When I am not painting outside, I am working in my studio. I live in a 1909 California Bungalow and the detached garage makes a perfect painting retreat. It is a short five-second walk from my house and is one of the centering vortexes of my life.
The inside is unfinished: open studs and black tar paper with peg board on the walls. The floor is concrete with area rugs. The space is dedicated to comfortable utility. Director's chairs, sawhorse tables, Ikea tables, industrial shelving and some handmade wooden shelves provide an excellent workspace for minimal expense.
It is important to have a space in your life dedicated to your art. For years I worked on the dining room table in my house, and while I still had to clean-up when I was finished with a painting session, it served the emotional function of being my art place. From the dining table I moved to take over a part of the living room, and was able to finally set everything up permanently.
After a couple of years I out grew that space and moved out to the garage. It was a little intimidating at first: it was cold, dark, cluttered and dusty. But I started in one corner and made it my own. Soon it was clean, well organized and well-lit thanks to a few clip-on lights from the hardware store and a couple of used Luxo's. Gradually, I cleaned out the rest of the garage, getting rid of everything I hadn't used in a year. I was striving for Zen simplicity and that mindset helped me say goodbye to a lot of useless items.
Now it is a fully functioning art studio, man cave, lair, cigar hangout, and retreat.