Art studio tour + can clutter really boost creativity?

Home art studio tour + why artists and creatives thrive in a messy environment

At the end of each year, I do an annual studio clean up: clear out the mess, scrub the dried paint off the table, and throw out the junk that tends to accumulate over the months. I thought I’d give you a little before and after of the process, plus a quick little studio tour!

My art studio is in a spare room that also doubles up as the husband’s study area, and these days as my home office.

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Finding my unique abstract language

Finding and developing my unique abstract language

Once upon a time, I hated abstracts. I didn’t understand the fascination with Jason Pollack’s crazy lines (still don’t), or why a single stipe of red across a canvas is considered “deep and meaningful work that traces the oeuvre” of an artist’s life and work (still don’t).

And still. I felt a pull towards abstract paintings. One that I didn’t understand. I mean, didn’t I just tell you how much I hated them?

So I tried. And resisted. And failed. And tried again. I got myself some books to try and understand abstract art – two, really:

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What your art practice can teach you about breaking out of your comfort zone

What your art practice can teach you about moving out of your comfort zone

As artists, most of us have our favorite color palette – the paint tubes and color pencils we reach for over and over again. Mine are blues, pinks, purples, and hints of orange.

Sometimes, though, it’s good to pick up the colors that you tend to ignore. For this particular painting, I spied a little-used tube of emerald green, which I decided to pair with orange and some hints of turquoise blue.

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Trust the process

Trust the process notes from an intuitive painting session

Notes from a recent intuitive painting session

Some days, you just feel so directionless, y’know? Like why are you here? What are you doing? What is the meaning of all this?

And those big questions make you feel scared and hesitant about everything. This is also something that shows up when I paint intuitively.

When I started this painting, I was just splashing paint, making marks, having fun (swipe to see – you’ll see a little arrow on the image below), and then I started getting scared.

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On my art table: The Mazaar

What influences your painting process?

For me, it’s often the music that I choose to listen to while I paint. Happy, upbeat music, for example, lends itself very well to fun mark making. Hand pans help me get into a more happy, floaty, flow-like painting state.

Needless to say, I’m always experimenting with the music that I listen to while I paint.

When I started this particular painting, I was listening to a Coke Studio playlist on Spotify. When Bismillah by Salim – Sulaiman, featuring Kailash Kher and Munawar Masoom came on, it captivated me and inspired the piece I was working on.

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100 day project 2020: 100 days of creative explorations

A variety of art supplies, brushes, and paint tubes on an art table

At the very last minute, I’ve decided to jump into the 100 day project again this year! {Wondering what that is? Check out this post on the 100 day project and how it can help you kick-start your creativity.}

I envision this as another working project, which means that I am not necessarily looking at 100 completed pieces of anything. But I am committing to 100 days of creative explorations – in whatever form it may show up.

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On becoming: musings on the intersection between chaos and liminal time

On my art table - intuitive art journal process - on becoming

Sometimes, things come together almost effortlessly – like this art journal spread. I started this spread in my art journal with swatches of paint, randomly painted on, to cover the entire page.

I then sketched in the figure, blocked it out with some dark blue paint, and softened the colors on the rest of the page with some white and titanium buff paint. I added in some paint to the figure’s hair, added a spiral symbol, a touch of shading, a little bit of etching, and before I knew it, the art journal spread just felt done!

I think this is one of the quickest art journal pages that I’ve ever created. And it all came from being in a state of complete openness and flow.

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On my art table: Desolate Hope

On my art table desolate hope

I call this: desolate hope.

It’s a painting for our times. For the strife and the hatred; the othering and the brutality; for the climate apathy and the ringing of the bells of war.

For the coming together in solidarity and love; for saying enough, no more, not in my name. For holding our leaders accountable; demanding climate action and social justice; holding out for peace and love and equality and brotherhood.Continue reading

On my art table: Angel’s Wings + dreaming an impossible dream

On my art table Angel's wings and how to make an impossible dream come true

Are you afraid of your dreams? Those big dreams and desires that seem to come out of nowhere and spill into your journal. The ones that seem to come from an expanded state, but that make ‘little you’ want to retreat into your shell because it seems TOO BIG and TOO IMPOSSIBLE a dream to achieve?

Yes, those ones.

The ones you won’t tell anyone because it makes you uncomfortable to even hold the dream, and you’re convinced that you will be laughed out of the room if you state it aloud.

I had one of those impossible dreams…it sneaked into my morning pages a few months ago…and it made me gasp aloud. I felt that beautiful expansive energy of the dream for a fleeting second before Prissy Missy, my inner critic, jumped in and said NO!Continue reading