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A Traveling Artist's Road to a Minimalist Studio

I reminisce about the days I had a creative studio, with so much space I couldn't fill it up. I really did have that once and I loved it. 

But, I wouldn't give up being able to travel full time with my family. Four years ago, I traded in my home and studio for a life on the road. Since, then, my family and I have traveled all over America, having visited all fifty states! We've enjoy a little international travel too when we can. Plus, I still get to be an artist, just not with a big studio full of art supplies and creations.

My nomadic lifestyle has made me into a minimalist for sure. As a minimalist, I try to intentionally focus on what really matters. It means eliminating the 'stuff' that doesn't serve an immediate purpose. It's about living simply and having only what you need to go about your daily life.

Minimalism is also a tool that can assist a person in finding freedom. It gives me the freedom to travel, but it also gives me some freedom from fear, worries, overwhelms, depression and guilt. I have replaced stuff, with memories and a life I could not have otherwise.

But it's not like celebrating Happy Minimalist Day once a year and I'm a minimalist. It's an ongoing process where I continue to make choices. I'm constantly asking myself "do I really need this in my life?" or "how can I make this more efficient?" I'm constantly overcoming obstacles and solving problems that come with choosing this lifestyle.

The freedoms I desire and enjoy didn't come without a price. We sold our home and almost everything we owned. But, as an artist, I gave up nothing in which I didn't gain more.

I have gained an art business I love that I can do while my family travels full time. I can teach online, create art, and even sell art from a small corner in my RV, or the places we stay.

I wouldn't have been able to wrap my head around that before I chose this journey. But, this lifestyle has forced me to only have what is entirely necessary to do what I do.

What does a traveling minimalist art space like that look like?

I used to make art at the dinette in our RV, but now, because it is necessary to have a quiet space separated from the homeschool area, I have a desk that flips up when I need it in my little RV bedroom. I have organized the closet that is meant for a washer and dryer into my space for art supplies, important books, files, recording equipment, and my paintings.

​Changing my perspective has helped me turn what could be considered a loss into again. Like daily laundry into a once a week chore at a laundromat, because I need that space. Doesn't sound so bad, right?! 

Because I teach online and make YouTube videos, I have the equipment that is necessary to create great videos. I don't have a fancy recording studio set up all the time, but I do have everything I need. On my desk, I have two sturdy arms that I can attach to my high-definition camera and Yeti microphone. 

Both the video quality and sound are very important, as well as the lighting. I used to have huge lights set up, but of course, that would not work with the space I have in an RV. I sold that and replaced it with a large ring light with a stand that folds up. I set that up overhead only when I'm recording, then I fold it up and place it in my art closet when I don't need it.

I have a small laptop where I run my online business and edit my videos. Everything with that fits into a small bag that I can take with me where ever we go.

I take pictures of my art outdoors in the natural light. The shadow of my trailer is the perfect spot to get consistent lighting, then I adjust the pictures as necessary on my laptop.

​As far as art supplies, I have narrowed my niche down to just painting with acrylics. I have studied and taught so many different mediums, but of course, I needed to simplify not only for supplies but for running a successful business that my husband and I can run from anywhere.

All necessary supplies to paint can fit into an easel. But I have other supplies needed to teach lessons on different types of acrylics, acrylic mediums, mixed media, varnishing, and so on that fit in a medium-sized tote. 

I primarily paint with only 12 acrylic paint colors that I can easily mix to make every color. I work on small canvas panels for teaching to make it easier for students to practice and that take up less space for me. I have a container of one set of my favorite brushes, that I can turn into my water container when I need it. 

Using a simple set of supplies has not only helped me minimalize, but helps make learning to paint much simpler and less costly for my students.

I will buy larger canvases for commissions or a special series that I know I'll part with soon. When I'm working on those I will set the canvas on my adjustable easel and sometimes paint outside for more room if the weather is good.

Maybe outside is not considered a "studio" for some, but when I can, I'll enjoy my outdoor studio located all over the world.

I have also learned to simplify by painting for my videos just a couple of days a month. Most of my work is on my computer and can be done from anywhere, anytime. Batching the my paintings gives me the time to actually enjoy my travels. 

When I need to relax, I'll grab my few supplies and work in my mini art journal for fun, to experiment in, and to unwind.

I have also learned to simplify when I sell my art. Instead of selling art all the time, I focus on selling only during specific events. This way I can work around when I actually have my paintings with me, and I'm in a good location for shipping. 

I understand that travel gives me many obstacles as an artist. And, sometimes I get discouraged but I don’t give into it.

I understand that saying yes to one thing is saying no to another thing. Living minimally is saying yes to only the most important things and no to everything else. For me personally, making art, traveling, and enjoying time with my family while I can are very important things I say yes to consistently. This way my life feels less like a life without, or minimal, and is more abundant than ever.

I've included a list of my favorites and "must have" items in my minimalist studio that I can't live without below. 

Favorites I can't do without:

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