Sunday, July 10, 2011

ABC's of Cleaning

Cleaning out is actually a wonderful way to restore a creative spirit.  All those “almost” projects pile up and act like spider webs, catching unsuspecting, delicate ideas and wrapping them in dusty confinement.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know I’ve been busy.  LUX Center for the Arts hosted an exhibit for me in May & June for which I created a series of paintings titled Private Property.  Four days after taking that one down, I opened an exhibit at The Burkholder Project with an entirely different group of paintings called A Larger View.  The day after that opening reception I hosted my community’s Art on the Green, part of our Independence Day festivities. 
I’m not complaining, I’m just sayin…
All this creative hustle and bustle has created quite a pile-up in my studio.  In an effort to multi-task my multiple events, I managed to build multiple mountains of half-finished, almost-but-not-quite-done projects.  You may know the kind:  you start “A”, but you can’t get “A” done because “B” needs doing immediately, and then there’s  “C” which got started last week and is now in the way, so you scoot “C” over on top of “A”, and then your eye is caught by bright and shiny “D”, which looks like waaaay more fun than anything else you’ve started. Using this formula, I’ve run through the alphabet several times over, piling ever higher and wider. At one point I couldn’t tell where one project ended and another one started. My creative space was one long interrelated complicated … mess.

Mom was right, a place for everything and everything in its place

I can’t work in that kind of situation.  Tripping over piles of artistic detritus doesn’t inspire me to creative heights.  My studio is small enough without walls of rummage closing in on me.  I'm not saying I need spic'n'span surfaces and shelves of books alphabetized by author, but it would be nice to know under which pile my 4' x 8' work table could be found.
All surfaces accounted for
So, 4 days and 3 large garbage bags of pieces-parts later, I’m all tucked in and ready to go again. My second hand nearly new taboret is cleaned, painted and stuffed full of all the right stuff. I’ve got room to move, and better yet, room to think.  Those delicate webs of lovely ideas have been released and are dancing in my imagination, waiting patiently for me to respond. 
I can hardly wait.
Hot off my shiny clean easel  © Patricia Scarborough  12 x 16 pastel, as yet untitled

6 comments:

Hannah said...

Patty--What a humorous description of artistic process! I know I frequently encounter the "A,B,C" type of arrangement and when I want to get going on a new series, a good straightening sets my mind and body to rights so that I can plow full-steam ahead. I think that the idea of the messy artist's studio as a prerequisite to great creativity may be somewhat over-rated. Your new landscape is proof enough for me...

Patty said...

Hannah, I wonder if a benefit of a small studio is the lack of space for keeping bits and pieces of "treasure". Like a Grand Buffet, too many choices can be overwhelming and actually gives me "brain freeze". And thank you for the kind comment on my new landscape!

Karine said...

Hi Patty,

Would you please come over and help me organize MY studio???? hee hee. Yours looks beautiful. I don't know if I could ever get mine in such an orderly condition. Although I do agree that a messy work space does inhibit creativity. So true!

Patty said...

I hire out, but I warn you - I'm good at using a garbage bag!

Liz Crain said...

So, Patty, dearest, I'm with you all the way! It think it's getting to be de rigeur to get busy and messy and then to go about setting it all a-right with a soul-satisfying purge. My latest one is unexpected, but like you I'm approaching it with gusto. I told my husband it's similar to declaring a major and now won't be taking any of those other classes again!

Patty said...

I love that comparison - I remember clearly the relief felt when the major was declared - well into what should have been a senior year...