Apocalyptic Winter Survival Guide for Artists

March 1, 2014 |

Speaking from New York City, this winter has been the absolute worst. Storm after storm, checking the weather on your iPhone seems like certain doom.  Once you’ve avoided falling on an unpaved sidewalk or getting splashed with a, shall we say, “wintry” mix from a bus, get into your studio and try to believe that spring will soon come and grant us the relief that we need!  Here are 10 absolute studio musts to get through the winter doldrums without just painting every surface black and calling it a day.

  • Fingerless Glovesfingerless gloves

Fingerless Gloves are a Godsend if you want to do things with your hands while being able to grip, smear, and articulate while staying semi-warm.  They have been passed down by generations of bikers, bad boys, and Urban Outfitters catalogues, and have finally digressed to the simple artist’s trusty right and left hand.

  • Moisturizer

Most likely, you are washing your hands constantly because, well, maybe you are a mess.  Or perhaps you’re mindful of your health and manicure and wear plastic gloves in the studio.  Either way, your hands are D-R-Y.  You have to pick a great moisturizer for the studio to prevent cracking, bleeding, and all other unsightly winter skin conditions that become acute with exposure.  We recommend the following hardcore moisturizers for your soft baby hands to stay that way.  Some Amazon approved options are O’Keeffe’s Hand Cream: Working Hands and classic Corn Husker’s Lotion.

  • If your oil paint hardens, put it on a heater!

Try it, it works!

  • Should we mention space heaters?space heater_snow

Use with caution!  Please don’t use one that you found on the sidewalk or in your grandmother’s basement and it looks retro to match your studio furnishings!  Newer is safer.

  • Electric Hot Water Kettle

Possibly the most ingenious inventions known to man, hot water kettles that can be plugged into the wall for that boiling water effect are a godsend in the studio.  Not only can you make hot tea for your guests when the heat mysteriously kicks it, (see: you never had heat in the first place), you can also make easy mac, or oatmeal for that matter.  And you can use the warm water in the sink or to soak things- or to make rabbit skin glue- or so I’ve heard.

  • Studio Sleeping Emergency Kit: Get Cozy

When you are in a studio without windows, time can get a little…questionable.  Add in some massive snowfall that you just happened to not hear about and well- it looks like you are spending the night. Make sure to have a makeshift set up available to you in your studio should the cold outside become too much to bear.  Or maybe you just want that early morning start that you can’t get any other way! Beyond actual furniture, Ikea offers some cushion options that open up and fold up for easy storage.  A sleeping bag or old comforter from your childhood bedroom may also prove essential.  Please don’t use painting rags as your pillow.

  • Layers upon Layers

I keep a “studio closet,” which is a formal term for a reusable bag (way green) full of my clothes that have 1+ spots of paint on them.  In the winter, I will layer a t-shirt to a long sleeved shirt to a sweatshirt to a zip up sweatshirt to a weird painty stiff pair of leggings to really set off the whole ensemble.

  • Flora and Fauna: Remembering Things Can Be Green

Having something living in the studio besides yourself and unwanted visitors is an important morale boosters in the dreary months.  Hearty succulents and charming cacti are especially friendly studiomates as they won’t just die on you when you can’t make it to the studio for a couple of days.  Spring. Is. Coming.

  • Bright Lights

Clamp lights. Sun lamps. Need I say more?  Get that Vitamin D.

  • A Calendar

I said it once and I’ll say it again: Spring. Is. Coming.

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