Five Little Things to Make my Studio More Pleasant

Digital collage by Ora Sorensen.

I love nothing more than being in my studio, and here are five things that make the time I spend in my studio even more pleasant!

1. Pandora
Listening to music I love always puts me in a great mood and enhances my creative flow! The easiest way to listen to my favorite music is through the radio app Pandora. Pandora can be personalized by entering a favorite song, artist or genre and the app will play songs related to those “channel” choices. Tapping a thumbs up or a thumbs down icon enables the listener to modify what is played. My latest “favorite” channel is Carolina Beach Music.

2. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker
Cheap and cheerful with a great sound, the Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker is available in a variety of happy colors. For around $100 you can play your favorite music from your smartphone, tablet or any Bluetooth device. And you can play it loud! This powerful little speaker is compact, at 5 square inches, rugged, and portable, and it fills my studio with wonderful music.

3. Bob Ross Grey Gesso
I use acrylic gesso as a canvas primer under my oil paints, and frequently I make a quick grisaille sketch to help me determine the values of the piece. Grisaille is a monotone under-painting, traditionally done with oils. But, using a grey acrylic gesso instead of oils, cuts the drying time of the under-painting to about 20 minutes. Also, the lovely, neutral grey of the Bob Ross Gesso is the perfect tone to use for placing the shadows in the painting. This gesso has great coverage and self levels as it dries, giving me a smooth surface with just the right amount of tooth to grab my oil paint.

4. Paint Saver Keys
Midway through each tube of oil paint I use, I seem to have trouble squishing out the right amount of paint onto my palette. As I try to maneuver the paint tube I get either just a smear or a large wasteful blob pops out. So, a great solution that removes this minor frustration is the paint saver key. It is a little plastic key with a slit that slips onto the crimped end of the paint tube. As the key is turned and rolled up the tube, it flattens it, bringing the usable paint forward making it easier to squeeze just the right amount of paint from tube.

5. Paint Brush Holder
A treasure and one of my favorite things, is my paint brush holder, a gift from my friend, artist Mary Fisher. When I paint, I use many brushes at once of all sizes and shapes. As I lay them down next to me, I don’t want the paint color to transfer from brush to brush, and the best thing to prevent this is my awesome brush holder. Mary had this made by inserting pegs half an inch apart on an 18-inch-by-1-inch flat wooden rectangle. I use it every day, and it makes my life just a little easier!

Artist Ora Sorensen ( was born in New York but grew up overseas. She has owned a gallery in Delray Beach, Florida, for 20 years, and has also been represented by other galleries across the country. Sorensen now lives and paints in North Carolina, and her paintings are collected worldwide and have been shown in numerous exhibitions.