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I finally have a studio, built just for that purpose.  Yipee!

Diferent art activities require diferent spaces and painters get off reasonably lightly.  I would need a pottery or a foundry for craft or sculpture, but as a painter, I need a little space to scribble and daub and somewhere to store materials and the resulting art.  If only it where that simple. Of course light is important and so is the ability to have some control over temperature and relative humidity, wherever you store your work.

As a schoolboy, I was happy to use the dining room table, which we only ate at for Christmas dinner and to store stuff under the bed or on top of the wardrobe.  I even had paints given to me by my secondary school school, after I'd been caught nicking them.  As an art student, things were much the same, with the advantage of studio space at college, a student grant and an annual supply of paint and canvas.  Those were the days. 

After finally getting a degree in Fine Art, Painting, I had a little studio in Cornwall, selling portraits and watercolours, whilst starving in a 10 x 6 feet caravan in Carbis Bay.  I returned to my home town of Liverpool, to sensibly learn the skills which would enable me to become a teacher.  I got a job teaching in a boarding school in Somerset, where I lived either in or near the school. My art room was large enough for me to have a little corner to paint in and cleaning Sir's palette proved an effective punishment. 

Five years of full-time teaching and boarding school duties allowed little time for my own painting and I produced very little.  Moving into museum work offered more flexibility, but I had nowhere to paint and my heart really wasn't in it.  A course which we organised for Oxfordshire Art teachers, brought me into contact with the wonderful Roy Oxlade and Rose Wylie and a summer school with them in Tumbridge Wells reinvigorated my desire to paint.

When Loretta and I got together I made our dining room my studio and stored my paintngs in our garage in Banbury.  When my office moved from Woodstock to Banbury Library, I was allowed to use a fantastic space at the top of the building as my studio.  This wonderfully light space had once been the life room for the local art school, but. as the department changed, I lost it to office space.  I then used a friends spare bedroom for a while and even a room above a private members club - a space with no natural light, that I could only use during licencing hours and where the corridor outside was used by the owner's bull terrier, as a toilet.

For nearly twenty years, here in Gloucestershire, I have been lucky enough to have a converted 1930s garage, at home for a studio, whilst the 1970s garrage stores my paintings.  This has been great, although a little dark and damp and always too cold in winter and unbearably hot in summer.  Now that I have the luxury of painting full time, I will shortly also have the luxury of this lovely cabin, in which I hope to make art for many years to come.  Watch this space - I feel very blessed.

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0 #3 Paul McKee 2016-11-01 22:35
Cheers Gareth, I'll let you know when I start running classes, from the studio. Pop in for a coffee some time.
+1 #2 Gareth Ives 2016-11-01 17:28
I cannot wait to see your studio, being taught by you recently has inspired to keep painting and creating!
-1 #1 loretta 2015-09-13 23:03
A wonderful history darling. I love our new studio. Xx