By Cassandra Rosas, Guest Blogger - The British writer Graham Greene once wrote, “Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” For many, art is a form of therapy, but it can also be a source of income or simply an enjoyable hobby. Having a place of one’s own to create art is a convenience that can enhance the creation process. By setting up a home art studio or art room, you can carve out space for working on your art projects and for safely storing your art supplies while ensuring they’re accessible when you need them. Here, we’ll explore how to create an art room at home so you can more easily channel your creativity into completed art projects.

How to Set Up an Art Room at Home

Depending on the size of your home, you may or may not find it challenging to assign space for your home art room. In fact, you may not have a spare room you’re able to devote to the creation of your art studio. That’s okay, as many artists have improvised and created unique art studios in even relatively small spaces by sectioning off part of a room or transforming a niche into a place for making art. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you plan your art studios and avoid design mistakes:

Budget

How much are you willing to spend to create your home art room? Establishing a budget will enable you to make a working plan for building your home art studio. Designing a functional space for your work may require some investment. Consider your studio’s needs and whether or not you can fulfill them with existing or new resources. Typically, your studio will need:

  • Good lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Sink
  • Cabinets or shelves for supplies
  • Workspace
  • Floor protection

You may already have some of these elements on hand or can repurpose items inexpensively to suit your project. However, creating a budget will help you plan for each aspect of your studio and its needs.

Lighting

Good lighting is typically a critical element of any art studio. Whether you work with oil paint, watercolors, clay, or some other medium, you need to have the best lighting possible to see what you’re doing. If you can site your studio near a sunny window that will allow for good natural light during the day, but your space may not have window access. According to the Artists Network, art studio lighting should have a balance of cool and warm light. Try to install bulbs that have a color-rendering index (CRI) of 80-100, as these bulbs will provide vibrant lighting that is ideal for mimicking natural light.

Additionally, you may also require spotlights for working in detail. Overhead lighting and table-top fixtures will allow you to light up your art room brightly. You may also want to invest in good photography lighting if you want to photograph your work to showcase or sell online.

Ventilation

If you work with paints and associated art supplies like paint thinners and cleaners, you’ll need to be mindful of ventilation. If you wood carve or grind materials, you should also keep your space well ventilated. Depending on the chemicals and materials you are involved with, a ceiling fan and open window may simply not be enough to create a healthy environment for creating art.

One method that artists often use at home is to purchase an industrial fan from a home improvement center. According to Professional Artist Magazine, “the fan pumping in fresh air will be behind the artist, blowing fumes away from the artist’s face and toward the fan exhausting the air outside in order to create a continuous stream of clean air for the artist to breathe in.”

Another ventilation method is to invest in installing local exhaust ventilation, which is a superior option, particularly for controlling semi-toxic or highly toxic fumes. This type of exhaust system, placed above your workspace, will remove fumes and tiny particles through ducts, blowing it through filters before it’s released outdoors.

If you grind materials or work with dust-producing mediums, an exhaust system is more conducive to health safety. A professional exhaust ventilation system is recommended for many types of art, including photograph development, woodworking, silkscreen painting, welding, spray painting, and acid etching.

Sink and Water

Although you can transport your paintbrushes or other supplies to a utility sink in your home, having a sink and faucet in your art studio is a decided convenience. You might even consider siting your art studio near a utility sink that you share with your laundry space. If you’re designing your art space outside of your home in your garage or shed, you can purchase a portable sink that you can attach to an outdoor spigot.

Privacy

Privacy may or may not be a priority for you as you design your home art studio. However, you should consider some type of barrier simply to protect your projects in the event you have company. If your studio is in an open space rather than enclosed by its own four walls and door, you can create privacy by installing draperies, floor-to-ceiling shelving units, or half walls to protect your workspace.

