This commission was a great way to stretch myself and try something totally out of the ordinary for me. It was a good exercise in observation as I had never looked really closely at a crab. They are quite complex creatures, and working on this painting really brought that front and center for me and was a nice way to gain some appreciation for an animal I had previously not paid a lot of attention to. What is an animal that you were surprised about when you learned more about it?
This painting is going to a beach house near Fairhope, Alabama.
Over the years I've discovered that the way I set up my creating space is really important. I'd love to say that I can just create anytime, anywhere, but the fact of the matter is I am just far more productive if I set up my studio space in the right way. I've experimented a lot to find what works for me. I know, for example, if I try to hide all my primary art-making supplies out of sight it will create a barrier to my ability to just sit down and paint, which can hinder painting if I'm in a time crunch. I also don't like to feel too crowded, or to feel that things are too cluttered. I used to love to have all the things I found beautiful around me, but I discovered that it actually makes my brain feel cluttered and distracted, which affects my productivity and planning.
If you are a creative person, make sure you get to know yourself. Pay attention to what you use as excuses and when you feel the most creative and productive. No need to judge yourself, just be curious. Then work with your strength and not against your weaknesses. I don't know why it took me so long to figure that out, but following this strategy has helped me a lot. Now when I am developing goals, new systems, schedules, etc. I always ask myself, "Am I working with my strengths or against my weaknesses." If it is the later I make a different plan, or if another plan is not an option I can plan strategies to help with my weak areas.
I recently moved, and this above photos is my new studio space. I teach online as well so the space needed to be able to accommodate an easy transition between teaching and painting. I accomplished this with my rolling table that doubles as a place for my palette, computer, and brushes when painting; and can then be rotated to the front to serve as a desk. In this position my painting becomes a backdrop. I love the big windows and there is a wood burning stove in the room as well. I'm really pleased with the set up, and have found it to be a productive space. What strategies do you use in your work space(s)?
Below are a few of my past studio spaces, and if you need some inspiration for yourself check out this post.