The beginning of the next lesson in the book I’m following, Kathleen Staiger’s “The Oil Painting Course you’ve Always Wanted”, is about how to use brushes in a variety of ways but it begins with a section on how to set up your painting area.
I was amazed when I saw her picture…
(K. Staiger's photo of her painting set-up from her book.)
Because it’s almost exactly what I do – except that my brushes are behind the medium and cleaner pots (I use pint glasses of water since I’m working in gouache rather than oil). I also don’t have newspaper down, since a damp cloth will clean up my gouache or watercolour drips.
Here’s a photo of my work area:
I’ve been using this set up for a few months now. One of the odd things about working this way is that now all the paint and water is on my right I find I’m painting less with my left hand than I used to. I used to choose a hand depending on how easy it was for each hand to paint a particular stroke and I used to swap if either arm got tired too. This set-up sort of pushes me to be more right-handed. I wonder if I will lose the ability to paint left-handed if I don’t use it so much?
There are two other minor issues with this working environment:
(1) During the summer afternoons the sun shines directly on my work area through the doors to a Juliet Balcony which affects the way I see tone and colour which in turn affects my paintings. Steady consistent daylight is much better. The difficulty is that if I close the curtains then becuase of the curtain colour – the light turns red.
(2) When it’s dark and I use the room light, the position of my dining table means that the front of my canvas is in shade. Again this can be a bit tricky.
However, I’m moving home soon, so my plan is to set up a purpose built working area lit with a daylight lamp in my new home. I’m so excited about this – it’s going to be brilliant! Once I’m settled I’m going to start exhibiting paintings too and trying to sell them.
I’m going to go through local galleries, businesses and shows but I also want to have a place online where I can sell. I’ve been thinking about Etsy, or Ebay, or perhaps even the new Amazon Hanicrafts Marketplace?