Dream Studio with Alan Wylie

Alan Wylie (CSPWC, AWS DF, SFCA, NWWS, CIPA, CWA, LWS) has had a long journey in his painting career to obtain the status and studio he has now. From painting in an old chicken coup, to a garage in the middle of winter with socks on his hands, to working in dark basements and kitchen tables; Alan has weathered it all in his quest to obtain a fulfilling career in painting.

After working in these challenging spaces, Alan was finally able to build his dream studio at his current home in historic Fort Langley. Watch Dream Studio for an exclusive look inside his work space as he shares his story and insights into his practice.

For more on Alan’s story, read our article Creating Space below.

Interested in some of the supplies Alan uses in Dream Studio?
Richeson Lyptus Wood Sante Fe II
Digital Projector
Studio Lighting
Golden Artist Fluid Acrylics
Golden Gesso
Opus Allegro Brushes
Phoenix Canvas Panels
Robert E Wood Palette

Creating Space

From modest beginnings painting in a Scottish chicken coop to an award-winning art practice in Fort Langley, artist Alan Wylie shares his journey to creating his dream studio.

When a full-time work week can top 100 hours, a comfortable space with all the necessities at hand is key to creating at full capacity. Alan Wylie has filled his studio with warm lighting, high ceilings to enhance the space, and every tool a professional painter could wish for, but having such a space has not always been an option.

“My first studio in Scotland was an old chicken coop. The place stunk to high heaven but it was the only place I could paint. Then, when I came to Nova Scotia, my studio was in my unheated garage. It was a bit primitive and I had to paint with socks on my hands to keep warm. That first winter with no heat was rough,” he remembers.

After years of working in these often less than desirable conditions, Alan and his wife moved into their current home in Fort Langley. It was in this house that he knew he could build his dream studio. Alan explains that there were many requirements he wanted to meet. “I first started painting in the basement here, so high ceilings were important to me.” But the ceilings weren’t only for a feeling of spaciousness. “I have racks to put the paintings up because I like being able to have a look at the paintings in progress. Sometimes you just walk in and you see something straight away that has got to be changed.”

Both the natural world and city scenes find their way into his acrylic, watercolour, and oil paintings, and so, to enjoy the accessibility and ease of painting in his studio, Alan often works from photographs. Wanting to see every detail of these images prompted him to invest in not only a slide projector but a digital one as well. These are easily the most important tools in his studio, he says. “Initially I started with photographs, and then the slides came along, but now of course with the digital it’s just amazing. So I have a digital projector and a carousel slide projector and a big screen that I pull down and it’s just like sitting and looking out the window.”

Having this set up not only aids him in seeing his source material, it also provides creative convenience. He explains, “everything is in one spot. I’ve got my television across the way so I can watch my golf or play my music. If I get tired, I can go have a nap upstairs in my sleeping loft. It’s just very comfortable; you have got to be comfortable.”

He may have the best of the best when it comes to studio furniture like his projectors and easel, but Alan’s favourite tool is a little less extravagant. “I love my little Opus Allegro brushes. I buy those up by the dozens because they’re great little brushes. I’ve always been a small brush painter; I rarely ever use a big one. You can see them sitting there but they don’t get much action. Even when I am doing murals, I work with small brushes.”

Every artist has their own idea of what a dream studio is or would be for them, and creating a dedicated work space can help them move from a part-time to full-time practice. Alan’s thoughts on when an artist is ready for such a space? “Oh boy … usually when you can afford one!”

“I’d say if you’re going to go full-time. If you’re a part-time or a weekend painter, you usually can struggle along, either working on your kitchen table or your basement. But full-time, that’s a dedicated job. For me a full-time week could be 100 hours.”

What else is needed to create a dream studio? “A lock on the door can probably be the most important thing,” laughs Alan. “Being able to just walk out and come back in the morning and everything is just there waiting for you … it’s been an absolute boon having this place.”

See more of Alan’s work at www.alan-wylie.ca