Seven Brilliant Etiquette Tips from Charming Home Studio Art Guests

Summer is in full-swing and you love, love LOVE to visit artists in their home studios while on vacation. As an artist with a home studio, I am equally as thrilled to have you. However, if you want to be that special home studio guest who is cherished by the artists you visit, then these tips are for you! Here are seven brilliant etiquette tips from some of my most treasured, pleasant, feel-good and please-come-back-again home studio guests.

Tip one – book an appointment at least a day but preferably three days in advance.

Home studios are living/working spaces and  they can always benefit from a little organizing and prettying-up before guests arrive.

Terrill Welch Home Studio Visit 1 July 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_07_27 006

Tip two – see if there are any of your friends that want to come with you and let the artist know how many are in your party.

A prepared home studio visit is almost always enhanced when there are a few more people enjoying it.

Terrill Welch Home Studio Visit 2 July 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_07_27 007

Tip three – if it is not obvious, ask about taking your shoes off at the door. 

You are going into someone’s home as well as their studio – home protocol trumps studio.

Terrill Welch Home Studio Visit 4 July 2014  by Terrill Welch 2014_07_27 018

Tip four – do not be afraid to ask questions and to look closely at your favourites.

Most artists are happy to tell you about the background of a piece and show you the work in different light. I frequently move work around for guests as the light is always changing. Seeing work at its best in a home environment isn’t as easy as when there is gallery lighting. Even taking it out into natural light is no trouble at all and can be a lot of fun.

Terrill Welch Home Studio Visit 4 July 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_07_27 023

Tip five – Look as closely as you like and do not feel any pressure to buy just because you made an appointment to view.

We make appointments to view houses, test drive cars and to hold puppies without feeling obligated to purchase. We can do the same when view art in a home studio environment.

Terrill Welch Home Studio Visit 5 July 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_07_27 021

Tip Six – If you are enamored by the artist’s work feel free to come back for more than one visit.

I have new work in my studio all the time and welcome repeat visitors. This allows home studio guests to become more familiar with the depth of an artist’s work and to develop a deeper understanding of what goes into the creative process. These factors I believe contribute to the enjoyment of the art that you may purchase now or at a later date.

Terrill Welchy Home Studio 6 Visit July 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_07_27 027

Tip seven – Charming studio guests find a way to communicate a meaningful thank you for the artist’s time.

Studio visits do take time. There is no way around it. The most obvious show of appreciation is when a home studio guest goes home with an original piece of art. But there are so many other ways to acknowledge the artist who has hosted you in their home studio. Some of my favourite “thank you gestures” have been:

1. buying a small handful of greeting cards of your favourite art for those special occasions,

2. bringing a small gift like a jar of homemade jam or cookies or fresh-cut flowers from the market,

3. taking the artist’s photograph with her work and sharing it with your friends along with the artist’s business card,

4. taking a photograph of your favourite work to post on your fridge as a reminder for the day you are ready to purchase,

5. sending a quick email “thank you” and telling the artist what you enjoyed most about your visit,

6. signing up to receive the artist’s blog and then send the link to all your social media “friends” telling them about your home studio visit, and

7. taking the artist out to lunch and telling everyone you see how much you loved her art and wish that you could purchase it all. Yes, this has happened, more than once actually 🙂

Terrill Welch Home Studio Visit 7 July 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_07_27 008

Let your imagination be your guide but a meaningful thank you goes a long-long way on the charming scale of being an unforgettable and cherished home studio guest.

Why bother? Or more bluntly – what is in it for you?

Most importantly, these are just a nice things to do and you will feel good about doing them – I promise. And you will get invited back. Beyond this, when an artist remembers a charming home studio guest then there are those special invitations to private viewings of yet-to-be-released work – either in person or online. The charming guest may also be given perks and consideration that are not openly shared publicly – a book, tote, throw pillow or small study of the artists work may be tucked in with a large purchase. You may receive a personal note when a work has come available that you mentioned you were interested in considering.  After all, artists are no different from everyone else – we love, love, LOVE considerate and charming guests.

What is the most brilliant and charming etiquette of any guest you have received – ever!?

Postscript infomercial (you had to know it was coming): Terrill Welch welcomes guest to her Mayne Island, British Columbia,  home studio by appointment. Feel free to send an email to her at tawelch AT shaw DOT ca to set up a time to drop in and be one of her charming home studio guests.

Update July 18, 2019: Terrill Welch now has the seasonal Art of Terrill Welch Gallery at 478 Village Bay Road open Spring to Fall Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11-4 or by appointment year round. Also, most of Terrill Welch’s original paintings can be viewed in detail and purchased in her online gallery at: With almost 150 works large and small finding homes in private collections during the past nine years it is a good idea not to dally.

Okay, that is a wrap! Now back to painting, la, la, la…… see you soon 😉

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s paintings go to

11 thoughts on “Seven Brilliant Etiquette Tips from Charming Home Studio Art Guests

  1. Terill, what a timely piece. I will be on Mayne in August and was hoping to come to your studio! (I’ll email you the details closer to). Thanks for helping put all of us art admirers at ease and inviting us to look closely! 🙂

    • You are welcome Caran and I do so hope I am around as it would be a pleasure to meet you! I will keep an eye out for your email and cross my fingers. If not this time maybe another as I am away here and there for parts of the next few months.

  2. Excellent article, Terrill. Well thought out and kindly spoken. I have often thought of doing a similar article about ‘guest rooms’; a viewpoint from the guest who is staying in your home. I will consult you for the kindness factor! 🙂

    • Shirley I do honestly believe that even people who seem to fail miserably at being charming guests are not intentionally obnoxious – we are in such a serving self-indulgent culture, if I may be so bold, that sometimes we forget our part as a charming guest. But the other side, which to me is more likely for a home studio visit, is that an interested person doesn’t want to impose. Or worse yet, they feel bad that they took up the artist’s time and didn’t buy anything. At least, this is what I have intuited and even earlier comments here confirm. So the intention of my post is to put them at ease. Home studio visitors are one of my favourite ways to share my work and I have had some outstanding charming guests so I thought I would share what has made my experience with them so special. Because home studio art visits are way to fun NOT to encourage.

  3. Terrill — I loved reading this insightful post and viewing the beautiful photographs. The tips you provided are superb!

    You asked: “What is the most brilliant and charming etiquette of any guest you have received – ever!?”

    As minimalists we don’t have very many “things,” nor do we have the space for them. When we use something, it’s typically consumable (something that gets used up). With this in mind, we almost always have a votive candle burning in a wall sconce. My favorite scent is Italian Orange (Stella Mare makes the best soy candles). So my most charming etiquette from a guest is receiving a small Italian Orange votive candle as a thank you.

  4. I usually wait until the community I’m living in sponsors an ‘artists studio tour’ and then plan my day(s) around those studios to visit.
    As always, love seeing your studio via the blog…anything more on the European Front?

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