I always loved the sound of the word atelier. It means artist or designer studio or workshop and, for me, it conjures a special picture of what that space would look like. My dream atelier would be a very large open room with a high ceiling and a wall of windows that would allow natural light to flood into the space. Skylights would be nice, too. On the walls would be my finished canvases of bright abstract paintings. Photos and sketches would be scattered about as inspiration for new work. Shelves would be filled with books on art and literature and objets d’art. A large rough- hewn worktable, like a standing desk, and an easel displaying work in progress would be the only items occupying floor space.
I’ve seen pictures of spaces like this in the magazines, which means those spaces really do exist, not just in my dreams. The problem is that this vision of an atelier doesn’t exist in my real world. At all. Not even close.
My painting space is a corner of the basement laundry room /pantry/storage/mudroom. The inexpensive laminate table where I work is not that large. Bookshelves are tucked behind it so if I want something on the bottom shelves I have to move the table, the bin of blank canvases, the giant economy package of paper towels and anything else that I’ve stored under there that I don’t have room to put anywhere else. Laundry has to be done and out of the way before I work so I don’t get paint on anything. Either I’m very messy or exuberant when I paint. Let’s go with exuberant.
In my creativity coaching and general travels, I’ve heard so many people say that they couldn’t even begin their creative work until they created their perfect space. If I had waited for that, I would have missed quite a few years of creative work.
While my space isn’t my dream space, there are a lot of things to love about it.
My painting space is tight, but everything is within arms reach. There are no distractions – laundry rarely distracts me! – So I’m totally in the zone when I’m there, lost in a world of color splashed on canvas. It’s a retreat where I can unplug from the world for a while.
That’s my atelier. Doesn’t that sound a lot sexier than laundry room?
©Lynn Wyvill 2011