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Working Studio: Staying organized with BC artist, Amy Stewart

Make Room For More

Amy Stewart in her studio

Amy Stewart paints in her studio.

More space, more art, more life!
We visited the studio of artist Amy Stewart for an inspiring look at how a clean, organized studio space influences her art practice.

Amy Stewart's studio is located just steps away from Opus Granville Island. With high ceilings and a bay door filled with windows, this bright interior has a sense of space beyond its actual square footage. Her vibrant abstract paintings take center stage on gallery walls facing the window, and a workspace tucked away behind a shelving unit offers her creative process a little privacy from the gazes of passersby.

Amy has made her workspace work for her by keeping extraneous items to a minimum, leaving room for the materials essential to her current body of work. We spoke with Amy about how creating an organized studio benefits her practice.

How do you decide what materials and tools to keep in your studio, and which ones to let go of?

STEWART: My studio is the only place where I actually enjoy cleaning out products and materials I don’t use. I think it gives me more room in my brain for creativity when I enter a clean work environment.

If am really excited about a style or certain materials, I focus on those things. Everything else is passed on to someone that could use it. I like giving things away instead of having a products waste away in my space. Thanks to Vancouver's close knit and supportive artist community, it’s easy to find someone who could use materials you aren’t.

How do you keep your workspace organized?

STEWART: Special spots for special things! I have some great shelving, but my favourite item is my workbench. My father in law builds personal aircraft and has a hanger in Vernon, BC. One day when we were visiting, he showed me his workbench. I instantly thought of how perfect it would be to organize my paints and supplies. It makes it so easy to find things when I am in the process.

Do you arrange things in your space in a particular way that helps (or hinders) your workflow?

STEWART: I usually work on a few canvases at all one time, painting on a table. The table is close to the shelving and work table but, before I start, I make sure I have my water bucket for brushes and all my supplies beside me. Everything is in reach and easy to find.

What do you do with your used canvases that didn’t work out?

STEWART: I usually cut them up and practice on them. Sometimes my daughter paints over them and my friends' kids use the cut up pieces to make the coolest collages.

What do you do with artworks that didn’t work out or no longer fit with the look/style you’re currently aiming for?

I take part in the West Of Main Art Walk every year. I sell my newest pieces but also I have sale items where I sell art that is a different style then my current work.

How does what you have in your space and how you keep it organized impact your practice?

STEWART: When I first started out I wasn’t organized and I paid the price with my work. I had to stop and search for the things I needed, and sometimes paint would dry before I had a chance to continue what I was doing. It got pretty frustrating and motivated me to get organized.

Now things run smoothly (for the most part). After every day I work, I tidy up my brushes, paints and canvases so I walk into a clean and organized space. When I walk in the next day, I don't have to stress about cleaning first and my head is clear to start the creative process.

View Amy's work at amystewartartist.com, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @amystewartartist


MORE SPACE, MORE ART, MORE LIFE! Thank you to Amy for sharing how a clean, organized studio space positively influences her art practice. Now, it's your turn!

Share how YOU organize your workspace on Instagram by March 27, 2019, tagging it with #morespacemoreart and @opusartsupplies, for a chance to win a $100 Opus Gift Card!