State of the Studio check inWork continues on the Studio Makeover Challenge.

I think the work for the Art of Personal Story show will be done in oil on panels. I ordered a selection of sizes of panels to try, and the box has been sitting in the hall for months because I didn’t have anywhere to put them. The oil paint was in piles on my studio table. I have new mediums and cleaning fluids. Where will they live?

The studio is already full, so making space means getting clever. I’ve had to move things around and let others go. Finally I was able to clear a shelf as a start.

Piles of painting panels on steel shelf

I want it to be easy to grab a panel when I am ready to work, so I spent some time covering the edges with blue painters tape so they’d be ready to paint. I loaded them onto the shelf by size, then covered them with newsprint to keep the dust and cat hair off.

Not gorgeous, but functional. I get overwhelmed and paralyzed if I try to do attractive and functional in the studio. I get reluctant to use things that will shift a careful arrangement. This way, there will be no danger of that.

I am addicted to organizing devices

Before I moved from Penland School of Craft to Oregon I had a yard sale. The day of the sale I looked outside and realized everything I had on the lawn was some kind of organizing device. Every kind imaginable. And it didn’t include all the ones I was bringing with me. I was letting them go because they never really lived up to my expectation for how they were going to revolutionize my life and unleash my inner Martha Stewart. They were supposed to somehow make me a neat and organized person but only left me dealing with the unending tide of stuff.

When I get overwhelmed with too much stuff, I roam the aisles of Storables, The Container Store, even Lowe’s or Home Depot in a pinch. I’m sure someday I will find the perfect solution to all the art and supplies in my studio. Of course, they will also come in awesome colors and be easy to maintain.

Using what I have to store supplies

This time I decided I would use things I have to test my latest organization idea before I invest in more potential solutions that are destined for the lawn of a yard sale. I have one big table space. I work in a range of media on different surfaces. I never have enough space, especially if I have the supplies for one media all over the table. I decided I need to have a way to easily move each media on and off the table. Individual boxes seemed to fit the bill. I have a number of different kinds, including a bunch of cardboard peach boxes that stack. They aren’t beautiful, but they will be good for seeing if I actually move the supplies around how I think I will. I also had a small rolling wire shelf cart. The boxes almost fit on it, so it’s the other part of my proof of concept. It fit underneath an old over toilet shelf that is light enough to move as needed. [threecol_one]

empty cardboard peach boxes
Peach boxes to be filled with one type of media each.

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over toilet shelf and rolling wire cart
over toilet shelf and rolling wire cart

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wire cart with painting supplies
cart moves to table as needed

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The plastic box on the top shelf has oil mediums and brushes. The next shelf down is Gamblin Oil Colors, followed by Lucas 1862. The bottom is assorted gloves and tools I use with oil. I used other boxes on shelves for markers, watercolors, colored pencils, acrylics etc.

Thinking about the way things move in the studio

I’m hopeful about these changes because it is easier to move the media back and forth between the working table and storage shelves. I can also grab my markers and pencils and bring them into the living room to draw while we watch a movie.

I just have to be consistent about putting things away to make space for the next thing. This may be the system’s downfall. My tendency is to work on lots of different things at once.

Any suggestions?

What have you done in your studio, or seen other artists do to work with these challenges? I will say it was easier when I had a bigger studio space.

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22 Comments

  1. I am trying to simplify and organize too, both my studio and my website. It is going to feel great to get this done, I feel like it has been so challenging it sometimes overwhelms me an I don’t get much work done. Look forward to hearing about the rest of what you do!

  2. I am trying to simplify and organize too, both my studio and my website. It is going to feel great to get this done, I feel like it has been so challenging it sometimes overwhelms me an I don’t get much work done. Look forward to hearing about the rest of what you do!

    • Keeping the art supplies and websites workable is an ongoing challenge. I grind to a halt at a certain point also. This time I’m not looking for the ultimate solutions, but rather creating test solutions. That seems to be keeping it a bit more do-able.

  3. I like the idea of the mobile media cart. I hope you post about how it works for you. I may try it too. I also love the blue tape photo. It feels so luxurious to have all those panels waiting.

