15th January 2021 Studios

Technical notes – Our discussion on Studios

Some members have converted an outbuilding or a garage into a home studio. Others with “empty nests” repurposed a bedroom. The remainder made do with what was available in living space, or painted outside the home. 

The changing colours and direction of daylight bothered some, but not others. One member used cheap builders floodlights on a stand, which he said are daylight bulbs. He showed us something that looked like this https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/clarke-hlc400t-230v-twin-halogen-work-lights-w. Others use artists daylight bulbs, something like this https://daylightcompany.com/artist-studio-lamp-with-stand/. One garage conversion boasted daylight colour ceiling light, but in a fitting which might make changing the bulb difficult. 

Access to water and drainage was another issue. I was not the only one to fear carrying anything painty over a carpet. 

We also discussed the comparative smell of real oil paint, modified oil paints and altogether different paints. We didn’t quite manage to discuss VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which is the technical jargon for these smelly and sometimes dangerous compounds. We had a brief diversion into oil and turps for oil paints. 

I inadvertently suggested using hairspray as a cheap form of fixative for watercolour works, when I meant charcoal. Paul picked me up on it. His response is interesting and I quote it in full:

“I would just like to  pick you up on your hairspray comment and my use of acrylic lacquer to protection for watercolour on gesso paintings yesterday. It is not the quite the same as hairspray which I would never use on watercolour for obvious reasons! Practically everyone knows it is perhaps used as a cheap fixative for charcoal etc but never for watercolour as far as I know.

When painting on gesso it is quite different from paper. I will not go into the reason for using gesso occasionally rather than traditional watercolour papers but the paint tends to sit on the surface. The result is that the surface needs extra protection when complete.

Acrylic lacquer is quite different from hairspray. Please see its properties and usages below. Jacksons sell it but it is quite expensive in comparison.  When you look at the actual ingredients (which I mostly do to avoid brand hype costs) you can buy the same stuff far cheaper from other sources.


Also when protecting watercolours with acrylic lacquer it no longer needs strictly to be protected behind glass.”

So what did we learn? I had the impression that everyone learnt a little something, as well as just broadening our collective and individual experience. More sessions to follow!

One thought on “15th January 2021 Studios

  1. One of the difficulties in using a small enclosed space for creating your art is creating distance when you can’t physically move back and look at the painting. One tip I learnt was to use a concave lense which reduces and condenses you art work (and keeps it the right way up) . I found it an effective way of creating diststance or concentrating an image which can help with composition. Rather like creating or looking at a thumbnail.

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