1. It doesn't have to be very large at all. I like working in small spaces and even an eight or nine square foot room would probably be sufficient for me. This also means I don't need a really expensive space because I'm comfortable with something so tiny.
2. It does need natural light, and lots of it. I like small spaces just fine, but only if I can see out into the big wide world and big wide sky. Besides that, I find painting better with natural light. I remember looking at the studios in the basement of Art Central in Calgary and recoiling at the idea. I can do small...but not dark. I'm not a toad.
3. Accessibility. I don't want to add some monstrous commute to my day. This is a really difficult task to accomplish in London as the average commute is an hour, give or take ten minutes. I know I've been hugely lucky to get a temp job that's only a twenty minute tube ride away from my house. I also know that I love the accessibility of painting in in my room at home. So if I'm gonna go for studio space, it has to be reasonably close so it feels like 'going to the office' (But much more satisfying of course) without some long, convoluted and difficult journey to get there.
Course, I've just said I've got my room and my room is very nice...but I sleep there.
Tip for a good life: Don't sleep where you work. In fact, you shouldn't do anything but sleep in your bedroom. It's a proven fact that it's healthier and allows your mind to rest more if your bedroom is just a bedroom.
Besides that, I'm a neat person. I wasn't always, but I am now and it's important to me. I like things to be tidy and I like things to be organised. But when I'm painting, I don't care. And when I'm working on something I want to feel that uninhibited freedom that comes with knowing I can shut the door on the mess and just walk away.
So I went and looked at a studio in Wimbledon. The Wimbledon Art Studio, as it is so aptly named. It's about a thirty minute walk from my house, fifteen minutes if I had a bike or decided to use Boris' Cycle scheme, along a road that follows a cemetery. Get to the end of the road and there's a miniature round-about and then a small detour around some industrial areas and viola.
There are two different buildings. One is a converted warehouse with skylight windows and the other (Pictured above) is all newly built studios. They come in perfect little sizes that I love and they have fantastic windows that let in lots of gorgeous sunlight. They're also very reasonably priced with no hidden added costs.
Always with that darn 'But'. It loomed over me as I spoke with the studio owner and he told me about the fabulous perks: Two open showings a year with an income of over one hundred thousand. Galleries from all over London, private collectors, a showcase of ten of your pieces on the studio website... it's no wonder they have a wait list.
Oh, and I can't afford their reasonable price. Not on what I make, not even close. Well, unless it was the only thing I spent my money on.
Still, I'm glad I looked. I'm glad I actually took the time to consider a studio, even if I know this was the cheapest one that ticked all my boxes and anything else I might have been interested in would be twice or triple the price. It's a good job I'm going to take a digital design course. Perhaps then I'll have enough cash to justify such a glorious workspace.