  4. I like the idea of the mobile media cart. I hope you post about how it works for you. I may try it too. I also love the blue tape photo. It feels so luxurious to have all those panels waiting.

    • I can tell you that I have pulled the acrylic boxes out twice and put them away. I have pulled the pencil and ink boxes out (still in living room.) So far, things are staying more contained. The real test will be when I pull those neatly stacked panels and oil paints out.

  5. Your organizer sale sounds fantastic. Sorry I missed it. I could have humored my own wishful thinking.

    I use peach boxes for paints, too. I love how they stack and they are sturdy and they are “luscious” in my mind.

    That blue tape shows you are ready for business!!!

    I have tried using separate trays for individual collage projects to try to corral the clutter. Sometimes it works. Other times I get distracted and/or flip the tray off the table or the cat does that for me. But when it succeeds, it is phenomenal. Easy to transport, easy to pick up and put down in a flash, easy to slide back in on a moment’s notice, and easy to stash in the closet prn.

    Keep that clutter moving — it is looking good-good-good!!!

  6. Your organizer sale sounds fantastic. Sorry I missed it. I could have humored my own wishful thinking.

    I use peach boxes for paints, too. I love how they stack and they are sturdy and they are “luscious” in my mind.

    That blue tape shows you are ready for business!!!

    I have tried using separate trays for individual collage projects to try to corral the clutter. Sometimes it works. Other times I get distracted and/or flip the tray off the table or the cat does that for me. But when it succeeds, it is phenomenal. Easy to transport, easy to pick up and put down in a flash, easy to slide back in on a moment’s notice, and easy to stash in the closet prn.

    Keep that clutter moving — it is looking good-good-good!!!

    • Now for the biggest challenge, how to deal with wet panels! Oil certainly complicates everything. No more just putting them in piles or trays.

      Not to mention the cat complications.

      • Yes, that’s why I cleared some more wall space for hanging wet paintings…. too precarious when they are literally stacking up vertically leaning on the wall or easel. Plus I paint on the sides of the canvas and they stick together. oyyyyy Maybe I should add some nails in the hallway outside the studio too. Hmmmm. Let’s smudge art paint on every wall in the house!!

  7. I am hooked on little boxes and organizing things which is good because I am addicted to art supplies. I have been trying to use up what I have!

    I love this challenge because I am finally forced to make my studio what I want it to be. I cannot believe I am doing that – I have been adding wheels to everything so I can move things as much as possible. Your mobile cart is heavenly. It is good to keep supplies close by! 🙂 The peach crate are nice looking – a nice shot of color!

    I also cleared away more wall space but I don’t have that much wall space to begin with. I admire your having all of your panels already taped off in advance. That is so smart – you must save so much time having it all done already.

  8. I am hooked on little boxes and organizing things which is good because I am addicted to art supplies. I have been trying to use up what I have!

    I love this challenge because I am finally forced to make my studio what I want it to be. I cannot believe I am doing that – I have been adding wheels to everything so I can move things as much as possible. Your mobile cart is heavenly. It is good to keep supplies close by! 🙂 The peach crate are nice looking – a nice shot of color!

    I also cleared away more wall space but I don’t have that much wall space to begin with. I admire your having all of your panels already taped off in advance. That is so smart – you must save so much time having it all done already.

    • Amantha,
      It is really helpful not only to commit to doing this, but also to see all the ideas from everyone else.

      It does feel good to have the panels taped. I still find ways to avoid starting, which was part of what I was trying to do 🙂

  9. Great post Christine! If you’re a creative person and you have an abundance of tools lying around it can be so difficult finding places to store all your belongings. It’s all about being clever with where you put them and how you put them away. There’s only so many cupboards and draws to store them so start thinking about how you can utilise the best spaces.

  10. Great post Christine! If you’re a creative person and you have an abundance of tools lying around it can be so difficult finding places to store all your belongings. It’s all about being clever with where you put them and how you put them away. There’s only so many cupboards and draws to store them so start thinking about how you can utilise the best spaces.

    • Yes, constant challenge. And of course it is fueled by an art supply lust that never ends.


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