A Poor Man’s Version of an Artist’s Studio

Maybe referring to my back balcony as a ‘painting studio’ is a little bit ambitious. After all, I’ve seen other artist’s studios on social media and they are often quite grandiose affairs, often considerably larger than my entire apartment. My studio now isn’t the first artist’s studio I have, and if I’m honest the first one was vastly superior to the one I have now, even though it was also a balcony converted for use as a studio. So a poor man’s version of an artist’s studio it seems.

My First Studio

I don’t seem to have a photo of my first studio, so it’s lucky that I loved it so much that I did a quick painting of it. Like my current studio, it was located on my back balcony. As you can see from the painting it also had windows on both sides and housed the combi boiler. It was about two and a half times the length of my current studio and approximately the same width.

This allowed for a space for a table where I could sit and ruminate before starting a piece, or sit after finishing and staring at whatever piece I had finished thoughtfully. I loved that studio. The external window was north facing so it had great light and I could use it in the daytime as well as night. The heating pipes went under the balcony floor to reach the bedrooms and kitchen. As a result in the winter, it was like a kind of accidental underfloor heating.

It was spacious. Outside the window was a giant walnut tree that granted some degree of privacy most of the year round. It also had a light, quite a luxury for an artist that likes to paint at night.

Imperfect Endings

Of course nothing this perfect comes without a trade-off, the rent for the apartment was ridiculously cheap by just about any measurable standard (400tl a month in 2018/2019/2020). So of course the apartment had ‘issues’ the main one being that it was slowly falling down. The biggest stress in that apartment was the rain, which can be quite torrential here. Every time it rained water poured into the building. I never had enough containers to catch the water relentlessly dripping into the living room and bedrooms. And the drip, drip, drip, drip sound used to stress me out.

Plus lying in bed staring at the ceiling bulge wondering if today is the day it collapses on you is not even remotely relaxing. Most times if it rained I would go to the pub for this reason (any old excuse). So I suppose it’s no surprise that after the government inspectors came the building was condemned. I was evicted (during a COVID lockdown), with four weeks’ notice. Shortly after the building and that beautiful walnut tree were razed to the ground.

My Current Studio

My studio now is considerably smaller. As you can see from the photo not much different from the old one, small, narrow, windows on both sides. It does have the advantage that it never rains inside, and there is very little chance of my painting getting damaged by water. One of the drawbacks of the size means that the space isn’t airy at all. This means always painting with the window open, regardless of the weather. In the winter in this city (Eskişehir) temperatures can drop to as low as -20ºC. Painting with the window open in these conditions is a grind, and sucks the energy right out of you. In the summer I can’t use the studio in the daytime, the windows are southern facing. Even with the shade of the cherry trees outside the heat on the balcony is unbearable. Like trying to paint in a greenhouse in the hottest of summers. It’s not a large problem as I generally am a night painter anyway. However, summer nights have their own issue. Mainly in the form of mosquitos that somehow find a way through every mosquito net.

There is no electric light and all attempts to jerry-rig one have been unsuccessful. Oddly I don’t think this has negatively impacted my artwork, seemingly quite the opposite.

Happy Times

It might seem like I’ve listed a long collection of negatives about my artist’s studio. But that’s not my intention at all, I was very lucky after being evicted to find another apartment that had a space that suited my needs. I love my studio. It’s the place I go to think and spend time alone. A place just for me where I can explore myself through whatever medium I please. Most of the young artists I know here don’t have the luxury of having a decent space to paint in. Often painting in their bedrooms or lounges, which pretty much rules out painting in oils. So whilst I call it a poor mans version of an artist’s studio, it’s my poor man’s version of an artist’s studio and I’m very lucky to have it. It’s not a grandiose affair, it comes with its own problems, but it’s mine and I love it. After all, I have completed some of my best works here. I think I painted Heart Struck Man here in the first week. Which was a happy breakthrough as I was worried the change might negatively affect my artistic output.

Just a side note. The chair in both pictures was rescued from the street. There was a restaurant that had changed hands and the new owners were bringing out all the old chairs and smashing them to pieces. Easily a pile of like thirty-plus chairs needlessly broken. I managed to scalp two whilst they weren’t paying attention. I’ve spent a lot of time on those chairs, I’m quite attached to them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *