Art Challenge 7 – Creative Studio

Art Challenge 7 – Studio Space

I have been trying to find a space to use as a creative studio. I think that if I traced back to where I started trying to find this space I recon I would be going back around 15 years. The idea has had a few different visions over that time and I thought recently that this was a new desire until I found something I wrote in 2007 that stated I wanted a studio space. That surprised me and I realised how long his had been bubbling under the surface and working its way to the top of my agenda.

Anyway it’s there on the top of the water now, in hypertension and it’s starting to become a reality. Like most of my searches it gradually took me to Google, but I didn’t want an office space, a room in a business building, a hot desk, I knew what I didn’t want, but knowing what I did want took a bit more figuring out. I didn’t want an urban space, built up, hemmed in, I wanted green spaces. I wanted freedom to explore my creativity but didn’t want to be surrounded by accomplished artists who knew exactly what they were doing and where they were headed.

I decided to get local and as I packed away to clear the kitchen table of my work at he end of another day, before everyone arrived home, I thought how nice it would be to be able to leave my work out, to be able to make a painty mess and not get distracted by household distractions.

I searched for ‘workspace rural location’ and switched the results to Google Images, I was greeted with images of a delightful old building, which wasn’t far from my home, had a space available and was affordable. Ah I thought, what is the location like…  so I zoomed in on Google Maps and saw green, lots of green, right next to the building. The building dates back to the 19th century, was built as a school and is now a social enterprise and is next to a park which was created from a former mining site.

The building is lovely, has a working clock tower on the roof that still tells the hour. Although it was stacked high with boxes I knew which room felt right and after a week or deliberation, asking for signs, consideration, excitement and then fear I got to the point that I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t take the room and the opportunity it presents.

So I have staked my claim on the room and we are agreeing when I can get in there and get creative, firstly creating my environment, which is already taking shape in my mind and on paper.

This is so exciting for me, I love how it feels so good and so right. The more I allow myself to be creative the more my mind is delivering me ideas, pictures, innovations. It’s like it has been waiting to wake up. It feels like I am getting back to my life, I have had a great time and enjoyed a great journey but this journey is for my soul and it feels like I am full up with enthusiasm.

Here are is my artist’s impressions, how exciting – being the artist, I have thrifty at my core so keen to make use and create from existing furniture and resources.

Studio Impression
Copyright Withheld

July 2015 – 9 months on from writing this post I have enjoyed my studio very much in 2014 but then my knee injury in January 2015 meant that I spent more time at home that I possibly ever have in my life since I was a child. I loved the safe, closed door, lockable sanctuary in which to nurture my art, confront my fear and see if art was the right path for me. 

Here is my studio at its best when I was so in love with the space and the opportunity it provided.

Gradually as I spent weeks on end at home my art materials moved gradually back to our house and art sometimes became a group activity, but it was always convenient. I would get out the plastic table cloth, create, paint, and then wash up and put it all away. I felt safe at home and as I needed to be doing so many exercises and then icing my knee the rest of the time I got into the space. For the first time since moving here 7 years ago I feel truly settled and at home in the space. 

So now I can drive again, I can go to my studio, it’s there for me but I don’t feel like I can be bothered to drive the 5 miles and all the materials I would use are here anyway.  Which then makes me feel bad, although the it’s great to feel settled I feel that this experience has taken that space away from me.

So my question is, is it about geography, would I use a studio closer to home, or should I get a fancy shed and use that, or do I need to have a clear out to accommodate the other things from my studio and then work from home. I guess there is a social element to the question too, but I didn’t experience the buzz in my studio building that I had envisaged. 

I know the room needs a sink to wash things, and a hard floor so I’m not have paint on carpet concerns, and there needs to be a buzz and space for people to join me for art sometimes. I don’t know if I’ll continue to want to spend some much time as home as I get stronger and to more normal mobility. 

There is a room in a stable block of a local stately home, with a high ceiling, sink, hard floor, stable,door onto a courtyard where visitors will come seasonally. That is more money, but a bigger space and less than half the distance of my current studio. I have a viewing tomorrow, I’m not sure whether it would be right or whether I don’t even need a studio. Would I go to that more as its nearer, would it inspire me as people were visiting, popping by, there are other creatives there?  

Well enough time pondering now I am going to do some art, as after all that’s where my pleasure is. Grateful for any comments or thoughts on this decision. 


Art Challenge 3 – Japanese Postage Stamp

I was delighted to see the Likes and Follows as a result of the last post – thank you for your interest in the blog and art challenges. If any of the tasks inspire you it would be great to see your creations.

Since starting the blog I have lots of ideas for art challenges popping into my mind, so was eager to get my brush on paper and complete a third challenge.

I recently found an envelope sent by my Japanese friend in 1980. The envelope had three beautiful stamps of ladies in elaborate kimonos.

Japanese Stamps 1979

I tried to get some close up pics of them whilst doing the previous challenge but had a strong urge to paint one also.

I decided that to copy the stamp didn’t feel enough of a challenge so I decided to use Inktense pencils. These were gift and something I had only had a quick dabble with. They are Ink pencils which you use as you would a normal pencil crayon and then apply water to activate the ink.

Inktense pencils

I can be a bit lazy and go straight to painting but this picture needed working out in draft with a pencil. Having chosen the stamp  to copy printed a picture of it then copied the lines in pencil.

Japanese Stamp 1979

Pencil drawing to start

I was pleased with the line drawing. Next I coloured in the drawing with the Inktense pencils as close to how the colours look once the ink is activated. I had chosen a very thick paper which did create a texture in the pencils which I was a bit disappointed with. Otherwise the pencils were good to use. I ought to have sharpened the black but at the price they are didn’t want to waste it.

Copied in Inktense pencils by KIm
Copied in Inktense pencils

I chose a tiny brush to start adding the water. I decided to do all the black areas first and enjoyed how definite the colour was once the water was added. The effect was a bit like the way a liquid eyeliner goes on. Gradually as I added the water and the colours became more definite and extremely bold.

I had set myself an hour to complete the challenge but after an hour I was still adding the water.


I would guess that in total the challenge took 90 minutes. I used a larger brush on the bigger areas and shaded and pointed to create the floral effect of the fabric.

Ta da… the final picture. I am pleased with the end result, which came out better than I had expected, bar a couple of places where the colour ran here and there.

Japanese Stamp from 1979 recreated in Inktense pencils by Kim.
Japanese Stamp from 1979 recreated in Inktense pencils by Kim.

With Inktense it is a nice process and almost like you create the picture twice. Once in pencils and then the second time painting carefully with water to activate the inks.

Thanks for reading, please share with others who may be interested.

Hmmm, wondering what the next challenge might be…