Figure Drawing


The word “studio” brings to mind lavish easels, taborets, gilded framed paintings on the walls, a stand for a model to post, lights that are adjustable and portable, and the smell of oil painting intermixed with dust. I know I can recall going back to the art department at Pittsburg State University and taking time to enjoy the aromas.


Diane Dobson Barton portrait
PSU Painting Studio

I also have a ‘workroom’ in my home. I am never sure what to call it. I do art there, so is it really a studio? I have a HUGE desk there as well, so is it an office? I often stumble over the word to describe or label the room. If I say “my room” around other people, to me, it seems to imply that it is my bedroom. I am married, so that is awkward.

Diane Dobson Barton Portrait
Corner of current studio


Along with that thought, if I say I “Have work to do at home,” people assume I am referring to housework of some sort. I used to think it was sexist, but really if a man said the same, they would naturally assume some kind of domestic activity.

Things I consider essential to a “Studio” space for myself.

  • Good lighting – I have task lighting everywhere. It is an old home so there never enough electrical outlets, overhead light, or closets. I am also right handed, so it is important to me that when I do art that my light source is more toward my left side. It ensures my hand is not casting a shadow over the area I am working.
  • Ability to safely leave work unattended – I don’t have to worry about pets or children disturbing work in progress.
  • Emotionally positive environment – I know that when I am in this space, I am free to do and create as I please. No one will scoff at my attempts.  I can make a mess, and no one will judge.
  • Supports creativity – Positive quotations, resources, and supplies ready to go!
  • Comfortable – There are places to comfortably sit, stand and put my feet up when I choose.

My current space has a TV,  a specific spot to shoot flat-overhead videos, books, art magazines, and art supplies. Over this past weekend, I did a bit of purging and moving things so that I would have more room and be more focused on JUST drawing. It evolves as what I am working on changes. It seems no matter what I have available; the most critical aspect is that it be regularly used.


A studio is what you define it to be for yourself. It does not need to be large easels and swimming with abundant supplies. Unless of course, that is what you need to feel your most creative.

Drawing Figure