April 11, 2016

My Studio: Before and After

A week ago, I received some disappointing news. I had applied to a local arts and crafts show and wasn't accepted. I had a choice. I could wallow in sadness or I could do something constructive and move forward. I did let myself wallow for about 24 hours and then I decided to embark on a major cleanup of my studio.

I am a perfectionist and really do like when things look organized and pretty. Unfortunately, I don't really enjoy cleaning. I would far rather use my time to paint than clean, so things have a tendency to pile up around me. Last summer, my daughter Emma gave me a pretty white table from Ikea for my birthday. I added it to my studio without really taking the time to make it fit in. It displaced another small table which I left in the centre of everything. I had piles of paper, frames and shipping supplies on the floor. It was far from organized. Things were actually getting a little dangerous.

I've been brave and took some before photos to show you just how much my studio has changed. Some of these photos were taken in the middle of the process, so things looked even worse than at the beginning. I had pulled things into the centre of the room to go through them.

It was such a big job that I really wanted to give up about halfway through. I was physically tired and bored out of my mind. But I didn't and I'm glad I kept going. It took me a full week. Here are some photos of what my painting studio looks like now. 

I printed the Trowel & Paintbrush sign with the hope that I would be accepted to the show but I like the way it looks on the wall of my studio. I also put up a couple of my nature collection prints on the wall. I love the new blue file boxes I got at Ikea. And, of course, I have fresh flowers.

My painting table always has my paint, brushes and bits of my nature collections on it but now everything is neat and organized.

I have pretty fabric bins made by Sonia of Cozy Memories tacked on the side of my table for storage. On my bulletin board beside my table I have the Van Gogh quote: "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." There are also photos, postcards and business cards from artist friends.

I recently put my Haworth Moor print up on the wall over my bookcase as it's one of my current favourite prints. On the shelves, I have some of my nature finds, art books, magazines and illustrated children's books.

I love the Alex storage unit from Ikea. I allows me to store watercolour paper, supplies and some finished paintings. I've added a Falkhöjden shelf on top. Do you see my painting of Meeko? That's a Milou (Snowy) toy beside it. Hergé based the Milou character on a wire fox terrier but it reminds me of a certain wheaten. I made the slipcover for the daybed years ago but now it's freshly washed. Having a sofa in the studio also provides a convenient place to store full sheets of watercolour paper. You can see them peeking out at the bottom.

The dresser is where I keep my finished paintings. I have a huge number of them! To the right of it are my framed heart stones. I hot-glued some of my rock collection to the matboard of an Ikea frame. The bird nest watercolour is by Jody Edwards. To the left of the dresser is the small wooden table that was previously floating awkwardly in the middle of the room. Now it's tucked neatly against the wall. I'll use it for cutting and scoring my note cards. 

One of the final touches I made to my newly cleaned studio was to frame and put up my beautiful original watercolour of strawberries by my friend Lucile Prache. My husband gave it to me for Christmas and I love it so much. 

It feels completely different now when I climb the stairs to my studio. I feel lighter, like there's a weight off my shoulders. The air feels clearer. There's room to paint and even dance if I feel like it. Do you know what? I just might.


❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

If you'd like to browse through my art shop, it's here.


  1. Oh Kathleen, that's quite a massive task to reorganize a creative space !! And you've done a remarkable job ! Two thumbs up ! 👍👍
    I so wish I had a closed space to myself, with a sofa, and all the creative things around it ! I must do with a corner of the living room.
    Thank you ever so much for mentionning the storage buckets you had purchased from me, it warms my heart so much to see them in use in your beautiful studio ! ❤️

    1. Thanks, Sonia, for the thumbs up! I know that I am lucky to have this space. I understand your perspective. I have worked in so many different places over the years. The worst probably was a tiny windowless storage room in the basement of our first house that I made into a small painting space. I hope you get your own studio some day. Meantime, it's nice that creativity can happen anywhere. I really like that I am surrounded by art and objects made by friends. xo

  2. Dear Kathleen your studio looks lovely. All that hard work certainly made a difference. Hope now you will feel inspired and paint some of your lovely flowers. Take care and have a great week.

    1. Thanks so much, Debbie. It feels good that the big cleanup is behind me! I started painting again this afternoon. :)

  3. LOVE this! You've inspired me yet again. And I have drooled over that Ikea table every time I see it - can't imagine how wonderful it is for storing supplies and finished pieces.

    Glad to hear the reorg did you good. I think that is a very good activity choice when something has you a bit down - get busy with the hands. Now it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    1. Thanks, Lori! It's a great cabinet. It looks good and really works for storage.

      The reorganization was the perfect choice of activity. I reorganized my space and thoughts, all at once!

  4. Wow, kudos to you! I need to organize my artwork and store some of it better, but I haven't tackled it yet!


    1. It's hard to keep up with everything, Julia, but it sure feels nice to have finally organized my mess.

  5. Looks great! What an accomplishment and a perfect way to work through those feelings. Craft shows... Hmmpf...I was in that beautiful outdoor show in Bracebridge a few years back...a lovely venue and I did quite well...the next year I applied I got turned turned down or I think actually put on a waiting list...but basically the same thing. Strangely, that was my last application. Haven't really thought about it in a while and now I'm mad (well, no, just kidding!) but it still irks me to be judged like that and you never really are given a reason...so it's pretty hard not to take personally. I have a love/hate relationship with craft shows. I love meeting my customers in person..and I miss that sometimes...but the preparation of products, packaging, displays and guessing what items will sell...guessing wrong ;)...the tent take down, the unpacking of everything....yet, still wanting to another one...we should find one to do together. Remember that time years ago when we did one near you and you sold super tiny framed originals and maybe even some jewelry and I sold little stuffed cows! 💗

    1. That's one of the hardest parts--not being given a reason so your mind makes up all sorts of things. I really had my hopes up for this one. Oh well. Cleaning my studio really helped me clear out the sad feelings as well as the clutter.

      I do remember that craft show we did together years ago! It was at a little church in Saint-Bruno. Seems like a lifetime ago! I do miss the in-person interaction with people. That was one of the best parts of the trade shows I used to do, although they were physically exhausting.


Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

(Please note that comments with links to ads or commercial websites will be deleted.)



autumn (26) backyard (19) birds (17) creativity (7) family (37) flowers (32) friends (13) garden (72) gardening (7) hope (8) leaves (17) Meeko (94) nature photography (14) original watercolor (9) painting (55) paintings (34) print (12) rain (16) soft-coated Wheaten terrier (27) spring (28) studio (13) summer (12) watercolor (102) watercolour (98) winter (19)