Floor Protection

Regardless of the medium you use, you are likely to need floor protection. If you work with paint, you might choose inexpensive paint tarps. On the other hand, you can also protect your permanent flooring by installing vinyl sheets (without adhesive) atop your existing floor. Vinyl is easy to clean, and because it’s relatively cheap ($25 for a roll of 9’ x 15’ vinyl flooring), you can replace it easily every few years if you choose to.

Work Space

Designing your workspace is of paramount importance. Consider the type of workbench or other apparatus you’ll need to do your creating. If you paint and work on an easel, you’ll probably want to have a cart or table nearby to accommodate your supplies. Your space should be comfortable, well-lit, and stable to reduce the risk for spills.

Where to Set Up Your Home Art Studio

As you view your home, you may have more than one option for creating your art studio. Which is best? Keep in mind some of the considerations we discussed above, such as lighting, ventilation, and access to a sink. These may help you choose the ideal site for your art space. Some spaces you can consider for installing your home art studio include:

 

  • Spare room
  • Corner of a room (i.e., corner of the family room or laundry room)
  • Shed
  • Space under stairs
  • Garage
  • Patio
  • Sunroom
  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Screened porch

Required Art Materials

If you paint or draw, you’ll need a wide range of materials for creating art along with appropriate space to store them. Oil painting at home or sculpting at home involves many types of supplies. If you make art using different mediums, be sure to consider how to best store your supplies, so they’re well protected. Generally, if you paint or draw, you should plan to supply your studio with:

  • Canvases of various sizes
  • Oil paint
  • Watercolor paints
  • Various types of paper
  • Graphite pencils
  • Artist pallet
  • Primer
  • Assorted jars/containers
  • Paintbrushes (various types)
  • Paint extender
  • Exacto knives
  • Drying racks

Depending on the type of art you create, you may need many items to supply your studio. If your studio is a family space for art, you can use this link to help you supply it. It includes the most commonly needed supplies for elementary students, middle school students, high school students, and adults.

Maintaining Your Home Art Room

Keeping your art room tidy requires some specialized knowledge about how to clean paintbrushes or other items that you work with. Having access to a sink and faucet will help. You may need to handle many of your supplies with special care to clean up after projects. Be sure that you know which items require specialized discarding. You may, for instance, have to drop off old paint somewhere in town or your city to dispose of it properly, and check if any of the disposed materials can be recycled, if that is the case, take them to your nearest recycling center, this will help reduce your carbon footprint. Try to set aside an area of your studio where you can stow your cleaning supplies and materials to be discarded.

A home art studio can afford you the ideal space for painting, drawing, sculpting, or creating other art types. Creating art or crafting is a great way to de-stress, so you don’t have to be a professional artist to design a home art room—you just have to enjoy making art. Use these tips to create a home art studio that’s ideal for you.

Cassandra Rosas is a content writer at Porch.com. She is passionate about art, painting, sculpting, health and wellbeing, reading, writing, and music. 

 

Take Your Art Career to the Next Level With an Art Portfolio ReviewJust what is a Portfolio Review and how can an artist benefit from taking part in this type of event?  A Portfolio Review will provide an artist with a professional evaluation of one’s art, a critique of how the art is being presented to others and can provide the artist with ideas on how they can effectively market their art.

Much like art competitions, a Portfolio Review is an additional way in which an artist can have their art portfolio evaluated and measured against other artists.  A Portfolio Review can help an artist take their art to the next level in terms of their overall presentation, sequencing, and marketing.  In addition, this event should provide the artist with ideas on how they can sell more of their art.

There are other benefits for an artist to participate in a Portfolio Review and we will explore and detail those additional benefits in this article as well.  Overall, a Portfolio Review will provide the artist with a high level of professional criticism of the artist’s presentation of their work.  It should be noted that a Portfolio Review is not the type of forum for an artist to ask the reviewers for any advice on techniques to help improve their artwork.

