From Chaos to Calm

Three things I’ve learned this week:

  • Feng Shui helps you plan your creative space more creatively
  • Decluttering is much easier when you take things out of context
  • Completely rethinking how you use large and small spaces is re-energising

Over the last two weeks I have rearranged my studio space twice.  Well, most of it.

I hadn’t stepped into my studio for weeks, except to open/close the curtains and dump stuff on my desk, and I didn’t have the energy or drive to do anything about it.  My headspace felt cluttered too, and I started to question what life would feel like if I gave up my art altogether.

Then this blog post from Anna Mason popped into my inbox. And a little research into Feng Shui for creative spaces took me to this gem of a post on Rogue Habits.  It’s a work in progress, but here’s my new studio layout:

Studio Calm

I was unsure about pushing my desk up to a wall, but the move to Abundance and Prosperity promised more of an adventure than infinite self-discovery in Wisdom and Self-Awareness.  Plus, the view of our back garden was a distraction when my desk was in the middle of the floor.  I’m now sitting in the most Eastern (and auspicious) point of our home, and there’s a mirror on my desk so I can see opportunity (and Mr C) approach.  There’s still lots of clutter to deal with (currently residing in our living room) but I’m already feeling brighter and creative ideas keep popping into my head.

I’m still not sure whether I believe in Feng Shui, but if it works, who am I to judge?

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Chaos Theory

Here’s one reason I’m currently in a creative rut:


Another reason: I’m just k*d.  (Yes, that really is a model aeroplane hanging on my easel.)

WordPress prompt: Knackered

The post Chaos Theory first appeared on Filbert & Smudge.Knackered

Life (Re-)Modelling

My life is an unwritten To Do List.

As I move around my home there are little vignettes of clutter; reminders of things I should be attending to:

  • A pile of drawing and painting books I’ve borrowed from the library – on watercolour and drawing buildings
  • The open sketchbook, watercolour paints and brushes, and basil plant on my desk – I’m trying to paint a basil leaf in various consistencies of Sap Green watercolour for an Anna Mason Art School tutorial
  • Images for Colette Wardrobe Architect Week 2 – for a vision board of my five defining words

Sift through a few shelves and drawers in my studio and you will find:

  • New and half-finished sketchbooks – and diaries and brochures that will also become sketchbooks
  • Pencils, paints and collage materials
  • Knitting yarn, fabric remnants, knitting and sewing patterns
  • Plus loads of inspiration

I’m excited just thinking about the possibilities!  But, I have to be realistic, I have way more than I need and some of these things don’t seem so relevant to me anymore.  But before I embark on another decluttering spree, I want to try something else.  I’d like to start again.  I’d like to craft a new life that reflects the person I want to be, and then see if everything fits.  I have a few ‘roadmaps’ to try, so we’ll see where they take me.

WordPress prompt: The Poetry of List-Making

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A Skirting Issue

I write because I want to apologise; I’m so sorry I’ve been neglecting you. But the last four months have been brilliant.

When I wrote my April ‘New Year’ resolutions, I set out to be prolifically creative. I had no expectation beyond a regular commitment (and wrote about that here). Just 15 minutes-a-day drawing or painting was enough to say I had begun my journey.

Back then I had a frustrating pencil habit (which you may recall I wrote about here and here). I felt compelled to master graphite drawing before I would allow myself to explore colour. Graphite grey with contrasts of white and black seemed so easy, albeit a bit dull. So, you’ll be surprised to learn I’m now exploring watercolour. I mean, watercolour! It’s not as if I can just paint over my mistakes as I can with acrylics or oils. I’ve also been working on some imaginary character ideas, thanks to a fantastic Craftsy course. But I’ll have to write about that on another occasion.

“You’re making great progress with your art”, said Mr C a few days’ ago. Yay! After what feels like decades of false starts I’m on a path and can only look forward.

So, Wardrobe Architect, I hope this explains why I’ve been neglecting you. I’ve been so focused on building a new version of me from the inside (creative confidence) that I haven’t thought about the new version of me from the outside (personal image). Yet my overstuffed wardrobe is crying out for some breathing space. I mean, do I really need 30 skirts?

Quantity isn’t the only issue. Some of my clothes just don’t fit the personal image I’m creating for myself. They are reminders of previous versions of me, and I would rather leave them behind. So, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll revisit where I left off, and maybe do some watercolour, and graphite, studies of a few skirts, before letting them go. It would be a shame not to.

WordPress prompt: The Things We Leave Behind

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Clothing & Creativity (2)

How should an artist/illustrator dress for work? And why does it matter?

Back in April, I committed to my two New Year Resolutions: 1). to overhaul my wardrobe; and 2). to become prolifically creative. At the time I hadn’t realised how one could impact the other.  But as I question what is holding me back creatively, I’m beginning to understand how my clothes affect my mood, my confidence, and my creative output.

Some days I can throw on a sweatshirt and jeans and drawing comes naturally. I’m not really aware of what I’m wearing as I’m happy and comfortable.  I don’t need to worry about messing up my sweatshirt as I bought it for messing around in, although practicality wasn’t my only consideration when I bought it.

There are days when I need a confidence boost, and I’ll try on three or four different outfits before considering myself ready. The discarded clothes are a clue to how I’m feeling, so I hang them back up to remove the distraction and regain some order.  Hopefully, a wardrobe overhaul will leave me with fewer pieces to choose from, each one guaranteed to help me shine on a cloudy day.  And the less time I worry about what I’m wearing, the more creatively focussed I will be.

But how should I, as an artist/illustrator, dress for work? If my outfit can affect my mood, and therefore my work, do I need to dress as the person I’m striving to be?  If I experiment with my clothes, will I feel more inclined to experiment with my drawing?

I’m considering wearing my shoes when I’m in my home studio. They’ll remind me to not think about laundry when I’m making a mug of tea.  I might also wear my paint-splattered apron.  Just in case my husband doesn’t notice I’m wearing shoes.

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