Sanctuary - My Space, My Place

As May draws to a close, a quick look to the future. With my first Open House completed, firstly huge thanks to Jessica Christie-Miller and Rosie Gifford for organising such a splendid array of treasures at 'Snug'. They were shortlisted for 'Best in Show' which is a massive achievement particularly in their first year. I am honoured and proud to have been involved so thank you.

So what's next? Without the pressure of a deadline, I have time to explore and feel my way in different directions. I have some ideas, but have to consider the limitations we all have around time and families and paying the bills etc. But, for me - I am fascinated by another constraint, our spaces and environment and the part it plays in the creative process.

As I was perusing the other Open Houses, I realised that the work I have created so far is entirely shaped by circumstances out of my control. I only paint within a formal session or tutored lesson, and I have no control over the model, type of pose or length of time I have to paint. When I visited the Open House ran by the life drawing school and saw the similarities, I realised that within that environment, it is going to be very difficult for me to break out of the small, quick, figurative formula I was pursuing. So to develop, ideally I need a space I can call my own, a studio.

For the sake of this post, I'm not interested in the Pinterest-Perfect world of huge loft spaces with wooden floors and double height windows, nor the edgy warehouses and certainly not the dear-little-shed at the bottom of the garden. I am looking to create a space in my chaotic home, which already houses a business, a charity, two kids, my long suffering other half and his record collection and large stupid dog.

Fortunately there is an attic space to be considered. But how, I wonder is this going to affect and possibly limit my paintings?

Initially, I am limited by the physical size of the space of course. It's not a huge room and the size of the loft hatch has to be considered. Yet, I am more interested in how either the domestic distractions, or perhaps solitude of the space will affect my ability to focus, literally how 'creative' and inspired will I be stuck up there on my own for hours on end.

"The notion of the 'sanctuary' sounds a bit romantic and melancholic, and there is a kind of isolation about it. My studio is the opposite of that - it’s very much a mini community. A studio seems a bit elitist and separatist - that wouldn't be my idea of a studio." - Yinka Shonibare

Essentially, I need to find my place, create a space where I feel I can truly create art with the minimum amount of constraints as possible. It may well be that in the future I find that I need a community to work within and find others to share with. Perhaps even people to collaborate with. We will see, as for now - I'm stuck with the attic (and its lifetime of stuff and clutter) lets see what happens.

"Which comes first, the mind space or the workspace? - The mind space, definitely. Everything follows from that." - Peter Macdonald.

The Attic, as it stands today.

The Attic, as it stands today.

Quotes from 'Sanctuary, Britain's Artists and their Studios' edited by Hossein Amirsadeghi. Thames and Hudson.