This, somewhat blurry, photograph shows my current studio set-up. I have two easels on either side of a chest of drawers. It's difficult to see but I have a small table which sits on top of the drawers (currently covered with a black cloth), which is where I place still lifes and casts. The two table legs to the back are wedged up slightly higher than the ones at the front, meaning the table-top slopes downwards at the front. My thinking in doing this was that this would afford a greater sense of depth to still life and cast subjects - rather like the stage of a theatre, which slopes so the audience can more easily see actors at various positions on the stage.
Currently on the easels are a still life in charcoal on Fabriano Roma paper and a master portrait copy of a painting by Velazquez (from a poster I ordered online). The still life is proving very tricky. I'm not used to working on Roma paper. It is widely considered the best for charcoal work, as it can take weeks and weeks of working and it never stops taking charcoal. It allows you to make big changes quite far into the drawing without the paper being an issue and wearing through. However, it's very different from the Canson Mi-teintes which I have been using for most of my drawings to-date and I'm not used to it.
The lighting in the room isn't particularly good (it's south facing, for one thing, which isn't ideal), so a while back I bought a photographic lamp, which was cheaper than I expected and has made a big difference.
Most of my materials are stored in a cupboard on the landing outside the studio, which I kitted out with some fitted shelves a while back. I sketched the design in about 10 minutes for our friendly neighbourhood carpenter to fit. It works really well, considering the confined space. In the bottom right hand corner is a cubbly hole for my wheeled taboret (aka, a trolley that I picked up in Ikea) which is the only other bit of kit that I need in the studio itself when I'm working.
Ben Laughton Smith
Contemporary works of art in the classical tradition.