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Purging Your Studio

Tom Neel's Studio
My purged studio!

We artists can be like little squirrels trying to hide nuts for the winter. We put things here, we puts things there, we basically put stuff everywhere! It is as if we grow stuff in the way of odd stretcher bars, left over frames, photos, notes and sketches. Between the tools of the trade and the keeping of keeping on, we can be overrun by our own creative selves.

Some of this can’t be helped and some of it isn’t bad to be surrounded by that which you do, but it can also be a burdensome anchor, or a mooring keeping you in one place. This then, my art loving friends, is what I will refer to as an unhealthy studio. To create fresh, you must at least make an attempt to surround yourself in freshness.

Uncompleted projects, especially those you say you’ll finish one day, may seem on the back burner, but they can inhibit real cooking on the front burner and hey, you may need all burners to really whip up your best creative meal. So I recommend discarding them. That’s right, clean up the studio and as part of that, pitch those unfinished things that do not likely represent where you are today anyway.

I knew an artist once who was in the process of moving, to start a new life in a new place, well over a thousand miles away. When I asked he/she about an old painting, I was told it was years old, frustratedly uncompleted, but he/she was taking it. I said what!!? Throw the damn thing out! If you haven’t finished by now you never will and taking it will allow it to finish you! How can you start life a new by dragging frustration with you? In the end, the painting stayed and he/she never moved. The painting won.

Don’t let this be you. An artist's life is a journey. Let your best work lead the way and clear the clutter to help it do so!

Live an artful life,