Following significant media coverage on my she shed studio, when it reached the Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2019 shortlist of 21, it seems a good time to say something about it here.
Voting is still open until 29 August and to reach the final seven I need to win the workshop/studio category. You can vote for my shed here.
The shed was entered into the competition just a week before the deadline almost on an impulse so to get through to the final shortlist was amazing. Following selection for the shortlist the shed has featured in national media and I was interviewed on local TV. More media coverage can been viewed on the Shed in the Media page.
The summer of 2018 was the best in the UK over 40 years so I took the opportunity to transform my art studio shed by tackling my biggest canvas to date.
The studio had originally been painted in a very practical but rather boring garden white shade and although it looked tasteful I decided I wanted a change. I wanted bright, bold, in your face and to create a bit of garden magic that was totally unique and reflected my love of colour.
When I began to doodle a few flowers onto the doors I had not immediately decided just how big the project would become. I think I had run out of large surfaces to paint on and it was such a glorious day that before I knew it the doodling had progressed to the window surrounds and then the entire front elevation.
As I already had some large bottles of studio acrylics from Jacksons Art I decided to use these and they actually went onto the surface very smoothly. I used foam decorating brushes to apply the back drop colours mixing the shades as I progressed brushing the paint onto the shed directly from the paint bottles. The colour scheme that started to emerge is reminiscent of the beautiful blue that Jacques Majorelle used for his phenomenal Majorelle gardens in Morocco, somewhere I hope to visit in the not too distant future.
Once the back drop colours had been applied I set about introducing little symbols, marks and flowers in contrasting warm colours – cadmium red, fluorescent pink and highlighted with titanium white. It was at some point in this doodling stage that I decided that the shed was not just going to be decorated but that it would become an actual painting.
I began to realise that this approach mirrors entirely the way that I paint. There is rarely a defined plan about what my paintings will be because I like to work from the gut using my instinct and intuition as my guide rather than trying to represent what I see accurately. I always paint in layers and allow each layer to determine the next direction as the artwork progresses.
This is how the imagery and the colours started to work on the shed. And the ferocious heat last summer meant that the layers quickly dried so that I could cover up bits I was unhappy with and add details working swiftly between creating undercoat and applying decorations.
There were a few practical glitches with the paint application, the heat meant that as the paint dried little bubbles appeared in some places. Acrylic paint is not really designed to be used as a outdoor paint but I have decided that this will be a work in progress that morphs over time. We will have to see how the paint lives up to successive winters and the ravages of rain, cold and possible snow but so far so good.
In a way this does not especially matter to me as the smooth surface is not important. I can always get the sander out and see what effect that might have on the imagery and colour.
I purchased my shed from Dunster House Ltd in 2014. It is a Lantera 12ft by 8ft off the peg log cabin. The design complies with planning height regulations. The roof is customised. The shed is not insulated but I just wrap up warm in winter!
The external walls are painted with Jacksons Art student acrylic paints, Arteza outdoor acrylic paints, Liquitex acrylics and a little Golden acrylic paint. The external walls have not been sealed. I am going to allow the weather to do its thing and repair and update the designs every year. The paint was applied with decorators foam brushes and fine art brushes and a variety of mark making tools. I have not sealed the paint with varnish as I know this will yellow the colours.
As I used the hashtag #tinyhomes in my initial posts on Instagram about the shed decoration the shed was noticed by a magazine in Japan called Koya Life who featured a double page spread with images.
Where from here
Once the outside is completed I plan to tackle the inside space. I have some plans but they need to take in to account that the interior needs to be flooded with light. I’m thinking of including inspirational quotes from famous and not so famous.
The shed studio is an ongoing project and it’s likely that it will morph continually.