Art Studio Make-over!

All journeys begin with a small step, right? My studio was a chronic mess. Part of me relished the ability to leave it that way, but on the other hand…too much mess was paralyzing to my process.

When you can’t find the tools you need, it’s hard to be productive.

The proverbial snowball began to roll down the hill a few months ago when I purchased a set of flat files on Craig’s List. I thought it would be a great way to organize and store the many types of papers I use in my watercolor painting. When I got my flat files home and loaded them with things that needed a “place”, it was the best feeling! I wanted MORE!!!!

I love organization…it gives my somewhat manic psyche a sense of peace and the ability to rest…
on the other hand, the best thing about having a studio is being able to leave it a mess. I go back and forth between my love of organization and my capacity to make a mess constantly. It’s the yin and yang of my artistic existential experience.

My studio is in an ideal space…set apart from the house but located at home. It’s spacious and I can leave it a mess. I LOVE THAT. The only problem is that it’s on my 3rd floor…so lots of steps. The idea of organizing my studio began to become more appealing as the amount of materials grew. With the flat files in place, more storage seemed like a good idea. I had my son screw in some 2X2 furring strips from Lowe’s. My hope was to get my pieces that were ” in progress” off the floor. This did not work very well. I didn’t like poking holes in the paper to tack them to the furring strips, and I couldn’t find a good way to hang them without tacks.

After stalking Pinterest, I decided to put up some pegboard. I began by measuring my space. Then I went to Lowe’s and got some pegboard. I had already attached 2X2 furring strips to the walls where I wanted the pegboard to go. When I got the pegboard, I had them cut it at the store to fit the dimensions of my walls. I decided to do 2 of the 3 walls that surround my work table. Then I began to shop for things use in order to hang stuff on the walls. OMG…so much to choose from if you are near an IKEA, but I’m not…I only had Lowe’s. So I had to get a little creative.
Shelves were needed, but they couldn’t be too heavy. I used long hooks to support small shelves…you can see them in some of the photos in this blog. Take my word for it…it works!

I wanted to spool ribbon, so I used dowels and a hook

I had all kinds of scissors to organize, so I stuck them here.

This is what I did with my Cricut and Cuttlebug. ( Note the gift portrait from Janet Rogers! A souvenir of time spent with an inspirational artist and lovely person. A reminder to myself of the generous teaching that I’ve been the recipient of…Thanks again Janet!)

Then came my art materials:

Acrylic Paints: I have them sorted into colors now and my brushes in general groupings of orientals (in the basket on the wall) and cheap/little brushes. My new awesome set of Isacryl acrylic brushes are sitting in the jar on the table…Love them!

Watercolorsand palettes: Note the fact that this is an Ikea table with a TV stand sitting on top. i have my watercolor paints in bags sorted according to colors again…
Collage papers- Hung in bags according to color families are hanging on a line in bags sorted into color families.

My cutting station is also pictured below: on top of my flat files

My work table- an old dining table we have had since we first got married supporting an old corian island countertop which we removed from our kitchen and just set on top of the table. I have covered the top with freezer paper and plastic. I have a step ladder near my right hand so I can set a palette on top of it or sometimes my water bucket will sit there.

This shelf holds some other things: stamps and Acrylic Mediums,Glues, fixatives, spray paints, gouache, oil and watercolor pastels, charcoal, etc.
This is a very important “note to self” about what to do prior to framing any piece of work…you’d be amazed (and I’d be embarrassed to admit) how many times I’ve gone to the frame shop and forgotten one or more of these steps.

The finished space- Overhead lighting from 4 canned lights and 2 Solatubes, since I have no windows. I also have 2 table lights for cloudy days or night-time work.

I am all about sharing what I’ve learned. It’s one of the things I love about teaching…the opportunity to share the things others have shared with me. Nothing I know is original…it’s all wisdom someone else has taken the time to share. If y

Feel free to share this blog post on your own blog or website, but I ask that you you include:

Rebecca Zdybel is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Follow her and see her work at’re at all inspired or have some other great ideas to share with me, leave me a comment or pin this to your website or pinterest board! Happy organizing everyone!

Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at

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