2.6_The studio environment for the oil painter

3April 2008

2.6  The studio environment for the oil painter

My studio is sacred.  I have it set up exactly as I need it to create as I desire and as my concepts desire.  Everywhere I have lived since 1996 has been or has been converted into an artist’s studio.  My studio set up is precise and evolves as my works are evolving.  I find that my surroundings where I create have a dramatic effect on how I paint.  We are all effected greatly by our environments.  The color of the walls, a sunny day, rainy day, or cold winter day, the placement of objets used and not, the type of light we have in use, and every portion of our daily environment alters each of us in one way or another.  A studio, an intended space to create works of art where you will be spending a great deal of time in, should reflect your conceptual goals and momentary philosophical direction as an artist.  I decided to use that to my advantage.   
I prefer to have the walls of my studio painted to be the bluest white possible.  I use cheap unnatural florescent lighting and have always needed to balance out the yellow quality of that lighting.  I like it bright, with spot lights and overhead lighting.  I typically have three or more working easels in play at once, along with a few drying easels, and one glazing easel.  My palette table is set up so it resembles the color wheel.  In that way, I can mix colors with ease and avoid accidental blending and bleeding of oil color.  More importantly, it unconsciously reminds me of the color wheel.  Everything in my studio has a double purpose, a practical use and a conceptual one, just as my palette table.  My studios change as my conceptual needs change.  I will repaint the studio a certain color to have that in my mind at all times.  I will use charts and printouts stapled to the walls as reminders of my conceptual goal, and I always allow myself to be 100% of my concept 100% of the time.
Studios are what they are, work spaces.  Each artist will know what they need.  What I use is vastly different than what another will.  Working with oils, I have tailored my studio around their use and storage.  The student of oil painting need only a few basics.  A good easel.  Owning a high quality easel is a necessity for the oil painter.  A table to use as a palette and stand for supplies that are being used during a session of painting.  Good lighting.  The most important item the student of oil painting must have in the studio is a purpose.  Why you are painting is the question the student of oil painting must ask, and then ask again.  Then set your studio environment to coincide with your answer.