Monday, January 18, 2010

the process

making a mess ( a box of favorite studio display bits )
my favorite studio display bits, carefully boxed up in order to move and display in a new way... click to see bigger.

a friend of mine just called to chat~

a: whatcha doing today?
s: well, i'm in the midst of a big mess, i'm rearranging the studio.
a: weren't you doing that last week when we talked?
s: ahem, well, yes, but i've changed it all again and it's really great, much better now.
a: all part of the process... (she's an artist too, so she gets it... )

yup, so that's what i've been up to. cleaning, throwing away, rearranging again and again and again... trying to get the studio in order. it's all part of my process of creating, or preparing to create... but i always seem to have the urge to do a major re-do at times like this, right when i'm in the middle of a really busy stretch. i used to feel horribly frustrated and guilty, wondering why i wasn't just buckling down and painting (or whatever was "supposed" to be happening), what was wrong with me?! but today, after seeing this pattern emerge again and again over the years, i've made peace with the fact that all this nuttiness is a necessary part of my artistic process. you see, i have to make the space neat, organized and super tidy before i can dive back into my work, especially during the busy times. and yes, sometimes this involves rearranging all of the furniture and moving my work table to make the space feel just right.

so there. that's what i've been up to. a confession. a realization.

i'm happy to report that the studio really IS all better now, and i'm excited to get back in there to the "new" space and dive into my paintings.

what are your crazy creative process quirks? care to share?


  1. I tend to be a "leave the mess there until it drives me nuts" kind of artist. I will suddenly find myself working in a six by six inch space on my ten foot long table and know that I have no choice but to put stuff away before I go any further...I used to think it was a "bad" thing, but know I realize that it is just how I roll. I realze that I kind of do the same thing when I cook - do one big clean up at the end - not put stuff away as I go. All part of the creative process...feels good to give myself permission to just be the way I am.
    Oh, I can just imagine how fresh and airy your artist self feels as the studio has everything in its proper place ! Enjoy, Sarah !

  2. My creative process usually involves a lot of "clicking" on the computer looking at other people's blogs. Once I'm sick of that, I'll go down to the studio with my ipod nano. I put on my apron and away I go!
    Congrats on the rearranged studio; I bet it feels awesome in there!

  3. I can stand SOME level of mess while in the midst of the process - but once the piece is done, I've gotta clean and put stuff away before i can focus on the next work. I've also found that if there's clutter in other portions of the house, that can interfere as well. Also, clutter of the mind! If there's too many things on the todo list, I've gotta take care of some of them because until I do I can't focus!

    There's nothing like a clean, organized studio to inspire me to create something beautiful!

    And in case anyone is interested:
    The studio mid-project:

    The AAAHHHH!! of a clean studio

  4. You are in good company! I cannot function in a messy space. My creative process always begins by cleaning up and getting things in order. It drives me crazy to be in the middle of a project and be unable to find something I want to use!

  5. I totally do the same thing, both at home in my creative space and at work too. Have too many ideas swirling in my head and need to make a plan? - Clean out the files! Want to start a new series of projects? Throw things out and rearrange. It works to well! All of a sudden, through the act of purging and ordering things the energy is released and Voila! Things get done. Enjoy your "readying" phase, its priceless.

  6. Last week I spent 5 hours organizing all of my collage papers by color families. I know it won't stay like this but in the meantime I love that I can now go and easily scan through to see what I have to use when I need a specific color.

  7. I am with you, I need to clear my workspace to clear my mind.

  8. I need to sort stuff, put stuff away, find stuff... a bit like nesting I guess. Getting ready for the arrival of a new creative session.

  9. If I find that something just isn't working for me, I'm on it right away. I can't stand to work in disorder..I find it stifles my free flow because I get too worried about what my studio is looking like. It's too distracting. So, I totally get it when you say crazy creative, I fit the bill to a tee. By the way, I read your article in Artful Blogger...your sentiments were beautiful. You encouraged new bloggers by saying, "You will have readers!" Maybe you'll take a minute to come see the blog I started because of your inspiration in the mag! ciao

  10. I like to clean up first, and make everything beautiful and orderly. Then as I work and get closer to the deadline, I let the mess grow and grow and grow until it's taken over not only my studio, but my dining room table, my husband's workshop, the empty corners of other random rooms, etc. For my last show it spread to non-art-related areas of my life: dirty children who I forgot to bathe, abandoned food in the fridge that I ran out of time to cook, and loads of laundry skulking around that I neglected to wash. But it was a great show and I'm gradually re-gaining control of the home. That said, I need to go vaccuum.

  11. Oh how funny....I just had the same clean out urge of my studio. And now I feel like I can truly create again. It feels good to purge. And yes, it is a BIG part of my process. I find stuff that inspires me along the way too. Best wishes and happy creating!! J

  12. My weekend has consisted of reorganizing my studio as well...bringing order to the chaos.. I find that when I'm in the midst of things to do, I do the ONE thing that does not need to be done right then (like washing dishes, when I should have been making holiday ornaments for example).

    Happy making!


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