My painting place

I remember my first “real” studio. I cleared out an unused bedroom, and my husband hauled in a tiny Ikea desk that his daughter had outgrown. I found a comfortable chair and a floor lamp. We picked up a cute little cart at Hobby Lobby that held a few brushes and some student grade paint. Then, seated before a bargain bin canvas, I was ready to paint!

And I painted everywhere and everything! I painted in bed. I painted at my office desk, the keyboard pushed aside to make room for a sheet of paper and a small travel tin of pigments. I painted on airplanes. In hotel rooms. I painted in the garage, leaving behind acrylic footprints that elicited a Jesus Christ! from my husband. I painted my version of Monet’s Poppy Fields near Argenteuil on the 150-foot-long privacy fence that spans the back of our property. Sometimes I even painted in my studio, where the once-beige carpet took on a rather abstract array of colorful drips and splotches.

Somewhere in there the little Ikea desk was moved to the curb, replaced by a proper, well-lit workspace with plenty of room for a large canvas or sheet of watercolor paper plus the requisite studio cat. The little Hobby Lobby cart was replaced by a legion of bins, drawers, and industrial strength shelves. And the poor beige carpet was pulled up and supplanted by easy-to-clean linoleum. And, somewhere in there, I may have actually learned to paint. My husband says that he’s glad I became a good painter, because otherwise it wouldn’t have been worth the aggravation.

Did my painting improve because my workspace improved? No. My painting improved because I painted. And painted. And painted some more. Did having a studio help? Well, it didn’t hurt. I enjoyed having a space that was mine, a space that was not contaminated by work, stress, or chores, where I could just paint.

But… Don’t wish your life away. Don’t say “I’ll take up painting when I have a place for a studio.” Just paint wherever you are, in whatever corner you’re currently occupying. Remember: the best studio is your head.

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