Thursday, June 18, 2009

Working in a Small Space

Juicy Fruits
16x12, collage of hand painted papers on panel

Today I finished up working on this juicy orange and started a juicy mango. These are both Florida images; the panels were sketched and under-painted when I left home in the RV last week. I had to bring prepared panels with me in order to make the most of my small space. My husband is a photographer and has been taking some great shots here that I will use for more new work next week when we are at the beach.

Usually I have my entire 10x12 art studio and all of its contents available to me. This week I am working from the RV on this road trip we have taken from Florida to Arizona! (See older posts as to how I packed and color organized my hand-painted papers for my small space). In addition to the packing my hand-painted papers, I transferred both clear gesso and acrylic gel medium to smaller tupperware containers and packed them along with two paint brushes and the plastic cups from my Paas Easter Egg Coloring Kit. These cups nest together and take very little space but work great for washing brushes and watering down fluid acrylics. I brought a few paints in the event that I have to paint some papers for just the right color. If you remember, when we were in Hawai'i I painted all of the hotel literature and used it in my Kona Coffee collage. After all, it's hard to resist literature that is printed on such nice paper!

I am also trying to take advantage of my scrap box. I brought along a shoe boxed size container of all my mid sized paper scraps from previous collages, which offers quite an array of papers in a small container, great for traveling. Be sure to save your scraps!

The first few days on the road I was unproductive as we were driving most of the day, arriving late and leaving early. The past few days we were moving at a slower pace since we reached our destination of Arizona and took time to enjoy the town of Williams and the Grand Canyon.

For this trip I made a point of bringing small panels to work on so that I did not exceed the space I have available to me in the RV. I did bring along a stick easel but I found working at the table or at the counter top was easier than trying to set up an easel. I packed all my supplies under the flip up bed. Luckily the paper can be smushed and crushed to fit into a small space! 


  1. What a good lesson on making work in a small studio. I think that many would-be artists don't work because they don't have a real studio, whatever that is, but you're proving that you can work anywhere, including your kitchen table even though you'll need to put away your things for every meal, and you can work under all sorts of circumstances, including times when you're packed into the space with 3 other people. We don't need many supplies to make art, but what we do need is a plan that fits our circumstances, a tangible goal, and the commitment to make it happen.

  2. I admire how organized you are! The photos in the previous posts are gorgeous.
    Sedona, AZ., one of my most favorite places on this earth. There is such calm there- go climbing- there is a place off Airport Rd. It'll just blow you away. The quiet and peace is unimaginable.
    ok-ok- enough-
    Looking forward to seeing more.
    Loved the info about Cadillac Ranch!


  3. Looks like you've got exactly enough room to work in your RV, and you've packed a nice selection of exactly the right papers -- the orage looks luscious! Hope we'll see a paper painting of one of those striking Painted Desert pictures -- the Painted Desert was painted white the one time I was there.

  4. Many artists do feel that if they do not have a large dedicated space in which to create, that they cannot make art. Before I built my studio, I had a section of the garage that my husband enclosed and added A/C to for me. It was very small, but I was thankful to have it because it allowed me to set up my supplies and leave them out, not having to clean up a common area of the house. Prior to the garage, I did work in the house and I will admit that that the level of work I was producing was much less than I do now. I agree with Jo, when you make a plan that fits your circumstances and a commitment to make it happen, creating art becomes a snowball effect. For me, I started slow and now I am rolling down that mountain! When you take the time to make art, you will be motivated and you will find ways to work within your limitations to make more art!

    Give it a try, start with a small canvas on your kitchen table, once you get rolling, you will find ways to reach your tangible goal.

    On a side note, Sedona is amazingly beautiful and I will upload more photos shortly!!

  5. Wonderful post! I'm leaving for Hawaii for a month, and am taking a few supplies with me. Hopefully I will be productive while I'm gone, as you are when you are on the road. You really have it down to (hehe) an art!

  6. I do have it down to an art! LOL good luck and enjoy Hawaii, one of my favorite places. I painted there too, actually made papers in my hotel room in Maui!


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