Studying the Studio

Almost two months on crutches this summer has provided ample time for a reality check and a reevaluation of what’s important in an art studio.

Although I had expected that the enforced “downtime” would increase my art productivity, I quickly realized that my greatest productivity would not be in quite the areas I had anticipated.

The key word was accessibility.

I had considered my compact art studio (a repurposed guest bedroom) to be space efficient and accessible for storing and retrieving my supplies and finished work. Limited mobility, however, made me realize that it isn’t efficient to have to move furniture to access corner storage recesses, to move a standing easel to get into the matting closet, to use a stepladder to reach the top of the drying rack, or to relocate frames to open the taboret drawers. Oops.

The first change was to order a portable table easel, which I could use on any table (and adjacent to virtually any chair) in the house. In conjunction with that, I downsized my large watercolor palette to a more portable size and design. And, though I was able to produce some small pieces, I resigned myself to postponing such tasks as matting and framing until I could move around more freely.

My increased productivity actually appeared in areas I had previously relegated to secondary and “support” pursuits. These included researching and ordering supplies, planning marketing strategies, preparing my ebook, Elements of Great Composition, for publishing via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing, through Amazon), and writing various marketing and publicity materials. In-person classes were replaced by on-line mentoring.

As I gradually become more mobile, I’m in the process of mentally redesigning my studio space. My goals include:
– Doing away with …any sub-professional materials that take up valuable space, …all sub-par work that cannot be redeemed, …general paper clutter, …and tchotchkes/gadgets/miscellany that serve no beneficial purpose.
– Relocating stock to increase ease of access.
– Maintaining inviting work areas to encourage spontaneous creativity.
– Creating an “inspiration” area to set up still life arrangements with controllable lighting.

The changes won’t all happen immediately. But unless I establish specific goals to strive for now, it’s very unlikely that my hopes of making the studio more user friendly will happen at all in the foreseeable future. Who was it who said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”? I can’t let crutches be my excuse,… or allow my excuses to become a crutch!

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