Inside my Sanctum of Study

“An artist’s studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it.” – Leonardo da Vinci.

For this week’s post I thought I’d do something a little different and show the place where the magic happens, my Sanctum of Study. All of my artwork is carried out in this room; formerly a spare bedroom containing a bed and pink walls. Once I started becoming serious about becoming an artist towards the end of 2013 I started making changes, got rid of the bed and put a small desk in there; a humble space where I spent a couple of hours a week drawing.

As I began to spend more time drawing and started painting, I realised that I needed the space to be more appropriate for what I wanted and then the work began. I painted the room, white walls rather than pink which is much more appropriate and I began collecting art materials which gradually built up over the course of time. I’ve also collected art prints and ornaments from Paris, Rome and various art galleries.  My wife then bought me a unit; purpose-built to house a computer but adapted to house my art materials and books. The great thing about this unit is that once everything is finished with and put in it’s place, I close the unit and the studio no longer looks like a bombsite.

Thus the spare bedroom became a Sanctum – A private retreat from which most people are excluded. 

Art-Studio-Study-Artist-Josh Glover

This picture shows the unit once closed and everything’s away where it lives. Cut off on the left are my two desks; I usually use these to draw and paint on as I need a higher chair to reach the desk inside the unit comfortably.

The drawing of the Arc de Triomphe is a print that I bought whilst in Paris, I find it really inspiring to surround myself in artwork and this is the perfect place to do so. Also on the side of the unit, although it may be too dark to make out properly, is a spray painting of the Colosseum that I bought from a street artist in Rome.

Art-Studio-Desk-Artist-Josh Glover

This view shows the desks better; excuse the paint marks all over the desk I was going to clean it again but I thought it may add to the atmosphere of this being an art studio. A fellow artist and friend of mine is a very hands on messy painter, a strong believer in a messy studio and would see my particular set up as unused, however I’m sure he’d be proud to see that I left the paint splatter on the desk for the photograph.

Also something to note, the window is North facing and I get good light in this room, something that is certainly taken for granted, had this spare room had a South facing window things would have been very different.

Art-Studio-Artist-Josh Glover

Here’s the workstation open, it holds all of my materials, sketchbooks, art books, canvases and more. I have also stuck up various art prints, photos, maps and a calendar. This is my box of inspiration and a gift from my wife that I’m eternally grateful for. Before having this unit I couldn’t have appreciated the value of such a thing, but since having it I couldn’t be without it; ease of access and tidiness is priceless when it comes to creating art for me; when inspiration hits, the last thing I want to do is spend two hours searching for that number 2 Filbert brush which “I know I left over there somewhere next to the thingy!”.

I should add that this room doesn’t look anything like this when I’m actually working, I have stuff all over the place; several palletes of paint, pencils, charcoal, water, coffee, energy drinks, paper scattered everywhere and paint all over the walls. This is just how the room looks between projects or works. Also if I’m in there reading, I don’t make much mess when I’m doing that.

Art-Books-Studio-Artist-Josh Glover

On the subject of reading, this is my collection of art books that I keep in the workstation, well most of them are art books some are more for reference or have artworks depicted in them. This collection started around January 2014 when a friendly lady at an evening art class gave me the Pre-Raphaelites book after a discussion about the types of artwork I like. I hadn’t heard of the Pre-Raphaelites back then and in the time since then it’s unbelievable to think how much I have learned, not just about that particular group of artists but the art world in general. I have the college course to thank for that, there’s been an awful lot of research to do over the last year and it’s taught me alot.

The Eminem book that is in there is actually not art related as such and is there because it doesn’t fit in my other book case which contains smaller books that are not art related. In fact, I have an obsession with buying new books and need to get a large book case soon, eventually purchasing a lease on a library at the rate I’m going.

Art-Books-Study-Artist-Josh Glover

This end of the room is a bit messier than the rest at the moment, it shows my other bookcase and various pieces of my artwork and an art print of the Mona Lisa and one of the Eiffel Tower.

Also on top of the bookcase is a replica statue of Michelangelo’s David and a brass Roman soldier. One problem that I have is that I’m a trinket collector, whenever I go somewhere I feel the need to bring a piece of it back with me, usually in the form of art prints or ornaments but it’s a habit that could easily run away with itself if I’m not careful. Still though, it’s probably more acceptable than having a studio full of dead animals and human skulls as I don’t think that would go down too well.

