Plants and tips for organising your art studio

Easter weekend saw an impromptu studio mega springclean. The motivation? I treated myself to some new indoor plants and wanted to make sure my plants would be well-placed for the amount of light they like. This meant moving some shelves and I figured a mammoth deep clean would be a good idea while I was at it.

Barn owl painting on easel in front of drawers with pot plants and other paintings

The inadvertent bonus of my endeavours was an opportunity to rearrange some art supplies so that they are easier to get to. Here are some tips to consider for studio organisation.

1. Do you need to protect the floor?

Make sure you consider your flooring and if you need some protective covers. The giant sheets of thick orange builder’s plastic and striped rug don’t look glamorous in my insta posts. But they’ve got me covered for any spills and drops.

2. Where’s the light? By day? By night?

Place your easel(s) where they will get the best light. Consider both natural and artificial light. My easels are placed to make the most of the gorgeous soft light that comes through the big windows during the day (and where the ceiling is highest for them to extend). But they are also close to handy plug points. This makes it easy to use a ring light for white light when painting at night.

3. Can you access everything you need with ease?

It can be tempting to have everything neatly tucked away. And indeed, when I first moved in to my new home studio, I tried this approach. But it turns out that once you’ve got a few projects on the go, the paths to shelves and drawers get blocked. So I’ve rethought what goes where to make sure my access to what I might need is kept open. You don’t want to be bumping into or having to move wet canvases just to get to something you hadn’t realised you’d need.

4. Have you got enough distance?

It’s important to be able to step back and evaluate your creations from a distance. I keep a comfy bean bag under my window so that I can sit back and mull over work in progress. Quite a luxury compared to the days when I was painting in a rented boxroom with a ledge at the end of the bed for my creations.

It’s also important to make sure that artworks in progress, drying or awaiting varnishing are sufficiently far away from the splatter danger zone. You’d be surprised how far paint can jump.

Oh and I also find I need space to dance when I create. So I leave space for this too.

5. Do you have inspiration?

It’s important to have some things in your studio to feed your soul and make you smile. My studio inspiration includes music, plants and light. Plus a bit of colour from lovely gifts and funky ceramics from other makers that I keep my brushes and pens in.

I’m convinced there’s still more space for fabulous plants in the studio.

Art studio photo with seascapes against easel and 3 pot plants in front of another artwork

What plants are in my studio?

I know a few of you will be wondering what green studio friends I have. The new purchases are a money tree and a pink Christmas cactus. I’ve also added a zebra cactus that is the off-spring of a mini cactus that my god-daughter gave me. The cacti are getting prime position on a sunny shelf. My studio is also home to a good-sized strelitzia, a variegated dracaena and some calla lilies that grow beautifully every year but haven’t graced me with any blooms for some time. Fingers crossed this year they flower. 

Artist mannequin on shelf in front of zebra cactus in basket, paint brushes in decorated jug and Christmas catcus in gold pot

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