Art is Life is Art: Do your surroundings make a difference?

“Stop counting crayons, just draw pictures.”  ~Mark Scharenbroich

pockets of order

The new wild thyme studio space is slowly coming together.  I’m combining what used to be three different small work spaces into one large one, which is simultaneously exciting and overwhelming.  I know how I worked in the old spaces, but I find myself just staring at things and trying to decide how I’ll work in the new space.   One thing is certain, I like my space to be more than just functional.  I like {actually, need} for it to be inspirational too.

worktable mess

It’s not that things have to be pristine, but sometimes the creative explosions get out of hand and I can’t dig through the resulting clutter to create the next thing.  I’ve come to realize that, as I recently told a friend,

I create chaos, but require order.

Thus, I find myself in a constant dance between keeping the space tidy and actually using it to make art.  One of the ways that I keep my balance is to create vignettes.  I dedicate specific areas that stay “fixed up”.  Whether it’s a magnetic poetry board or a pretty stack of books, these little pockets of beauty give me peace –  a place to put my eyes.

Because ultimately, the work has to get done. Period.   I have also figured out that one of my avoidance behaviors is to stay in tidy mode for too long.  So, in order to shift from overwhelmed-by-clutter to get-in-there-and-DO-IT.  I practice the following short sequence:

1.  put my eyes on the pretty thing, vignette or board

2.  take a deep breathe

3.  then turn into the chaos and DO the THING.

pull yourself together

By | 2016-10-19T14:20:38+00:00 October 10th, 2010|Art is Life is Art|6 Comments

About the Author:

I create containers for words and paint and I fill them. I craft safe, sacred spaces for people to wrestle, create, heal and shout from the mountain tops.
And I teach people to do all of these things for themselves.

  • Yolanda

    Betsy, my dilemma is that I get stuck in the clutter mode. I like the suggested sequence. My problem there is that I can’t really take a deep breath. Did you notice I called for help in blowing out the birthday candles? Of course, you didn’t have to use the whole box. I’ll do a “Yoli breath” anyway and proceed from there…manana.

  • great blog Betsy, love your work! I agree, the studio is always a balancing act between chaos and order, one moving toward the other, and I am a vignette person too! ciao!

  • Wondering how my creativity + working style would be impacted by having a studio instead of working at the breakfast table. I work so well right now, given the constraints. I love how you described the process – about your chaotic art requiring order. Love that!

    • Tammy – It’s interesting how constraints can actually make us more productive. I think that stretching into a new space and setting up a new website has actually slowed down my production for a season. p.s. I love the art from your kitchen table.


  • Joy

    I’m so happy to have come across your blog (through Daisy Yellow’s). I’m currently re-oganizing my creative space too and you’re right, it’s really overwhelming. I do a lot of the staring and not much moving, which isn’t helpful! I’ve bookmarked your site–it’s great!

    • Joy – thanks so much for stopping by! We talk and share a lot here about all aspects of the creative life. Welcome to the conversation!