3 Jun

During the Creative Process

Paris Studio Makeover Part I/The Inside Scoop

A studio in Paris.  The things dreams are made of….
A studio in Kentucky.
Brings to mind the importance of being very specific in your dreams:)))….Kidding!
I love my Paris, KY home:)
My Paris studio is petite, with sloped ceilings and a west facing window.

Over the course of the years I have called many places “studio”.  From shared lease spaces to custom built ones and many spots in between, I have had the occasion to visit many an artist’s studio—and what I have learned is this.
The size or impressive nature of the studio has little bearing on what will happen there.
 I have seen grand studios rarely used and tiny bedrooms become the breeding ground for amazing art.
I have treasured each space I have had, beginning with my first art table many years ago–a first move up from the kitchen table.  (It meant I didn’t have to put my stuff away every time so that we could eat:))

I truly believe the greatest purpose our space serves is the signal to our hearts that we are literally making room in our lives for our gifts!

This is my 12th studio space.  When I moved in it, I had lots of non-art things going on in my life.  My studio space just kind of happened without much thought on my part.  Which is what led to…..

back in February when I had the insane idea inspiration to makeover my studio,  I needed a dump truck sized scoop in order to even think about digging into it.  Deciding that I wanted to replace the carpet with bamboo flooring meant everything had to come out…..(remember my storage tub debacle? Click here to revisit the story on that;))

Anyway…Ask any artist and they will tell you
painting requires LOTS of tools.

Translation?? A long held belief that if we artists can just get our hands on the right brush easel paint paper canvas medium book viewfinder color chart camera pochade box panel carrier umbrella camping stool mahl stick wet panel carrier french easel gorilla box scraper palette knife varnish gesso marble dust fan brush paint jar… THEN we will become the best painter in the universe:))

So like I was saying,   I was needing to eliminate a few thing before starting the makeover:)) One of my artist friends emailed and asked me to share how I waded through the clearing out portion of the project:))

The cleaning out already in progress….

Here’s how I decided what to keep, what to eliminate and how I made peace with it:))
Some of you may be appalled with my choices.  I have friends who can’t stand to cut anything out of their art magazines….let alone (gasp!) get rid of them–  I, on the other hand, have moved so many times that every time I have packed/unpacked an art book or magazine that I hadn’t cracked since the last move– had begun to question just why was I hanging on to all this stuff.  The truth is, as artists, we pass through many phases on our journey to becoming.  Our tastes and interests change.

Just because we loved it once doesn’t mean we are forever married to it:))

Solution:  Magazines–I only kept those that were of extreme interest to me.  If it was only one article that I felt I had to keep, I clipped it out and stuck it in an art book of similar topic.
Books–I generally know which ones are now old hat to me and no longer serving me.  I let them go into the hands of those who are seeking exactly that information now—this included a lot of watercolor books:))
What about unfinished paintings?  Or ones that are finished but never quite made the cut?
Solution: If they elicited a shudder, I put them straight in the garbage bag.  If they had some redeeming value …. I scraped my signature off and sent them to Goodwill:))
What about random, once used but now sidelined items….and even sentimental items that once held significance, but there’s simply  no room for them due to size?
Solution: On the sentimental stuff, I took photos and let the items go.  I held fast to my sister’s mantra….if I don’t know what to do with it now, why leave it for my kids to have to sort through when I’m gone:))
Frame styles that reflect a past me, mat cutters from my distant watercolor days, pochade boxes that no longer suited me….all were bid a fond farewell.  I also threw out tons of old photo reference that no longer reflected my interest and were of questionable quality to begin with:))
The more I purged, the lighter I felt.  There are some awesome things about streamlining your artistic life.  One is sharing the “wealth” with others (I had a gazillion stretched canvases that I gave to a friend since I really like to paint only on panels these days)!  The other is the enjoyment of having ready access and really seeing the things you do love and use in your studio—no digging past a bunch of unused, untouched stuff.
It was simply the joy of starting over with an (almost) fresh canvas:))
All of my still life objects found a new home on these DIY shelves from Target.  They are stored in the storage area just off my studio for easy viewing and access:)

My easel, a few frames and my old jewelry chest underwent some shabby chic treatment:))

The above are prints that I framed without glass–I didn’t want the reflection and did want the feeling of an original:))

….Eddie doing some on the job inspection.
After packing, purging, painting, polishing and the likes….it was now time for the lipstick portion of the makeover.  Time to surround myself with things that I love, things that inspire:))  In other words…time for Part II of the Paris Studio Makeover
(to be continued)
Dreama Tolle Perry Log
Leave a reply

    Leave a Comment

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Read more conversations
  1. Anne B Hudson

    I love this artist’s work. Take a look for yourself…Dreama Perry Tolle. She’s in Paris, KY.

