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Ideas On What Makes A Perfect Artists Studio Space

Ideas On What Makes A Perfect Artists Studio Space

In the world of artistic creation, the studio workspace becomes an extension of the artist's soul. In this place, imagination flourishes, and masterpieces are conceived. Collette Fergus, an accomplished artist from Hamilton, New Zealand, graciously opens the door to her creative sanctuary, shedding light on the nuanced aspects of designing an artist's studio.


Throughout her artistic journey, Collette has inhabited a spectrum of spaces, each contributing uniquely to her creative process. In her teenage years, she found herself in an enchanting single-room space in her neighbour's backyard, where her artistic ambitions first sprouted. Over the years, she transitioned to spare rooms in shared flats, adapting her surroundings to accommodate her creative pursuits, which, although not always ideal, was workable for most of the time.


Today, Collette primarily operates from her extended dining room, a space bathed in natural light. This choice affords her the dual benefits of artistic productivity and the ability to be present for her children. However, she anticipates relocating to a more spacious, purpose-built studio in the near future, underscoring the fluid nature of artists' workspaces.

Her current studio, a converted single-car garage, has its merits but also poses challenges. Extreme temperature fluctuations make it conducive only during the transitional seasons, necessitating alternative arrangements during the harsh cold of winter and the scorching heat of summer. Furthermore, the garage's limited natural light requires Collette to rely extensively on artificial lighting, impacting the perception of specific paint colours.

Ideas for Artists Studios

Nonetheless, the studio boasts ample storage space, which has been thoughtfully optimised for drying racks and canvas storage. Five easels, including table-top and free-standing varieties, grace the area, each serving its unique purpose. A mobile stool, a relic from Collette's hairdressing days, makes for easy mobility around the studio and between easels.

Collette's studio organisation extends to a transparent hanging rack, housing her paint tubes, categorically sorted by colour, streamlining her creative process. Brushes find their place in upright jars, with select favourites resting in a versatile holder that transitions from wallet to free-standing display. Some hang in the cleaning rack where they dry without the risk of ruining their shape and form. A mobile bench-top, complete with drawers, is a versatile companion, offering convenience while working at the easel or larger table.


Also included as a quintessential element in a functional studio, Collette emphasises the importance of a sink with running water for maintaining a tidy workspace in the wake of artistic chaos. However, beyond this essential, the layout and contents of an artist's studio remain deeply personal choices, each tailored to the individual's unique creative process.

Collette Fergus's studio journey exemplifies the fluidity and adaptability that define artists' workspaces. Her insights testify to the significance of lighting, storage, and functionality in crafting a space where artistic dreams come to life.

When it comes to creating an ideal artist's studio, involves careful consideration of the various elements that enhance creativity, organisation, and productivity. 

List of Studio Ideals

If you're planning a studio for your creative process, then here's a comprehensive list of essential items and features for an artist's studio:

  1. Ample Natural Light: Adequate, diffused natural light is a crucial element for accurate colour perception and comfortable working conditions. If it's possible, then large windows or skylights are ideal.
  2. Artificial Lighting: If you have no other choice, then high-quality, adjustable lighting fixtures to supplement natural light will do, as long as they provide consistent illumination throughout the day and evening.
  3. Easels: Good quality, sturdy, adjustable easels to accommodate different canvas sizes and types of artwork.
  4. Storage Solutions: Adequate storage for your art supplies, canvases, paper, and finished artwork. Consider putting in shelves, drawers, cabinets, and wall-mounted storage.
  5. Work Tables: Spacious work surfaces for sketching, painting, or other creative processes. Also, adjustable tables can be a versatile addition to various projects.
  6. Sink with Running Water: A sink for cleaning brushes, palettes, and other tools, making it easier to maintain a clean workspace is the ultimate.
  7. Comfortable Seating: Ergonomic chairs or stools to provide comfort during extended work hours will make things easier, too.
  8. Ventilation: Proper ventilation or air filtration systems are vital to remove fumes from paints, solvents, and other materials.
  9. Drying Racks: Racks or designated spaces for drying paintings and art materials will make life easier.
  10. Brush Holders: Containers or jars can be beneficial to organise and store brushes upright.
  11. Palette: Non-absorbent palettes for mixing and blending paints.
  12. Paint Storage: A system to organise and access paints easily, such as a transparent hanging rack or shelving.
  13. Reference Material: Shelves or storage for art books, magazines, and reference materials for inspiration.
  14. Drawing Boards: Drafting or drawing boards for sketching and detailed work.
  15. Cabinets and Drawers: Secure storage for valuable or delicate art supplies, including pastels, pencils, and small tools.
  16. Comfortable Flooring: Durable and comfortable flooring, such as anti-fatigue mats, to reduce strain during long hours of work.
  17. Music or Audio Setup: A music system, speakers, or headphones for creative inspiration and focus.
  18. Mirror: A mirror can be handy for self-portrait work or checking compositions.
  19. Digital Tools: A computer or digital tablet for digital art, research, and reference images.
  20. Inspiration Board: A dedicated space to display sketches, reference images, and ideas for ongoing projects.
  21. Waste Management: Trash and recycling bins are conveniently placed for disposing of used materials.
  22. Gallery Space: If desired, a portion of the studio that is dedicated to displaying finished artwork for personal enjoyment or potential buyers.
  23. Personal Touches: Decorative items, plants, or personal mementos to make the studio feel inviting and inspiring.
  24. Temperature Control: Climate control options to maintain a comfortable working temperature year-round.
  25. Security Measures: Consider appropriate security measures to protect valuable artwork and supplies.

The ideal artist's studio can vary greatly depending on the artist's medium, style, and personal preferences. These are just general suggestions. Tailoring the space to suit your individual needs and creative processes is the key to fostering a productive and inspiring environment.

Collette encourages aspiring artists to explore the studios of others, both in person and through online resources. A virtual journey through Google Images, under the search term 'artists' studios,' unveils a tapestry of artistic workspaces, offering inspiration and insights into the diverse ways artists configure their sanctuaries.

Or take a look at some famous artists studios here.

Posted: Monday 8 March 2010


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Don't forget to take a look at more of New Zealand contemporary artist's work in Collette's Online Galleries