Reorganizing My Studio for Better Workflow
I’m off to a scary late start to this week’s painting. Instead of getting to work on it Monday, which is the normal rhythm, I didn’t start it until Wednesday. And I still need to finish it by Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last two days reorganizing my studio to improve the workflow, and hopefully improve the work itself.
The Old Way of Doing Things
Until about 6 months ago, I was working mostly from photography. My studio was set up accordingly, with a monitor next to the easel for displaying reference photos that I took in my shadow box further to the right. I described that arrangement in a recent blog post.
However, as I’ve transitioned to working almost entirely from life, that arrangement no longer works. On the other end of my studio, I have a large desk, which I converted into a workstation for painting acrylic miniatures a few years ago. Although I still like the idea, I’m not currently doing much of that kind of work.
So, I decided to repurpose that space by moving my computer there and setting up the area for business-related tasks. An important side benefit is that I’ll no longer have the distractions of a computer essentially built into my easel. I want that end of my studio to be for painting, and nothing else.
A Better Use of Space
After moving the computer, the shadow box then moved to the space where the monitor used to sit – directly to the right of the easel. I’ve never formally practiced the sight-size technique, but this arrangement will allow me to follow the spirit of it. That’s essentially how I worked during my recent 90 day challenge, using another small shadow box set up to the left of the easel.
It changes the entire feeling of the workspace. The old arrangement was dark and cramped, and invited clutter in all the small corners. The new layout is far lighter and airier, and it brings a sense of openness and freshness that part of the studio lacked. The space the shadow box used to occupy is now available for sketching and similar tasks.
There is one more upcoming part of this project. To the left of the easel, there’s about the same amount of available space as the shadow box now occupies to the right of it. I’m going to build some kind of shelving there to give me another area to set up compositions. This way I can work with closed, controlled lighting in the shadow box, and open lighting on the shelves. There is also a window to the left of that space, so I could potentially even work with natural light (it’s western-facing, though, which limits the opportunities).
This has been the biggest change I’ve made to my studio in about 6 years, and I couldn’t be happier. The setup now aligns with my process, and there is more and better space to work with. And ultimately, a clearer work space leads to clearer work.