by Mark J Ratcliffe

Creating the right environment for you

Let’s face it. We know that we are ALL uniquely different as human beings (and as artists), so our creative spaces and the environment we paint in will not be the same as everyone else. But our end goal of using our creative space tends to be the same. We each want to be happy with the creations we have painted, accept its flaws and celebrate the successes. Creating a space that is just for you and used to help you express your creativity, is vital to ensuring you can achieve your end goal. In the blog this month I’m going to discuss how we can create the right space and some factors we may consider.

Some people might think “a space is a space, can’t I just paint anywhere?” I am interested to see what you think of that statement. I personally think that creating the right space will depend on a number of factors (both within and outside of our own control) and having a dedicated space (no matter how big or small) is crucial for anyone who wants to paint and explore their own creativity. Your environment will impact your creative thoughts, your productivity and overall what you design. But getting the right space isn’t easy. We are not all lucky enough to have a room dedicated to painting or crafting. Some may not be able to create, rent or own a space to accommodate our passion. So then what should we consider when creating our own space? 

Your environment will impact your creative thoughts, your productivity and overall what you design.

The location of your art space is key. Whether it’s a table within your living area, a garage, a shed out back in your yard, or even a section of your home, it has to be right and be convenient to you. It should also be affordable to maintain. Think about the lighting and how that might affect your space. I am lucky enough to have a spare bedroom with my home that isn’t used, so over time I’ve created my own art space there. Ok, if I am completely honest, it has also crept into other areas of the house as well due to storage issues. It’s not always ideal but it’s the best solution that fits my budget and lifestyle at this moment in time. Wherever you decide to have your dedicated space, please ensure it’s well ventilated, especially if you are working with paints, varnish, or aerosols. Also make sure that it can accommodate your materials; even if you pack them up each time you paint or get creative, ensure you have some storage to place the materials in a safe space and keep the areas ventilated to minimise any issues with fumes from painting materials that could affect your health. 

Storing your materials. We often forget that paint should be stored within a specific temperature. It can’t get too hot or too cold as it will affect the binding properties within the paints and will also affect the formulas when you start mixing them for painting. If you can, think about the weather and temperatures where you live. If you paint in a garage or a building that doesn’t have temperature control, think about relocating some of your materials throughout the year to help you to preserve them. We also know temperature can affect the drying process if you are painting. So keep  that in mind if you’re leaving a piece to dry and cure. And that’s just the paint! We all know that as artists we have a ton of materials and things we’ve accumulated over time that might be useful over time for creations or projects. Keeping them tidy and organised can also help.

The space you allocate is just for you. It’s your space and it should be your safe space and time to paint or be creative. That’s easier said than done, I know. It’s tempting to multitask or not fully allow yourself to be immersed in your creativity because of what’s going on in your life or your mind. But try to minimize any distractions; allocate time just for you, turn the phone off so you can’t be interrupted. I know we are all different and have different lifestyles, but minimizing distractions in your creative space can really help you to connect with your art and enjoy being in the present moment with no judgement. 

With all this said, your creative space and the environment you work within will depend on you and your lifestyle. It should be designed to best fit and suit your own needs. I know for me, it’s my happy place; my safe space to let go of any expectations and explore my creativity, it’s my space to just be me and let go of any worries or stresses from the day. It’s also my space that brings me comfort and joy because I absolutely love what I do. 

I’ll leave you this month with something to reflect on. If you already have a creative space, what makes it special for you? Do you think you can improve it so it benefits your creativity more? And what are you most grateful for within your creative space? Remember, creating a space for you and your art will really benefit your own creativity, productivity and wellbeing. Most importantly it’s your space, for you. 

If there is a topic you would like me to discuss or explore in my Monthly Blog, please drop me a message at the email address below. 

Check out Mark’s course on Smart Art Courses – an approach to art and creativity in a mindful way to help relax, unwind and be in the present moment. 

Mark from Mark J Ratcliffe Art  | Artist, Creator & Wellbeing Advocate.

Monthly Blog, written in his own words. @MarkJRatcliffeArt /

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