Animals · paintings · Tutorials

My micro-mini studio space, with some cat heads.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I thought I’d add a little more information about my itty-bitty, microscopic studio “area.” Perhaps all the information I share here will help someone else set up a small studio too.

Cat Head work in progress, on its
Cat Head work in progress, on its “easel,” a Guerilla Painter Thumb Box (5×7″).

I only have a super-cramped area in which to work. I use overhead light as my light source. (So far, so good.) Right now all I’ve been  working on are smaller paintings that can fit in the “easel” part of my small Pocket Box (maximum size, 5×7″). Very soon I’ll be using another table easel type thing that should accommodate slightly larger panels (hopefully up to at least 12×12″).

A wider view of the whole
A wider view of the whole “studio” area, crammed onto a small foldable table.

Here’s a wider view of the studio layout:

I’m using an inexpensive 26″ x 18″ foldable table (bought from On the left is the tablet (a 10-inch Android-based Lenovo) which displays my reference photo (a cat head picture from Flickr!).

The Pocket Box has a built-in palette and little tabs where you can prop up your painting. I don’t worry about securing the painting completely in the “easel” compartment. I tilt the easel-thingie back so the painting never flops forward into the palette. With this size of Pocket Box, I can use 6×6″ panels (like I do here), 5×7″ (either in landscape or portrait view), and even 6×8″ panels (portrait view only). I could go smaller than these sizes, but not larger. Since most of the work I do for DailyPaintworks is within these sizes, this is ideal for me!

Guerrilla Painter's
Guerrilla Painter’s 5×7-inch “Pocket Box.” So nifty!

To the right is a portable solvent jar (like this one from Jerry’s Artarama, called a “brush washer”). The bottle behind the brush washer contains some alkyd medium. (I prefer Liquin, but right now I’m using some DaVinci alkyd brand, which is nice but doesn’t dry as fast as I’d like.)

I have a small tote bag on the floor by the table. It contains a medium-sized baggie with about a dozen tubes of essential paint colors. I have some spare solvent (Turpenoid Light), paper towels and hand wipes. I use a plastic bag to throw all my trash in, which I’ll wet with water (so the oil-soaked rags won’t spontaneously combust!) at the end of the day, and then discard.

I can’t stick with using such small panel sizes indefinitely, so I’m planning on using this very affordable beauty very soon.

Art Alternatives Table Easel.
Art Alternatives Table Easel.

This table easel comes with a wooden palette that is placed in the pull-out drawer that slides out in the front. When fully extended, the drawer goes past the edge of my small table. I’m hoping to pull some Rube Goldberg-type shenanigans (perhaps using duct tape?) to get the “palette drawer” to not extend too far. I’m going to use a smallish non-stick plastic palette (the “Fredi Weber” model) and place it on the palette drawer. (I won’t use the wooden palette that comes with the easel.)

I’m hoping that this will all fit on that little table. We shall see! If it doesn’t, I’ll bring in a small, foldable side table (I have several of these in my “real” studio) to place some of my other stuff. The tablet and the easel/palette should fit on the table, however.

If the table easel doesn’t work somehow, I might be tempted to get the 9×12″ Guerrilla Painter Box. This could be overkill, but if it fits in my cramped space and works, then I think it could be worth it.


Guerrilla Painter Box. 9x12
Guerrilla Painter Box. 9×12″. It may be overkill, but I covet it…

The 9×12″ Guerrilla Painter box appears to have a smaller “footprint” than the Art Alternatives easel. We shall see.

So here is a short overview of my very small studio area!


I tried the Art Alternatives table easel tonight, and so far, so good!

The same foldable table as before, but with the larger
The same foldable table as before, but with the larger “Art Alternatives” table easel.

The order which contains the plastic non-stick grey palette has been delayed (I’m looking at you, Jerry’s Artarama), so I went ahead and used part of the wooden palette that came with the table easel. I slid it in the front drawer sideways, let it peek out past the edge of the table a bit, and mixed my paints. I propped up the palette cup on the right side there. Tablet with reference picture on the left. I moved a chair (just a plastic lawn chair from the hardware store) right up against the white table, because I was short on table space. I put my brush washer cup (with the solvent in it) on the arm of the lawn chair. You can barely see the edge of the chair (it’s brown) on the far left side of the picture.

I darkened the background (behind the easel, table, etc) because it was cluttered and distracting. Not messy! No not that! Just distracting. Let’s go with that. 😉

So far, so good! It’s not quite ideal, but I don’t think I’ll be needing that Guerrilla Painter 9×12″ box quite yet.

4 thoughts on “My micro-mini studio space, with some cat heads.

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your setup! I have a super-cramped workspace in the laundry room and was considering using the second table easel you mentioned in your post. Hearing discussions about its pros and cons definitely helps! It’s amazing you can do such beautiful work with minimal space and setup… Again proves it is the artist, not the fancy materials that does the real work!

      1. Thank you so much for the recommendation! I think it’s just what I needed! I got it right away. I have been enjoying your blog posts and your DPW uploads. Sorry for your family member… Hope he/she get better soon! And congratulation for the art muse award!

      2. You are so kind, Arena! I’m so glad that you were helped by the blog!

        Wow, I am honored that you enjoy my blog and my work. I looked at your site and WOW! I recognize your art! You are AMAZING! I am so flattered and honored now! Thanks again! And thanks for the well-wishes for my relative.

        By the way, I updated this post, because I used the Art Alternatives easel and it’s working pretty well. (I added a picture.)

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