Setting the stage for a creative space
When you see a piece of art, where does your mind take you? A raw watercolour displaying a roaring storm after a fire; your mind takes you into the scene of the painting. You imagine what it would feel like, or smell like to be within the picture. You think of the animals that would have had to flee to escape the blaze, and the relief the pouring rain would bring. But do you ever think of how the painting came to be? How it was created? The thoughts that were going through the artists mind when they were dipping their brush into the royal blue paint? There are many factors that influence the outcome of a piece of art, and being an artist, it is important to recognise those factors.
For me, I believe it is crucial to have a set up that works for you; free of distractions and clutter, and a space that gives you the ability to be free throughout your creation. No matter the size of the space you have, whether you have a large studio space, or work from an easel on your porch, it is important to make that space feel right for you. This is because creating a space that feels comfortable, free from clutter and distractions helps build the perfect mindset for creating beautiful pieces of art, no matter your medium or style.
As an artist for over 30 years, I have practiced art from many different spaces and locations. From drawing out of a note pad on the train during my corporate, commuting days, to the studio space I have today at The Levee Art Gallery & Studios. And I have come to learn what does and what doesn’t work for me when setting a creative space.
So, I would like to share some things that I do as part of my routine when setting up my creative space.
When I am playing around in the studio, it is vital that I have music playing in the background. Music gets the mind and body moving and can influence your mood. Music changes depending on mood and as such the mood of my paintings can change depending on the music I am listening to. Being able to recognise how music can influence your mood is also important because it does in fact impact on how you create. I am very much in tune with this and am able to recognise and change the music to suit the style of work I am trying to achieve. One of my favourite playlists on Spotify is the ’50 Great Female Voices’. I also love chucking on some opera, especially when starting a brand-new piece as it is very empowering.
Taking the time to breathe. Before I start working in the studio, I sit down with a cup of tea in my arm chair and just focusing on my breathing and presence. I do this to clear my mind of any thoughts outside of the studio to ensure outside factors don’t influence my work. I sit there with my two dogs and set my intention for the day. I think about what I want to achieve so that when I stand up, I do it with purpose. I think it is evident when a piece has purpose rather than when it has just been aimlessly created.
Using my Senses
Another part of my routine is burning essential oils when I am in the studio. I have had many students come into my workshops and complement me on the nice energy I have created, and I believe a big part of this is because of how it smells and this plays on your senses when you walk in the room. Again, the scents that I choose to put in the diffuser will change depending on my mood and how I am feeling, and this can also influence my work. If I am feeling worn out or exhausted I tend to put citrus scented oils on such as Doterra Citrus Bliss, or an old favourite for calming my senses is good old Lavender. Part of my routine when teaching students is to also burn white sage before and after workshops to clear the space of any negative energy.
I believe that being aware of your self-presence is key when creating pieces of art and creating a space that allows you to be in tune with your senses, free from distractions from the outside world. Such an awareness can help you get in ‘flow’. I find that when you are in tune with yourself, paintings come together much easier and intuitively. Not all people like routine and find beauty in spontaneity, which is also okay as long as you find that it works for you. I know what works for me in my space and as a teacher I like to share this in the hope that it will help someone else create a space that works for them. If you are interested in talking more about tips on how to become more in-tune with yourself, I will be discussing this during the Floral Blooms Workshops. Spaces are still available for this workshop in November. Click here for more information.