Painting Practicality - No Studio Space

I would like to start following the course, but I do not currently have a place to set up a studio where I live. My only options are to either paint outside, or perhaps to set up in my grandfather's studio. Both present problems, as far as I can see.

If I set up in my grandfather's studio, I can likely only paint for a few hours each weekend, and I am concerned that I won't be able to get anywhere since I'll have to constantly be remixing my colors each time I sit down to paint. And painting outside seems like it would engender a whole host of issues.

Should I press forward and make the attempt with one of these options, or should I wait until I have the ability to set up a dedicated studio space?


  • edited December 2022
    Hi. Welcome to the forum. Can you show us a photo of the place you could paint in? Is this really no space or small place? A minimal studio can be quite compact. We can then advise more precisely. Whatever the solution it should be as convenient as possible for daily practice. note that with slow dry medium you could finish in several sitings over two week end in a raw without having the paint drying.
  • Hi @rhastings and welcome! I paint in a small corner of the laundry room/pantry/junk room. I have a very nice stand-up easel, but find it much easier to paint on a small tabletop easel or just tape the oil paper I use to a small masonite board. My painting area is about 2x3 feet. I store the bottles of linseed oil and so on in those cheap plastic storage containers with lids. To find dryer lint on my painting surface only encourages me to become philosophical. Some days are fuller with philosophy than others. 

    I support you in finding a way to paint with your current living situation - as we all do in one way or another. Don't wait for a studio. Start enjoying painting now. 
  • rhastings

    Welcome to you.

    I understand the need for speed when you are setting up. However, delay for as long as necessary to be able to paint in an adequate, well lit and ventilated studio space.

    Mark’s DMP studio is designed to ease and speed your transition without the pitfalls that cause so many to give up. Spend a lot of time and effort setting up the studio, it will teach you a lot about painting.

    Meantime, paint on an iPad, draw with hard pastels or charcoal on newsprint. I have seen good art produced by sitting in a car with a small pochade box using premixed values in small containers.

  • @rhastings, welcome to the forum.

    Don't hold off painting while you wait for the perfect studio. It doesn't exist. If you are serious about painting, you'll paint anywhere. I used my garage before I had a studio set up. I had my easel squeezed into the narrow space between the car and the garage wall. As @dencal said, you could even do landscapes in your car. It doesn't matter where you paint. Just paint. And then, when you do get to organize a proper studio, you'll already have some learning under your belt, and you'll appreciate the dedicated space even more.  :)
  • I paint in a corner of the dining area but thankfully it isn't used a lot. The current painting is hanging on the wall (I just attached some French cleats to the back) and I pack up every night. It takes all of five minutes to put stuff out or pack up. A little longer to wash brushes.
    (Sad note of mourning: I built my own studio for woodwork, painting and brewing ales. Western red cedar, pine lined, lovely windows and view of garden with chickens pecking about. Moved and had to leave it. Sigh.)
  • @rhastings
    The studio can le made quite compact. Only thing I'm missing is the good lightning, I have one good led that light up the easel and palette. You can just use a cardbox for shadowbox. 
  • I paint at my computer desk. No desktop easel anymore either..
  • Hi everyone -- thank you for all of the inspirational and helpful comments. I definitely would have to do some rearranging even for that small space. Which I suppose is possible, but not preferable.

    Giving some consideration to the matter, I think really the crux of the problem is that I can only commit to painting once a week for a few hours. My concern is that I'll have to spend a great deal of my time remixing my paints again and again due to them drying out. How long is it practical to preserve even slow-drying oil paints like what Mark suggests we use for this course?
  • dencaldencal -
    edited December 2022

    Use the search box at top right to find snap caps or snapcaps. I use these to mix the five basic stock colours (white, brown, yellow, red, blue and black) with slow dry medium. With care, not leaving them open, the paint remains as mixed for several years. Stock colour in 75ml snap caps.
    I use the stock colour to mix my values, usually about nine steps and a complementary colour for each object in the picture, into 10ml snap caps. Fill as much as possible and use a glass marble to displace any air. Values last about six to eight weeks. Great for redoing bits and touch ups. Left overs used for toning next panel.

    Using an oil bath brush suspension system (search box: immersion) means no setup time, no pack up time and no mess or waste. Paint directly out of the snap caps and mix half tones on the panel.

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