Create more energy for painting - How to set up your painting studio

Setting up your own painting studio can be one of the most exciting things to do. It’s a place where you can escape into another world, exploring new ways to create endless possibilities of paintings! So put some thought into arranging the space out because working in a poor environment can really hurt your performance.

Some tips for a cosy painting studio

  • North light coming from above and plenty of artificial light for painting at night
  • Enough space for a large easel arrangement, a model stand
  • Shelves or trolley to neatly store art supplies within easy reach
  • Fridge filled with nom nom munchies J
  • Large monitor or photos next to my easel for reference
  • Far away from any noise and distraction
  • Lots of wall space to hang inspirational artwork
  • Ventilation – large open windows to let in natural breeze
  • Music …yes yes!
  • High ceilings
  • Keep it clean
  • Minimise clutter – rid the place of excess furniture, unnecessary storage boxes etc.

Making a good painting is hard work, requires focus and energy from the artist. So managing your energy while you paint is important because the more energy you have for making the brush marks, the better the painting will be. As you become fatigued it’s easy for the quality of your painting and your joy in the experience to diminish. SO get rid of clutter which are sneaky little energy vampires, keep the studio airy, bright and clean. Don’t under estimate how good having a clean studio floor to lay about on while you contemplate your brush marks can feel.


The loss of energy is usually in the details of how you set up to paint. The energy loss with any one mistake is small, but if you have several small losses, they can really add up, and the longer your painting session lasts, the worse the losses become.


Tips to minimise the ways you can lose energy:-


·         Be physically comfortable in your work space. Do you also have enough room to move back and forth to view your painting as you work?

·         Keep all of your tools within easy reach. Before you settle in to paint, collect all the tools you need to work with so that you don’t have to fetch them as you need them. Then you can stay in the flow of painting.

·         Always have the brushes and palette on your handed side (If you’re right-handed, the materials should be on that side, and on the left side if you are left-handed). If you’re constantly reaching across your body to reach your brushes or palette, then you’re using up valuable energy every time, and it’s an unnecessary loss.

·         Keep your reference material close in relation to your painting. If it’s a tablet or computer screen, have it clipped near the area you are working on. The closer it is, the easier it is to focus on the area you are working on.


If it’s a photo, place it right next to where you are working. If you are working on an area that’s near the centre of the photo, then fold back the edges so that you don’t have to look over information that isn’t necessary for the area you are not painting. Cut the photo into ‘bite-sizes’ if necessary. You can always make an extra copy of the reference photo or tape it back together. It’s supposed to only be a tool to help you paint, a means to an end- your final painting. Energy saved!


 If you are working from life, then make sure that your set up or model is easy to see, with little distraction between it and your painting. Minimize the movements taken by your body and arms as you look from reference to painting. Make sure that your movements are comfortable and small. Every bit of energy you save can go into creating the best painting.


·         Adjust the height of your easel to work for you, and not against you. Your painting should be almost vertical. If your easel is leaning too far back, then you are wasting energy reaching in to paint on your canvas. Always be sure that you’re reaching your arm out, it should not be above your shoulder but same height or below. Reaching above your shoulder, will tire your arm quickly and drain out unnecessary energy.


An energy efficient work space + energy efficient work habits = Happy and creative artists.



Happy painting and keep working at your art!