Summertime Art Studio Planning
Over the past 67 days (yikes!) of quarantine, the macadamia nut tree outside my studio window has erupted in fronds of shiny, new leaves. I’ll take this as a reminder that there are plenty of good things happening if we simply look for them.
A fluffy squirrel (Mrs. Jetson) skitters up the branches, looking for nuts to shave open with her teeth so she can store them. She’s planning ahead, and it reminds me that I need a bit of art studio planning too.
All We Can Control
The sun is swinging around, adjusting the angle of the light on my work table to mark the season. We’re all wondering about the future. It’s a good idea to feel active, rather than passive in uncertain times. So, let’s make a summer plan.
Recognize that, sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective.Amy Morin, LCSW
Getting Things Done
In this hemisphere, summer is arriving, and we’re about to spend a lot more time outdoors. That’s a perfect opportunity to assemble your art supply tote bag for family barbecue sketching, sunset wine and watercolors, or outdoor garden botanical studies. Each of those art adventures can be enjoyed alone, or with your family.
Be Ready to Sketch and Paint
In my mini-course Six Tips to Paint More Often, simplification of your readiness to make art is a key strategy to painting frequently. Removing mental road blocks (ie: “I’d paint, but my brushes are somewhere…”) shortens the path to creativity. If you have a small tote bag with basic supplies to sketch or paint watercolors, you can take the art studio with you.
The mobility of that bag of art-making possibilities may inspire drawing from the car, like Shari Blaukopf does. (Check out her online course.) Or sketching in your garden while sipping an afternoon beverage. Try painting small watercolor portraits of your family at the dinner table, and invite them to get in on the fun too.
On the couch at the end of the day? Pull out a lap desk (or use a sofa pillow), and open a sketchbook from your tote bag. If the television is on, use headphones to still the distractions, and focus on your creative experiments with music or an audiobook.
Art Supply List – Your Tote Bag for Spontaneous Sketching or Painting
- Tote bag (if you’d rather make one than buy one, here are the instructions.)
- Watercolor sketchbook
- Regular sketchpad
- Assorted Pencils
- Telescoping soft eraser (<–I love this tool!)
- Micro telescoping eraser (<–and this one too!)
- Small Watercolor set
- Small travel brush set
- Shallow rinse cup
- paper towels
- brush pens
- waterproof micron pens
Photograph Treasure Hunt
When you’re looking for ideas to create new watercolors or printmaking, it helps to have a folder on your computer with reference photos you’ve harvested during photo outings.
Plan an afternoon on a sunny day to take your phone or your camera on a photo hunt. Walk around your neighborhood in the early-morning or late afternoon for some slanted sunshine and shadow street scenes. Read this for some more tips.
If you’re planning a relief print still life, this post about linocut ideas may help. And if you want some tips on using your DSLR camera, check out these cheat sheets.
You can create a pile of beautiful reference photos for still life art by slicing an apple, and arranging the segments on a small plate in the sun.
In Praise of Writing Lists
Sometimes, we need step by step instructions to accomplish goals that are foreign, and full of head-tilts and knit-brow expressions. Before this spring, I was overwhelmed at the thought of yeast, chemistry and kneading to bake homemade bread. I watched a few videos, made a list of steps, and I’ve baked 7 loaves, so far. I’m on a roll now. 🍞🍞🍞🍞
If you need help making an action plan for your art (or anything else on your wish list), read this post about how to write an action plan. Writing it down really helps. I’m a card-carrying, list-making doyenne, so trust me on this one. Make a list.
Productivity in Mini-Doses
Gretchen Rubin has listed some of the simplest to-do’s to tackle if you’re bored, and wish you could think of something productive to do. Read them here.
Do you subscribe to the printmaking magazine Pressing Matters? Each issue features 100 pages of beautifully designed interviews with printmakers from around the world. Looking at the studio spaces, and the work of some far away printmakers might be just the thing to get your hands on your tools to make a new print. For a little taste of their high quality publication, check out their freebies to download here.
Art Room Rehab
- Thinking about adding a peg board to help organize your creative space? Here are step by step instructions to build one for a small room in one afternoon.
- If you’re thinking about organizing all your art supplies, paintings, prints and ideas, this post about useful storage tips for a small watercolor studio may be helpful.
- Here are 35 ideas and tips to organize your desk and creative corner. A little change goes a long way to make a chair and a table top inviting, so you’ll want to go sit and make something there.
Plan Your Work, and Work Your Plan
What Summertime activities do you have planned in your studio?
Leave some of your plans in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next post!
P.S. Here’s a Pinterest Board all about organizing your work space
I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.Anthony Robbins
4 thoughts on “Art Studio Planning – and a Watercolor Portrait”
Hi May, thanks for the note and the compliments! Isn’t Shari’s work fantastic!? I’m so glad you like it too. And her Canadian landscapes are so reminiscent of New England, which makes us both feel right at home! Happy painting!