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12 Months of Gratitude 2022 - Number 7!


Building a new art studio was one of the most exciting experiences, it's been a life-long dream to have a space that I can call my own and as it is somewhere that I work almost every day, it was important to make it as perfect as possible.

Our home is old, it was built in 1923 and the first owners to live in it was a corn merchant and his family, they lived here until his wife's death when she was around 70 years old (a copy of her death certificate is in the house deeds).

We purchased the house in 2015 and before then, it went through many changes. In the photographs below you can see that at the time of us moving in, the room that was to become my art studio was a kitchen, probably dating from the 1980's. When the house was first built, this room was initially a garage before its conversion into a kitchen.

One thing that is most important for any art studio is the light and the need to get as much of natural daylight as possible so the first job was to replace the window. This room faces north so the light is more cool and less extreme than a south facing window which is perfect for maintaining a soft stream of light throughout the day. In addition to the larger window, the studio is also fitted with professional dimmable LED lights that closely resembles natural lighting so that I can still work during the darker days and evenings.

Another necessary consideration of this room was to insulate it properly during the renovation as this had not been done before and the room could be incredibly cold and draughty. For this to be done properly, the floor needed to be raised and re-laid with new beams and all of the walls were boarded and plastered.

During renovations - converting the old kitchen into an art studio (2017)

For practical reasons it was a sensible idea to lay down a wood-effect floor using vinyl tiles as these are far more resilient than natural wood and paint can easily be scrubbed or scraped off without any visible damages. For the wall colour, I chose a neutral warm white (Sea Salt by Neptune) that would give a calm working environment. The slatted wooden blinds are also in this similar shade and are perfect for alternating the light to suit my needs.

The photograph below was taken at a busy time when I was selling different types of framed art to suit various galleries and my studio was filled with stock. Purchasing the frames in advance is a huge investment as these can be very costly and without knowing the sales in advance it's also a big risk financially. Having large piles of new frames also takes up a great deal of storage space in the studio which is okay for coloured pencil work as there is little mess but it's not very practical when working with pastels or paints. Here you can seen my range of coloured pencils on my drawing desk all stored according to their similar hues and neatly lined-up inside empty jam jars for ease of access.

My studio when storing framed artwork and preparing for a new project using coloured pencils

In 2020 I participated in the York River Art Market and because it was during a period of national 'lockdown' the event was purely virtual which meant that my studio needed to be transformed into an art gallery. This was the first time that I had shown my personal working space to the general public and it was quite a daunting prospect for me. It was quite a strange experience as it was also the first time that I had recorded myself to introduce the event online. At the time, I was selling pen and ink illustrations alongside wildlife paintings created using coloured pencil and/or pastels which added interest to the gallery as well as producing artwork to suit different budgets.

Converting my art studio into a gallery for the York River Art Market (2020)

My art studio is an ever-changing workspace as it evolves with me according to my latest projects and intentions. At the moment it is a mess, filled with paperwork, dirty paint pots, a layer of dust and a ton of new ideas. I appreciate that I am incredibly fortunate to have a space to call my own, somewhere that new ideas can be put into practice and somewhere that I can hide when life gets too much sometimes. It's my safe space, my inspirational space as well as my creative space. None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my husband and all of the skilled workforce that worked tirelessly to make it work including: builders; electricians; plasterers; joiners; glazers and decorators. I also have to thank my youngest son who put together all of the IKEA furniture when he was 13 years old, a job not suited to anybody else in this household (including me) but he really enjoyed it and did a fantastic job! Thank you so much to everybody that made this amazing space a reality, I absolutely appreciate it every single day and really miss it when I'm away. x


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