I am not sure if you are like me but I really struggle to keep my studio tidy. I seem to sometimes work in a crazy frenzy of creativity and throw paint and materials all over the place. At the end of the day the area looks like a disaster zone! So in an attempt to improve slovenly habits which may creep in, I share a few tips with you.
Firstly, and to get into the vibe of it all, we need to know that a true professional keeps his studio tidy. A messy studio indicates a messy mind, despite what you have read about other artists (some of them famous.)
- Simplify your possessions and keep only what is necessary. Go through your old brushes, used tubes of paint and paper, getting rid of what is not needed. A clear mind is a creative mind.
- Do all your tasks slowly and deliberately in true Zen like fashion. Rushing around doing random things will only dissatisfy and distract you. Multi-tasking is out, one task at a time is best; this keeps you in creative mode.
- Designate a daily time and place for creating. That way, other daily tasks fit in with your creative time. If a task is important enough to do regularly, it is important enough to lock in a time for it.
- Leave a space of time between your daily tasks, that way, you can relax if one task takes longer than you imagined. The whole idea is to free up stress for creating!
- Make it a ritual that you clean up and prepare your studio for the next day. A studio in chaos is quite disheartening the next day and can put your creative time in question. We all have experienced the dilemma of whether to get started or give in to something else that is tempting us.
- When he is finished for the day, a true professional lays his tools of trade neatly out ready to start the next day, the floor is swept, brushes cleaned and everything put back in its place.
- He would lay out tubes of paint, brushes, rags, mediums etc. With a new work, the canvas would be primed ready and the concept confirmed in his journal with sketches and ideas noted over time. All is ready to inspire him to start keenly the next day.
- In the case of a half completed work, preparation for the next day ideally would also include journal work. That means writing thoughts of your progress in your journal with some sketches to inspire you.
- It is also helpful to write ideas about your intentions for the next day. What do you hope to achieve? Where are you at with this work? Are you happy with your progress? What would you like to do differently? This helps so much the next time you working.
If you are a hobby artist just wanting to have fun, a tidy work space would still apply and the journal work would be not be necessary.
This all sounds a big harsh, I know, but the difference in your creativity will amaze you!
Here is a picture of a messy studio, how could anybody work there?
Thank you to David Eastwood for the following photograph:
Casa Morandi, 2012
paper, cardboard, foam core, wood, plastic, wire, glue, ink and paint
25 × 32.2 × 36.8 cm
Photograph by David Eastwood
Courtesy the artist and Robin Gibson Gallery
This picture shows a studio which is just begging you to get started! I know it is not possible to always store your things out of the way and have a minimalist work space like this, yet I believe these two pictures show how we can be motivated and keen to get started or otherwise.
Look out for Tutorial 2 in our Master class Series, coming soon!