A (Very) Brief Tour of my Motorhome-Based Studio

It’s been three years since I began this blog and three and a half years since I unsubscribed from society and embraced my vagabonding ways. Yet, I suspect these are the first photos of me in my studio nook. As you can see, my table is rather petite, approximately 70x70cm.Nellie Windmill Mixed Media Artist 2

Nellie Windmill Mixed Media Artist

When I paint, I only take out the art supplies I need and leave the rest in the cupboard to save table real estate. I recently tricked out my studio nook with an easel and an OttLite natural daylight lamp, which has drastically improved working conditions around here.

Nettle Art Supplies 2

When we moved to Europe from Australia, Mike’s backpack was 80% tech and mine 80% art supplies; reflecting our respective passions. I’ve since reorganised, and condensed all of my art supplies (not including my substrates and sketchbooks) into one overhead cupboard and niche.

Dangers & Annoyances

There are certain challenges to one’s studio being the corner of a motorhome. The other day, I tried a new varnish inside. As soon as I began applying it I realised it was one of those super stinky solvent-based varnishes and that I was probably taking our very lives – or at the very least our lung-health – into my hands by using it in a not very well-ventilated motorhome. I cracked open a window and resolved not to do that again. Later, when I was attempting to wash the varnish out of the new sponge with only water (I don’t own any paint thinner), I got it all over my hands before remembering that it contains a toxic level of anti-mould agent and one should avoid skin contact. That night, when cooking dinner on our gas stove (after washing my hands several times) I could smell something like methylated spirits. I looked suspiciously over at the bottle of varnish, sitting guiltily on the table, but couldn’t imagine how it could be related. When it happened a second time and Mike said he could smell it too I decided it warranted a Google. Turns out that smell was the *fumes* of the varnish burning off in the gas flame! That’s not cool.

I think this arrangement has worked for me for three and a half years for two reasons. Firstly, I’m a naturally neat person. My mum always says that she never had to tell me to tidy my room and my older brother always knew he could rile me up by jumping on my newly made bed. Secondly, I seem to thrive when given limitations. Since living in Nettle, I’ve limited the mediums in which I work, my colour palette and the substrates I use. These aren’t hardships for me, they’re a source of creativity. The greatest block to creativity I can imagine would be to have all the materials in the world, in every possible colour, and infinite time and freedom to create whatever you choose.

At the moment, Studio Nettle has as much space as I need because the need for a bigger studio won’t manifest until I have a bigger studio. I’ve shrunk into this studio nook and I’ll grow into the next.

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