I’ve been pretty keen to experiment with oil paints for some time but my main hindrance to this happening (real or perceived) seems to be how I’ll keep wet paintings up out of everyone’s way and the potential setup / cleanup time involved if I was to try and do it, say, on the kitchen table in the evenings.

To counter this at the beginning of last year I cleared a bit of space in the back shed to paint in which worked well to a point.

As it is your typical galvanized shed, I’d go in each evening and find dirt, leaves and other crap had blown in under the roof line and the spider web that I had torn through via my face the evening before had been miraculously reconstructed (that was until I once again tore through with my face).

I looked into different options for sealing the gaps and making it a bit more comfortable but as it doubled as a workshop for woodworking projects that happen from time to time, the mess and dust resulting from that also posed some potential issues.

Back shed in its original layout, complete with dirt and crap.
Back shed in its original layout, complete with dirt and crap.

I had a light bulb moment when I thought of moving the workbench and tools to the front 1/3 of the shed (adjacent to the awning door entrance) and erecting a partition wall to create a room that I could seal off from the elements and thus create a dedicated art space. Seems obvious now but it took a while to come to thinking of this possibility. My wife was happy for me to go for it (to be honest I think she was sick of my constant whining) so I went ahead with the plan, blocking out 2 weeks to get the job done.

Clearly I had never done something like this before and it quickly became apparent that 2 weeks was never going to be enough time and any short cut I tried to make emphasized that there are no such things as shortcuts if you want to do it properly.

Google is your best friend for projects such as this and I learned just as much about stud framework, plastering and electrical work as I did about troubleshooting errors in, well, stud framework, plastering and electrical work.

Stripping the original internals down uncovered some pretty unsavory things hidden between the walls which I can only assume were once rat nests (including mummified rats of various sizes).

Original internals stripped and cleaned of vermin with the beginnings of the stud work partition
Original internals stripped and cleaned of vermin with the beginnings of the stud work partition
Insulation and plasterboard work
Insulation and plasterboard work

After about three months of evenings working on stud framework, rewiring, insulation, plaster boarding walls and ceiling, plaster finishing and sanding, and finally painting, the room is effectively complete (bar the door which is on order).

Major build basically complete - only internal fittings to sort out.
Major build basically complete – only internal fittings to sort out.

Next step is to fit out the internals with a few creature comforts such as benches, bookcases, flooring, window coverings etc. etc. May as well do the job properly!

Reckon that part should take me about 2 weeks…

Tim Eden

Tim Eden is an Adelaide based figurative artist who paints mainly in oil. The principle theme throughout Tim’s art focuses on our existence and shared connectedness within a universe of energy. Tim’s work has been described as thought provoking and emotive.

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