Having a messy studio clouds my mind when I try to paint.
I can never start a painting with a mess in my studio, yet I hate to clean up. So I have to make it easy on myself and keep my studio in what I call an organized mess.
That means everything has its place in a box or bin and is very easy to clean up.
Even if I’m right in the middle of a painting, if I feel clouded or stuck, I’ll clean my workspace. It’s like taking a step away… it frees my creativity, giving me a fresh space to work and new eyes to better see where to take my painting.
Here are 5 Tips For Your Creative Space:
1. Paint on newsprint – When I’m painting at my studio table, I set my canvas, water bucket and paint palette on top of a giant pad of newsprint (24 x 30″). I use the newsprint as my painting surface. This keeps me from ruining my studio table and it makes for easy clean up. Then I can wipe off excess paint from my brushes or scribble oil paintsticks around to get to the creamy part right on the newsprint. Once the newsprint is all crazy and messy, I rip off the top sheet and start fresh. It feels like I cleaned up without having to do much, so I can keep on creating and stay in the flow.
2. Only keep out what you use most – If I had out all of my art supplies and colors, I’d get completely overwhelmed. I only keep out the supplies I use most often. This makes it easy to manage. In pretty much every painting I use: acrylic paints, acrylic inks, oil paintsticks, paint pens and water-soluble pencil, so that’s what stays out, in my favorite colors. Then when I get stuck, I go into my supply closet and get something I haven’t used in awhile for new inspiration.
3. Boxes, bins and baskets – I have a specific container for every sort of supply, so when I’m ready to clean up, I can just throw all of the same things into one container. I keep my tubes of paint and acrylic inks in the top shelf of a tool box (this stays out on my table), collage papers go in a grocery bag, oil paintsticks get piled on a paper plate, my water-soluble pencil and sharpener goes into a plastic to-go container, paint pens stand in an old glass teapot. I call it an organized mess. It takes a few seconds to clean up.
4. Shelves on wheels – I have lots of shelves on wheels where I can keep my baskets and boxes of supplies. Then they all just get wheeled into the closet, out of sight, or off to the side when I’m finished for the day. This also makes it easy for me to take my studio outside. And it’s easy to see and find my inventory, so I don’t get stuck running out of my favorite supplies or colors.
5. Clean water – I don’t have running water in my studio but it’s super important for me to keep my paint bucket water clean so my colors don’t get all muddy. So I’ve taken to keeping a 5 gallon bucket in the closet along with a water cooler so I can dump the dirty paint water into the bucket and refill.
I hope that helps to keep you inspired!