The organization conducting the Portfolio Review should have an event brochure that will state the professionals who will be attending and reviewing the art.  The review will have art galleries owners/directors, curators, along with other art professionals there to review and evaluate the art portfolios.  The artist should do some research prior to the event in order to determine which reviewer(s) can best help and evaluate their art portfolio, based on their experience.

Reviewers can also help guide the artist in terms of marketing their artwork to the appropriate target markets.  The reviewers are professionals with many years’ experience in the art business and they have the knowledge and experience which can help to accelerate the artist’s advancement in their art niche.  The reviewers have industry-wide contacts, along with an insider’s point-of-view. Overall, they can help lead the artist in the right direction, in terms of career advancement and development.

As an aside to this discussion, the artist should have their art ready to be reviewed in a coherent and comprehensive portfolio.  This means that the artist should have their work ready to be presented as a “Body of Work”.  A body of work is an effective way of showcasing the artist’s artwork, laid out in a distinctive style, such as a single subject or through a single media.  We provided some ideas how to effectively go about this subject in 2 articles that we posted on our website about having a distinctive body of work to show - Do You Have a Body of Work to Show? - Part I and Do You Have a Body of Work to Show? - Part II.

Here are some ideas for an artist to consider prior to deciding to partake in or prior to attending a Portfolio Review;

1.   What does the artist want to accomplish with Portfolio Review

The artist should write down, consider and evaluate their goals for attending a Portfolio Review.  Is the artist there for help in presenting or refining their actual physical portfolio?  Is the artist attending in order to get help marketing their art or gaining gallery representation?  Is the artist intending to be there to make industry contacts?  Is the artist going because they need help getting their art published?  The artist should be precise with their intent and just what they would like to accomplish when they participate in a Portfolio Review.  

If the Portfolio Review’s brochure or promotional pieces do not specify or match what the artist would like to accomplish, then the artist should contact the event organizer and discuss their desired goals for attending and in order to determine if this fits with the organizer’s stated benefits for holding this event.  The event organizers should be able to guide the artist with this question.

2.   The artist should have portfolio up-to-date with their best art

As stated above, the artist should try to have a “body of work” to present and show at the Portfolio Review (Actually this true for showing their artwork to anyone).  If the artist is attending this event in order to get help with the quality, sequencing or theme of their portfolio, they should then bring what they have (or how they have been presenting their work) to the review.  However, there should be no more than 20 pieces to show a reviewer.  The artist should not apologize or make excuses for their art to the reviewer.  Instead, the artist should let the reviewer evaluate and advise the artist on how they can improve the presentation of their art.

3.   The artist should have both printed & digital presentations

The artist should be prepared to accommodate the viewing preferences of the reviewer as they may like to see the artist’s work in a printed portfolio presentation (usually gallery people) as well as in a digital format. If the artist is showing actual paintings or prints, they should not be too large, bulky and difficult for the reviewer to handle.  Overall, the artist should make it easy for the reviewer to do their job.

4.   The artist should have a list of questions prepared

The artist’s time in the actual Portfolio Review session will go very quickly and in order to take full advantage of the review, the artist should have a list of prepared questions written down, in order to ask the various reviewers for their help and for their opinions.  Also, the artist should have a notepad and pencil/pen in which to take notes about the information that they will be receiving. 

5.   The artist should be prepared for constructive criticism

Any artist who attends a Portfolio Review should be prepared to receive constructive criticism about their art portfolio. Any advice or comments from the reviewer should be taken as such, that is that it is “constructive”.  The artist should not become defensive and argue with the reviewer. If the artist is thin-skinned and not be able to handle any criticism of their work, it may be wise for them to consider not to attending a Portfolio Review.

Portfolio Reviewers possess a wealth of art industry knowledge and this is an excellent venue for an artist to learn from them.  If an artist is serious about their art and they desire to take their art career to the next level, then they should seriously consider participating in a local or regional Portfolio Review, as this type of event can help their art career immensely.  

 

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