Sunday, May 24, 2009

Creative Space

Deborah T. Colter brought up a great theme in her blog post last week, about finding the space and time to be creative and nurture the muse, without getting blocked by all the extraneous and irrelevant "stuff" of life. This has always been a challenge for artists, and particularly women artists, who have very often put their families and homes before their own creative pursuits.

Emanation I, 2009, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches
© 2009 Diane McGregor

I have found that nurturing the space within is the most important factor when it comes to finding the time and space to paint. I've gone from a huge warehouse studio to a spare bedroom in my home. I've stopped making excuses. I think I procrastinated more in my large spacious studio than in my home studio, where the detritus of everyday life somehow floats in and clutters things up. I have tried to clear my creative mind by being very clear on what my goals as a painter are. I am very clear about what I want in my paintings and what I don't want. I write it down. I contemplate these ideals daily. Somehow, this practice has enabled me to be very creative and productive even in my cramped studio. And I also love being in my studio -- it does not feel like a cramped, unworkable space -- I have a corner where I do my painting and I just love sitting there writing, reading, looking, listening, painting, dreaming. This is very important: to love being in your creative space, internally and externally. But it's the internal clutter that needs to be swept away, not necessarily the bills, pets, books, and papers that make their way into the studio. This internal space needs preparation, supervision, and nourishment. This is where we make our art, in our minds and in our hearts, this sacred space that can give us all we need to create if we just keep it nurtured and free.


Deborah T. Colter said...

Thank you for your thoughts DIane. Yes, I agree, we need to nurture the space within it is where we make our art. It is interesting that you found it easier to work in a smaller space - I often long for a larger space - I suppose it is the old "grass is always greener thing". I came across this quote by de Kooning; "If I stretch my arms and wonder where my fingers are – that is all the space I need as a painter." Somehow it he says it all.

Thanks for continuing the conversation... and the link!


Barbara Cowlin said...

You are so right! I think of it as creating a bubble that I step into to go to work. Inside the bubble, all there is is me and my painting. The trick is to create the bubble in the first place. It's a mental barrier to all the extraneous stuff that keeps one from being able to create. For me it has something to do with establishing a routine that is fairly rigid, so I don't allow the question of whether I should be in my studio or cleaning the house, etc. to even come up. At least that's what I aim for.

Lori Landis said...

I too had a big studio space for 5 years then moved back to my home and put my studio in the open dining area for 3 and a half years and now I'm moving to a shared space in artists' lofts. I keep moving to smaller spaces but I love to do large works. I really didn't appreciate the large studio space because I was fighting my inner demons. I spent the last year working with a Spiritual coach and now I really feel free to appreciate and have gratitude for all my blessings. It is how you look at things. So now I'm going into a new experience and looking forward to continue my journey. I'm jazzed!

Angela Wales Rockett said...

Oh, yes!

Connie Kleinjans said...

Oh my goodness. An abstract painter! And one who wrestles with similar stuff that I do! Must read more... (Happy to have found you.)

Kim Hambric said...

I think, as a woman and a mother, no matter how much I try to create my own space within when I am in my studio, the outside world always works its way in.

I think about my daughter at school and if her headache is better. I think of a gathering I am going to in the evening and whether I need to take food or wine. I think about the in-laws coming to visit and how much cleaning I need to do before they come. I think these things because I know that no one else is. My creative bubble is always being intruded upon.

It may be because my studio is in my home. Would my inner space expand if I had an outside studio? Perhaps I should just let these things intervene with my work -- become part of my art.

Your work is so ethereal. You must be quite good at clearing out the "stuff". My work is busy and cluttered -- full of stuff.

Diane McGregor said...

Thank you all for participating -- I notice we are all women, though. I wonder if men have a natural resilience to the outside "stuff." My husband seems to, he's able to put aside whatever is not essential to his work when he's working. Like you, Kim, I also let those thoughts in (usually thoughts about caring for others, yes?) but I have gotten a lot better at letting them just go during the time that I am painting. I think as I've grown older I see how important it is to do the work -- the other stuff can wait sometimes.

lisa said...

Enjoyed this post

ArtPropelled said...

I like your idea of writing down what you want in your art and what you don't want and keeping these points in mind. A habit I've let slip .... thinking on paper to find clarity. I love all three in your Emanation series.