Saturday, 19 September 2015

My studio set up

Hi, everyone! I am taking a break from painting for several days now and in the meantime, I would like to share my studio scenes.

When I started to paint for the first time, I placed my props on my drawer in our guest room with light source of a small lamp and painted them at a french easel with standing position. It worked well for a while. But as my painting continues, I realized that I needed more system.  Because I was standing all the time at my easel, I often had swollen legs and back issues and also the views of my props were limited as well because the height of my drawer is same - I could have higher view points if I lifted props with boxes but I wanted have much lower views as well - like a bird eye view. So I wanted the system that would make my back and legs less hurt and have more various levels for props.

Now I have moved into a new apartment with my son and  I am using the space between a kitchen and living room as my studio. And it looks like the photo below.

I bought new easel (Alla Prima Pochade Box) that can go lower than my french easel and found a comfortable chair which works well with it as you can see in this photo. I place my painting tools on my new easel ( brushes, brush washer, paper towers and etc.) and put paint tubes and other stuffs like panels and coffee cup near on another chair .

This is a table that I call 'my painting stage' and how 'my stage' normally look like.
I am currently into painting wrapped gifts with a word in so ribbons and wrapped boxes are on it now. The colored papers on the wall is often go behind of props for added background color if needed. A lamp with an adjutable arm is good to have different light directions. It's placed on the left side now but sometimes I move it to the right, front or even at the back of props as well. I use many different sizes of wooden boxes to have various view heights. Now they are set for an eye level view when I sit on chair. And the blue box under the table is an extra storage space for my props.

I am hoping to make an auto height adjustable table for my still life set up in the future. The one that I don't need to use boxes to make the height that I want everytime I paint. I actually have a rough blueprint for it but haven't found a person who can do all the technical supports and make it for me yet.

Along with 'my painting stage', there are a side table for the props to easy access and a plastic drawer to store panels and other things.

I use a dish rack for drying my wet paintings.

This is a close shot for my easel and another side table (chair)

And these are other stuffs that I use when I am painting. From left, a flexigalss on black paper, blue paper and MDF piece and my home made view finders.

A flexiglass placed on a black paper. I sometimes put it (with the black paper) under my props to get reflections - I noticed that I tend to like the paintings that includes reflections like the ones that you would see in water scene paintings.  I think the reflections give interesting  mood so use it for that purpose for my still life set up. I haven't tried but probably a mirror might work better.

About view finders - These are home made view finders except the grey one. I use it to crop my still life scenes down and transfer it onto my panel. By using them, I know how my painting will turn out.  I made them according to Claudia Hammer's way so please check the link if you like to make one instead of buying it from a store. She explains how to make it in her blog in a great detail as well as how to apply the view finders when you paint.

And a blue paper and MDF piece. I call them 'light blockers'. I use them to block some of light to make still life objects more shadowy. It doesn't have to be blue color or MDF - any piece that is stiff enough to hold it's shape will be a good light blocker. (ex. scrap hardboards from recycling bin). And this is how I use it.

I simply put it between the boxes like this

and this is the shadow it made on props.

sometimes diagonally

sometimes I block light with a MDF piece with using two boxes.

And this is how the shadow looks like with the MDF.
The effects are the same ( using the paper or MDF) but sometimes the paper method works better and sometimes the MDF method works better, depends on still life set up.

'Green Glass Bottle' / 6x6 in / oil on Gessobord (Sold)

And this is one of my paintings that is done by using the light blocker ( left upper part  was blocked - diagonally. )  By the way, I have listed this painting on Ebay as a dollar auction for the very first time. If you are interested to bid, please click here ( sold )

I started painting after reading Carol Marine's book - 'Daily Painting: paint small and often to become a more creative, productive and successful artist. and got most of ideas from her blog and book and developed my own so please check them out. You will be glad that you did. The information in both her blog and books are fantastic.

About little bit of myself, I was born and raised in Korea and then moved to Canada around 13 years ago. So English is my second language. Even though I know how to communicate in English and have been living here for a quite long time, Korean is still my primary language. I wrote this posting in a sense that makes sense to me but if you are not sure what I am explaining and want to know, don't hesitate to leave a comment. I will be happy to describe it more. Thanks for reading !  


  1. Jiyoung, thank you SO much for your generous sharing of information both in words and photographs. I am most grateful! Some days I wonder what on earth I will paint; other days I can't imagine ever having the chance to paint all the ideas competing in my mind. I've done very few still life paintings but after reading your post more and more AND MORE ideas come to mind! The possibilities are limitless!

  2. No problem at all, Dotty. It was my pleasure and am glad that this post has given you more ideas. I also get more ideas and also inspired by reading other artists' writings and watching their paintings so I am happy that this posting did the same to you. :D Happy painting and let's keep our brushes busy !

  3. Thanks for the tour of your painting space! It's so fun to see where other artists paint. I've been following you on DPW, keep up the good work!

  4. Hi Jiyoung~ In my opinion, YOU are the hottest artist now !
    Good luck!

  5. Carole Marine's book should in the mail today, and I'm looking forward to studying it. Your experience is very encouraging. I like how you explore all the possibilities of basically the same objects. Yes, endless possibilities and a very good and dedicated work. I'm going to follow your blog :)