. I’m sure your new students are loving the whole experience.

        Reply
        • Judy

          Thank you Dalal, I’m thrilled with it

          Reply
  4. Jyoti

    Congratulations on your studio space, Judy!!! Waiting to see more of your amazing paintings.

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thank you, Jyoti. Watch this space xxx

      Reply
  5. Margaret

    Wonderful Judy… I hope you have many years of joy & inspiration in your new space. I know you put a lot of work into the planning of your studio & it looks fabulous . Enjoy & create masterpieces!
    X

    Reply
    • Judy

      Ah Margaret, yes you know how long I’ve been planning it. You’ve seen or heard all about the different versions. I can hardly believe it’s finished – you’ll have to come for a special tour. Although we have to meet soon for the usual…

      Reply
  6. deirdre shanny

    Congrats judy, go paint up a storm .dee x

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thanks, Dee – It’s so lovely and clean at the moment but that isn’t going to stop me! x

      Reply
  7. Tess Quinn

    i have had the honour of being one of Judy’s first art students to grace the door of her wonderful studio.
    It is exactly as described and more!
    The light is especially fantastic not to mention the breathtaking views!
    The artist stations make painting in oils so much more easier –
    Ones own brushes, kitchen roll, solvents etc; all within the range of the easel. A must for any artist!
    Judy is not only a wonderful mentor but the most gracious host.
    I came to knowJudy through previous Art workshops many years ago.
    As a result she has a wealth of knowledge and experience
    and is only too willing to share
    that with the keen, hardworking , aspiring and earnest student!!
    I wish you every luck in your new and beautiful space Judy – I can’t wait to return!
    You made my stay so special and have shown me some other oil techniques that I will most certainly put into practice.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Judy

      Gosh, thank you, Tess! I’m lost for words (and that’s unusual!). You were great to have as one of my first guests. You know you’d be welcome ANYTIME… Here’s to more adventures … x

      Reply
  8. Louise Muelhaupt

    Congratulations Judy !!! Your studio is wonderful . Thank you for sharing the splendor of the space and your personal story . I’m looking forward to the beautiful works the space you’ve created will inspire you to paint . Best wishes …Louise

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thank you, Louise, You know I follow you avidly x You’ll have to come and visit one-day xx

      Reply
    • Judy

      It all happened because of you xxx

      Reply
  9. Gosia van Unen

    It’s as if I’ve visited you already! Everything thought out and meticulously prepared. As always professional Judy!!! Lots of fun, miss you here in Dubai though…

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thank you, Gosia. I love it and there was a lot of planning! Following your escapades too. The time is flying though xx

      Reply
  10. Paul porter

    Looks great Judy.

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thanks, Paul – I’m delighted! Are you going to the workshop in August? Yourself, Mark and me (the 3 amigos) could paint the same one again this year…! I’ve chosen mine – the blue moody one with the vase and oranges.

      Reply
  11. Meera Deshmukh

    Oh wow what a spectacular view and a perfect place for an artist to get inspiration. This studio is a complete manifestation of your dream Judy. Congratulations

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thank you Meera and looking forward to our escapade in a few weeks x

      Reply
  12. Gail

    Judy you are an absolute Legend! Planning and determination have absolutely paid off. Julie’s IKEA stations on casters? Great embellishment! I am so looking forwards to joining you in your new studio, hoping I can get a date sorted before too long. I can see you’re going to be inundated. Love and hugs to you and Brendan xxx

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thank you Gail – It’s all about the planning isn’t it? I’ve been planning this for years – looking forward to showing you around. x x

      Reply
  13. Margaret Quilty

    It all looks wonderful Judy. The view is amazing.
    Any chance you are doing a workshop this summer? If so I would love to attend. I am living quite near Ardmore.

    Reply
    • Judy

      See you soon Margaret! x

      Reply
  14. Dave Lennon

    Brilliant blog Judy If your beautiful studio does not inspire artists I don’t know what would! Wishing every success and happiness to our favourite artist and neighbour!!!

    We are back from Provence and the big shift takes place this weekend – watch out!! NDD

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thanks Dave. Thrilled to bits x

      Reply
  15. Cheryl

    My dearest darling friend. What an absolutely wonderful studio, I can remember discussing this with you way back when and WOW it is fantastic. I know you will spend many happy hours in your new space. Wishing you all the best with your classes. Maybe one day I will attend one, just to serve wine to the other students of course 🙂

    Reply
    • Judy

      Ah Cheryl. Yes! Who would help with the refreshments? You know you both are welcome any time x x

      Reply
  16. Bernadette Murray

    Amazing, Judy. Well done on new studio and brilliant new website,
    Love Bernie

    Reply
    • Judy

      Thank you Bernie. Talk soon x

      Reply

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