standing-upThis is my set-up for drawing on the balcony. The  drawings featured are the first in a new series that explores the abstract nature of the natural environment. Top: “Flecker Gardens Abstract”, Bottom: “Daintree Reflection”. My third work “Floating, Flecker Gardens” is currently on my easel. All 3 drawings are 40 x 60 cms and I’m using my own reference material.

Do you create your art sitting down or standing up? Maybe you prefer a combination of both.

It has been almost 4 months since my wife, Val and I moved from cool temperate Tasmania to warm tropical Far North Queensland. It has been a huge change for us in many ways, emotionally, socially and physically.

Back in Tasmania, I spent most of my days in my studio at my drawing table and I’d occasionally stand and draw using an easel. Now in Cairns, I have for the past few weeks migrated from my studio to our apartment balcony to not only escape the heat, but to take advantage of the excellent natural light and extra space. I’m now standing to draw using my Luminance coloured pencils, rather than sitting as was the custom in my studio.

There are advantages and disadvantages to standing and sitting while drawing or painting, most being physical. It’s not good for one’s back to be seated for too long, especially if one is leaning over a table. My drawing table is adjustable, which allows me to choose the angle I wish to draw from. Standing for too long can be hard on one’s feet. Which is best?

Before I answer that question let us consider the type of art that you do. Most painters prefer an easel as they can move back and forth with ease and check their work from a variety of distances. Many artists who draw prefer a table as it gives them more control over their work. The danger here is that one has to get up and step away to view the work to see how it’s progressing. Then there’s the issue of light; should it be artificial or natural? Do you like the physical freedom of standing and moving about especially if you work in an ‘energetic’ manner. It’s hard to be ‘physical’ when one is seated in front of a table!

I must admit that my various colours in my pencils are much easier to distinguish in natural light.

It’s very easy to lean on one’s work if you’re seated, not so easy when you’re standing at an easel.

I prefer to stand when I draw because it gives me greater control not only physically, but when it comes to making decisions, I can step back from my work and gauge its progress without any fuss. I am looking ‘at’ what I’m working on, rather than ’over’ it.

The answer to my question is after all quite simple; we all choose the way we like to work best. A good drawing table is an asset, so is a well-designed easel. Don’t work on a flat table. If you must, attach your work to a drawing board and sit back, far enough to rest your board at an angle on the table’s edge. If you want to stand and work at a table, a desk easel is very handy. Your back is important, don’t abuse it!


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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  1. Edna says:

    Good to see that you have acclimatised Richard. It does take a while to get the creative focus on the immediate surroundings.
    I find that when I am concentrating the most I stand up, especially making ceramic pieces. When painting it depends on the size of the work. I prefer to sit down with a slanted work bench doing small paintings. Standing up at a large easel is the only way I can work on big pieces.

  2. Lynn says:

    Hi Richard. I like to vary how I paint. Sometimes I stand and sometimes I sit. However, I do complete each piece how I started. Either the sitting for the whole piece or standing for the whole piece. Otherwise may perspective change.
    Whichever way I choose I try to move around, take regular breaks etc.

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