top of page

The Artist's Studio

Updated: Jul 8

Nurture versus nature is a perennial debate but when we apply this notion to the artist in their working environment it takes on new charge, revitalising the well-worn conversation.

In my own experience, and watchful of other artist friends, I have observed that the working environment starts to act as surrogate muse. The detritus of making begins to talk back to the artist. As visual people it is inevitable that their things spread out. This, otherwise, mess, becomes a reminder and prompt for things to do and act upon. The studio/workshop environment becomes part of the circularity of the creative thinking process where ideas and feelings are constantly revisited feeding the artist with inspiration and energy drawn from what the casual observer sees as chaos.

What we choose to leave around is not random. It has meaning, both practical and conceptual. In time the patina of the studio takes on wider notions of place: an environment which breathes in and out entering the pores of the artist to nurture and inspire.

It’s a two-way influence: when the artist enters their studio, they are primed by the atmosphere that they have built. Walking in is a creative act of opening oneself up to the possibility of thinking and doing and very often picking up a train of thought that was left yesterday when leaving. The thought is still there, unmolested, no one has tidied it away. That is why a room of ones own is so important and why the author of that essay’s friend Vita Sackville-West never invited anyone into her writing room in the tower at Sissinghurst. Her son says he only entered twice in his lifetime. Once by invitation and finally after her death.  



I often think that time in the studio is so precious; not so much is it about what is produced but it’s about spending time with ourselves as an act of free will. this special time is timeless and creates a different consciousness and memories that no matter how subliminal we return to again and again because they give value to our lives.

I have often thought artists should exhibit their working environment. These interiors throw light upon so called finished works and gives clues to the artists act of creativity. Artworks do not arrive out of thin air. They are conceived and born in the studio/workshop/study/shed. The workshop/studio environs take on the nature of self portrait of the artist and because the image grows away from public scrutiny it is a true image of the artist and is perhaps their most honest creative act. It is the beating heart of the artist and therefore truer as likeness and spirit of the artist than any of the works that escape out into the public domain.

Terry Flower

June 2024


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page