Anyway, that’s it, that’s an insight into my Sanctum of Study, a slight difference to the usual set ups most men like to have like a shed full of tools and a workbench or a garage with a pool table and a bar often referred to as ‘Man Caves’; this is my sanctuary and a place of learning, peacefulness and creativity.

Although slightly cluttered it provides the inspiration needed to carry out my work and never suffer from artist’s block, in fact I’m not at all sure what that feels like I think there’s too many creative options available for it to even be a recognised problem but that’s just my opinion.

As for the quote at the start of this post by Leonardo da Vinci, I find that I agree with it completely, having worked in large studio spaces it’s certainly easier to become distracted, discipline of the mind is vital in this trade and shouldn’t be underestimated.


Featured Image: Gandalf searching the manuscripts of Minas Tirith searching for information about the One Ring – Screenshot from The Fellowship of the Ring directed by Peter Jackson based on the books by JRR Tolkien.

British Mythology/Folklore – Art Project

I’ve structured my days now to help me with my efforts to self-teach different aspects of the art that I wish to learn; the aspects that I have decided to learn are anatomy, figure studies, drawing in many aspects such as observational, still life and drapery, perspective, architecture, and again human form. I also spend time trying different techniques with watercolour paints and I’m slowly experimenting with oil paint; which ultimately will be my medium of choice.

I also have more theoretical subjects to learn and my rotor for those at the moment consists of symbolism in art, colour theory and artist research. Those are the artsy theoretical readings, I’m also always researching history, reading about the ancient Romans in particular and I’m presently reading a book about King Charles I which I will review once finished; as well as Greek mythology, these last few are more for inspirational reasons.

However the reason for that two paragraphs of information is that every month I intend to issue myself a project to work on alongside these other subjects to keep me motivated in creating my own work rather than just all work and no play, I therefore intend to create at least one final work for each project I give myself. I’m thinking ahead a bit here as I don’t intend to issue myself this project until 5th July; that said though, I can here announce my umbrella theme which others will fall under.

My main theme, the subject of artwork that I intend to create for the foreseeable future is British myth, legend and folklore. As an enthusiastic reader of the work of J.R.R Tolkien, it’s my understanding that he created his body of literature around the basis of giving Britain a mythology of its own, one to rival the Greeks and even outdo them in the long run (let’s face it, we’ve all heard of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Gollum; how many average people can name four Greek deities). This thought process inspired Tolkien to create the most incredibly well crafted epic fantasy saga that was bursting at the seams with richness and remains the most influential piece of literature of the modern age (that’s my opinion I’m not certain how it stands nowadays with Game of Thrones growing as much as it has). I am of a similar vision, but what I intend to do is bring to life and recreate the existing British mythology and interpret it into a series of visual narratives, both figurative and landscape and breathe new life into our forgotten history.

There is already a wealth of subject matter available to me to work with, more than enough to ensure I’m kept busy for the rest of my life in fact, and who knows, one day I may even start writing my own mythologies and legends of British history, but that’s an idea for a time in the far off future yet. My main inspiration for British myth/legend/folklore/history is the Arthurian legend. Some historians say he lived, others say he didn’t, most scholars deny his existence because of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fabrications. I stand in an area where I do believe he existed, just that the story of his existence has been contorted somewhat over the centuries since his age, akin to Chinese whispers these legends grow and have bits added and taken away to the current point where some people are expecting Arthur’s second coming; elevating this long dead king to the status of the son of God. The most convincing and realistic telling of the Arthurian legend, albeit a work of historical fiction, was the brilliant saga of books written by Jack Whyte A Dream of Eagles (original series title in Canada) or Camulod Chronicles (USA series title) or Legends of Camelot (UK series title). Without going into too much detail about this incredible series of books on this post, here’s the link to a short review I wrote about them previously.

With Arthurian legend being my main source of inspiration however, I don’t intend to just limit myself to being known as a painter of Arthurian legend, like I said I want to revive as much of British mythology as I can so I’ll also be focusing on other areas as well, it’s just the that Arthur story is the one I am most drawn to.

All that said then, my next post will probably be before my scheduled post, and will be to announce the exact nature of the project I intend to create. I will post everything related to my project including sketches, research, thoughts and such and then follow all that up with the final piece that I create. So if you have happened to stumble across this post, then please check back every fortnight or so to see updates and some new artwork.

Until next time…..


Featured Image: Edward Burne-Jones – The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon – 1881-1898