Owner’s Story: The Painting Studio
Sal’s painting studio is a short stroll from her back door across the well-manicured lawn, fringed with swaying cottage planting, but it could be miles away…
Natural light floods in. Canvases adorn the facing and right walls at various stages of development. Two double cupboards run the length of the left wall. Its glass top creates a huge painter’s palette dotted with a kaleidoscope of oils. A tiny printed sign leans up against the window with the words:
“Kids keep out…I’m painting your inheritance.”
Sal is in her element. She loads her brush and flits from work to work.
“I work with one colour, layer up and swap from one to another. It’s about putting on and taking off the layers of paint. I don’t know when they will be finished – they have to arrive!”
The paintings all have a very textured quality and the subject is always a figure, usually a woman caught in the moment, in a doorway or a corridor.
“She’s there but emerging from a background”
Sal used to live in Cornwall and painted seascapes. She showed us one work called “Stormy Seas” which she painted from memory and is clearly influenced by the Impressionists.
So, when did Sal start painting ghostly figures?
Sal used to work in a stately home as a housekeeper and painted in her spare time.
She painted from imagination. The resulting paintings were glimpses of female servants from a bygone era going about their work.
It was only when Sal showed some of the paintings at an exhibition that one of the locals identified one of the characters she had painted as being one of the former servants of the house in which she worked.
Sal continues to use the same process to paint and allows the figures to emerge from the canvas wearing Edwardian hats, petticoats or uniforms typical of life below stairs.
If Sal was in need of any further inspiration the family’s dogs play fight on the grass, the bee-friendly lavenders and salvias nod in the breeze, while a red kite circles overhead.
The Family Friendly Studio Pavilion
The Studio Pavilion or Shoffice Plus (as it is affectionally known to the Malvern Garden Buildings team) is a favourite with families offering extra room to work from home and fitting neatly parallel to a boundary fence.
Sal admits she always wanted a studio of her own. The adjacent storage shed helps keep the family’s belongings in order. The open area is an added bonus where the family and their friends can sit and eat together – made all the more special when husband Jason fires up the pizza oven!
Sal also gets to indulge her other passion – gardening – and still have her guests and family close to give a hand with the weeding!
How to set up your own painting studio
Is it time you dusted off the easel and give yourself the space to grow as an artist?
- Choose your wall colour
Be mindful that the colour you choose might influence your work. White is versatile and won’t skew your work towards a particular colour palette or go for dark walls to foster Rembrandt style masterpieces.
- Find the right light
Natural light is very appealing but may change throughout the day. LED lights are a good option to light your studio as they are energy efficient, bright but cool.
- Think about storage
Keeping clutter to a minimum is a must to create a productive, calming workspace. When picking out furniture choose items that double as storage. Shelving is also a good option for reference books and houseplants. This will also serve to keep the floor clear allowing free movement throughout the space.
- Health & Safety
With small children around it’s important to be able to keep oils and acrylics that may contain toxic chemicals out of reach. A painting studio in the garden with a lockable door gives you this peace of mind.