Inside the artist's studio

Besides the chance to speak with artists in person, part of the appeal of a studio tour is the opportunity to see the place where the artist creates their work. In the Stouffville Studio Tour, the distinction between the Artist and Guest Artist is the location: Guest Artists are juried based on their work, whereas Artists are juried based on their work and studio. 

Studio Tour artist Allison Bullock is a Guest Artist at Studio #11 on the 2017 tour. Since visitors won't have the opportunity to see Allison's studio space in the fall, she has offered a virtual tour of her studio...


I've had several different studios as an artist. The earliest was at a desk in my bedroom in my parent's home (known as Studio #11!) and then in university, I had to prop my canvas against the wall of my tiny apartment and sit cross-legged on the floor to paint. In my first home, the corner of the unfinished basement was a place to store some art supplies and have a small desk with a table-top easel.

Two years ago I moved and the best part of the new house is that I have an entire room set up as an art studio...

As is evident from the first two photos, I have a lot of Ikea throw rugs. Left over from when I was a grad student and tried to hide a hideous brown carpet in my apartment, the rugs have now been re-purposed to protect the carpet in my studio.  

In the photo on the left, you can see my standing easel; adjustable so that I can have any size canvas, its the perfect height for painting. Since I tend to stand while I paint, this is an important feature. 

The monochromatic painting on the wall might be finished.... but it might not be, I'm not sure yet! The painting on the easel is a gift and will not be seen at the studio tour.

Palette and brushes

Palette and brushes

There are many different types of palette, but I prefer the 'disposable' palettes; essentially a pad of wax paper, these are really good for easy clean up. They are also great because I can tear off the paper and keep the palette for a particular painting. I tend to write down colour combinations next to the dried paint so that I have a reference if I want to revisit the painting. Sometimes I do, other times I'm not happy with one small part, but I'm terrified to 'mess up' everything if I do go back, its a difficult line to walk! 

My brushes aren't expensive. Since I use acrylic paint, they're put through a lot and I don't want to spend a lot of money on brushes that don't ten to last very long, no matter how well I clean them. I tend to buy large, mid price-range, natural hair brushes and they work well for me.  

Storage...

Storage...

Storage is always a challenge for an artist. Not only do we tend to be pack rats for things that might become part of our art (yes, I need the shoebox of broken mirror shards), or things that can help us create art (there are over 100 yogurt containers in that re-purposed tv storage unit; I use them for paint water), but where do we put our art? 

In my case, if I don't mind looking at a painting - and sometimes it is hard - I will store it on the wall. Cumbersome art, like the sculpture of my right leg that I did in my 4th year sculpture course, sometimes has to be displayed so that it isn't damaged. 

When I was a teenager, an art teacher told me that tool boxes and fishing tackle boxes were the best for storing art things, everything from pencils to exacto knives to washi tape. The tool box you see on the right was a gift and likely purchased in a hardware department. 

More storage!

More storage!

Most artists dabble in several different mediums and I am certainly one of them. In this photo is the storage for miscellaneous art making things that I've collected over a period of years. There is a container of sketchbooks, a collection of cameras, a lot of gesso and gel medium, fake fruit for still life... and a lot more.  

Yes, there is a tv in my studio. Sometimes if I'm doing something mindless, like painting the edges of a canvas or framing, I'll have the tv on for background noise. I generally don't work with it on because I find it distracting. 

The Big Table

The Big Table

I've been interested in collage recently, so that has involved collecting (hoarding?) a lot of old magazines. My desk easel has a home on this desk though it hasn't had much use since I got my larger easel. 

The drafting table...

The drafting table...

This old drafting table was gifted to me; good for working while standing or sitting, its not in the best condition so I don't feel too terrible when I get paint on it or accidentally cut it with an exacto.

Note the water glass beside the paint water container; its a risk taken by artists everywhere. Who among us hasn't accidentally dipped a paint brush into their coffee? 

Studio Cat

Studio Cat

No studio is complete without a studio animal. This is Buffy Summers partaking in her favourite past-time: lolling around on my table easel. 

That's it for my studio! And yes... its always fairly neat. Not all artists have the creative mess!