  2. Thank you for sharing! I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because my little spare bedroom now studio is only 10’x 10′. But I’m blessed to no longer have to put it all away every time! I’m going to do a reorganization myself, and a big purge – if I haven’t touched it in 12 months it’s going away (I know I’ll be surprised at how much stuff is in that category).

  3. Thanks for giving us a peek inside Dreama’s space. I have been working on a new space but it is as yet a pipe dream.

  4. What a wonderful working area.

    I have this terrible inability to throw things out. My husband says I’m a magpie.

    Has Eddie had any painting mishaps. The number of times an animal, particularly a cat, has managed to get paint on them from getting in my way while I’m painting!

    • Of course Eddie has had a few run ins with paint Catherine:)) I do my best to run him out of the studio when I am not present in order to keep it down to a minimum. All incidents have involved him jumping on the palette in order to get his head rubbed…..:))

  5. I love this post Dreama…SO GLAD you shared it! I have simplified my life in every other way…now it’s time for the studio and you have given me a gift…’inspiration.’ Thank you so much…you are a gem:))

  6. lois

    I’m curious, like Suzy. Do u use the jewelry chest for art supplies? If so, what d u use those necklace hooks for?

    P.S. Will u come purge my studio? Pretty please?

    • Lois–pictures to come next time:) Where do you live?? Kidding:))

  7. I did the same thing this weekend. Switched bedrooms with my kids so that I could have the huge bedroom/studio. It feels wonderful to finally have a space for paintings to dry,and leaving everything out. Okay the paint smells a bit but I use water mixable oils.

    My husband doesn’t mind as long as he has a bed! Men know the meaning of simplify!

    Oh, and the truck comment was most likely from a sanitation worker. He’s getting a “heads up” that there may be some good “pickins” at your house!

    • Denise–I bet you are right on the truck;)) That is wonderful that you have an understanding spouse that’s supportive of you doing your work! Enjoy that space!!

  8. we are trying to do this in our home..and i need to do it in my art room too! I am curious..what do you keep in your jewelry chest? i supposed you put art supplies in it..since it is there with your easel, etc.
    i need to check out the panels you use too!
    your floor looks awesome!

    • Suzy–I’ll post photos of what I have in it on my next installment on the Studio Makeover:)) My main reason for selecting it was to be able to use it as a holder for my monitor, which I use when painting from photos:))

  9. June

    I love, love, love this post, Dreama. So synchronistically timed, too. I need my crafts studio cleared away, cleaned up in a major way, but, like you so perfectly expressed, I’ve always been one of those ‘I can’t throw this away just yet…i might need it, so let’s keep it for another couple of years, okay?’ Art magazines, craft magazines, jars, boxes (shoe boxes, plastic boxes), brushes, paint pots with just the teeny tiniest amount of ‘the perfect colour that’s so hard to find anywhere else’ still left in the jar (that’s probably unusable or dried up by this stage)…you name it, it’s probably in that room!

    I love taking a peek inside the studio of one of my favourite artists – you! It’s such a beautiful space – I love the flooring, and I love that jewellery chest. It’s an inspiration in itself looking at how beautiful your studio is. Not to mention motivational – as in me, purging and clearing out stuff that I know I really don’t need and would make my work space so much more comfortable than it is now.

    My favourite part of this post (and I love all of it and have already re-read it several time for further inspiration and motivation) is where you wrote about it now being time to surround yourself with things that you love, and things that inspire you. Beautiful!

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Dreama. I’m eagerly and excitedly waiting for the next installment of ‘The Inside Scoop.’

    • June–thanks so much–your comments are always fun to read:)) I’ll do my best to make Part II as entertaining:)))

  10. O. M. G. woman! This is the voice of reason I’m SO GLAD TO HEAR! I’ve been a fan of “simplifying your life” for the last decade. Every Navy move we had, I purged stuff like crazy. Four years ago this August, when we moved into our current house (our ‘permanent’ house as we’ve left the Navy after 26 years) I parted with lots of art supplies, all my pastels, etc. as I wanted to really focus on oils. I find that it is an ongoing quest- never ends, as new things always find a way in. And you’ve addressed the issues that I still get stuck on- too many magazines, books, old paintings, old frames, etc. etc. I’ll part with some, and now it seems like “the rabbits have reproduced” here in my studio. It’s over flowing again & time for another MAJOR purge of stuff. I do have a neighbor coming over for one of my old pochade boxes that I don’t use any more, yippee, that’s a start! THANK YOU SO MUCH for the inspiration! I can’t say enough how you hit my biggest issue today! Can’t wait to read part 2! Please tell me- what did you re-paint the (formerly?) gold frames with to make them that grayed-white? I love that look! I have a big dark side-board in my studio for storage & it needs a paint job too! Did you treat them both the same way? Thanks a million for this post Dreama!

    • Roxanne! You are so welcome:))) I think you were my inspiration for detailing out the “what to do with all this stuff” process–if I remember you wrote me back a couple of months ago asking me what I did with all the stuff in those tubs:))

      I will share the details for the furniture/frame technique in the Part II post. It’s simple and affordable. I did all my pieces for about $40 worth of supplies and have plenty left over. Which I will give away and not let the clutter begin again;;;)))

  11. Love the new look & the tips on purging our excess so we can let go of the guilt ! As always, LOVE your art & I anticipate it’s going to climb to new heights once the make-over studio is christened 🙂 Thanks for sharing so much of you !

    • Cinthia–you are so welcome! And thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. It’s good for all of us to have our place to do our stuff:))) That’s why we’re here!!

  12. What a GREAT post! I know it took a long time to compose and I, for one, so appreciate it! Love what you said about giving yourself the gift of a place to create the gift you want to share. That is so true. Thanks for sharing your gift!!

    • Kathy–thanks so much! It was a bit of a process putting it together (both the studio and the posts:)) but fun to share it all here, online! Hopefully, it provides some inspiration to others on how they can make their space…THEIR SPACE:)))

  13. It is lovely! Thanks for sharing your space with us. Look forward to seeing the paintings that come from this new studio 🙂

  14. Fine informations for me personally. Your posting features handy.

    • Okay–we have a random comment from a truck company. Gonna leave it so you can see, if I do delete a comment from time to time, they are usually odd ones like this. I had a company selling blinds leave a nonsensical one on a window painting a few weeks back. I like for the comments to post as soon as you write them, so I choose to not prescreen, but then you get the funny ones like this sometimes:)))

  15. Dreama- I love what you said about not having to put your supplies away every time you use them!

    This year for the first time- I have a little studio room in my house and it makes a HUGE difference. Being able to plop down and paint at any time has made me much more productive.

    Your studio is beautiful! Thanks for letting us have a sneaky peek. 🙂

    • Addie–it’s the truth! Having to pull stuff out and put it away can become a barrier to even doing it at all. It’s job one to make a space, a corner, a table for doing your work.

      Glad you enjoyed the post….I’m happy to share my little corner of the world with you:))

  16. I know that feeling! I just know that out there somewhere is the right brush easel paint paper canvas medium book viewfinder color chart camera pochade box panel carrier umbrella camping stool mahl stick wet panel carrier french easel gorilla box scraper palette knife varnish gesso marble dust fan brush paint jar! I’m sure my good friends, Aaron, Dick or Jerry have it, too. So I continue looking.

    As for the new studio, I’m green with envy. Of course, it’s a lovely shade of sap green.

    • Dave…no need to be sap green with envy. YOU TOO CAN TOSS OUT HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF STUFF:)) You know, those things that, at the time, seemed the sure fire ticket to the glorious painting experience envisioned in your head;)) I have some 40 gallon tubs I can loan you….

Follow along

Follow along on my social accounts for behind the scenes peeks, inspiration, tips, stories & more.