Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


An Empty Studio Is Like An Empty Canvas

Last week the cleaning company was here to inspect my studio carpet and to remove the water stains left by this winter’s ice dam damage. The thought of a cleaning company coming into the studio caused a bit of anxiety in me. This meant I’d have to pick up, pack up, and clean out the studio.


Here is a picture of my studio’s current layout:

Now you understand part of my dilemma. Like any good artist, I have a LOT of stuff. The thought of packing and moving artwork, books, tools, etc is enough to send shivers down my spine. Where are those fairy godmothers when you need them?

Well, I’ll save the fancy carriage and all for later….

Anyways, with a little “Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo” over a few days, the books were packed, artwork stored, and tables moved.

Soon the studio looked like this:


My studio was transformed into a nearly empty space. An empty space that now felt a little intimidating, like staring at a blank canvas and not knowing what to do with it.

Clearing out the studio has had its benefits. As I packed each box, I was forced to decide if I want to keep all this stuff. Sometimes, I would set aside some items before the box was packed. If not, I told myself I’d have to go through the box when it is unpacked and thin the art herd.

Since the studio is scheduled to be painted in the coming weeks. I can’t move everything back into it. Only essential items are allowed (and other things I’ll have to go digging to find them.) This too has been a good practice because I’m getting used to having fewer items out and around me. It opens more space physically and creatively. I know from past experience that the more cluttered my studio, the more cluttered my head, and the harder it is for me to be creative.

Here is my current, temporary layout:

This period between carpeting cleaning and studio painting is a good time to try some different layouts. It is a little too early to say whether I like this layout or not. I do like having my primary work table facing into the studio. Not sure about the L formed with the other tables. And of course I haven’t thought too much about the other floor lamps and stacks of storage drawers that are still hidden away and how they’d fit into this layout. (Or maybe they don’t and I’ll condense the materials.)

So here I am with a half finished canvas. I’m open to hearing your thoughts. Seen any studios that inspire you? If so, post a link in the comments section. Silly me packed my artist studio books & magazines.


The Unfinished Business Bucket

As I continue to work on clearing the clutter, I noticed that I had a number of unfinished projects laying about my studio.  I’m sure I’m not the first artist to develop this notorious habit.

There are pieces of art that I started in a workshop and never finished.  A project that cracked during the curing process that I thought I could fix.  An idea that seemed good when I started it but it didn’t quite turn out the way I imagined.

I don’t know why I hang-on to these pieces but I do.  I hang onto them thinking I’ll finish them someday.  In reality they take up valuable table space and I find myself simply moving them from one place to another in my studio.

I suppose I could toss them out.  For some reason that isn’t an option I’m able to accept.

Until now.


As part of my effort to get clear and get through the clutter, I created the Unfinished Business Bucket or UBBIn this bucket I have placed these numerous projects.  The bits and pieces and scrum that have laid unfinished, undesired, unwanted.

And to myself I have given a challenge.  Once a week, or thereabouts, I will pull a piece from the Unfinished Business Bucket and make a determination: To Finish It, To Re-invent It, or To Dump It.

I don’t expect this to be easy.  There must be some pack-rat, can’t waste, I’ll find a use for it someday spirit in my past who causes this to happen.

Whatever it is I want to confront it and use it to my benefit.  I look at this as another exercise in creativity.  Perhaps by clearing out the old, I can make way for new ideas and inspiration.

Or perhaps I’ll just end up with a really clear, clean studio.


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Clearing Out for a New Year

In the past, I found the beginning of a new year to be both exciting and sad.  It was sad because the holiday season was ending and often with it the joyous attitude of many people.  It was exciting because the year was new and full of opportunity.

Entering into 2008 I feel no sadness; only excitement and opportunity.  I look forward to removing the holiday decorations because it feels like I’m clearing out the old to welcome the new.  The weight of the holiday season is being lifted in anticipation of new ventures, new opportunities, new possibilities.

Throughout the year and especially during this past month, I’ve spent time cleaning out closets and drawers in our house.  We have a standing rule: If you haven’t used it or worn it in two years, it gets donated.  I love donating knowing that what I no longer need, use, or want, can find new life with someone else.  I’ve been blessed with many “things” in my life and over time many of those “things” lose their luster for me.  It is a sign of my changing as a person; a change in decorating taste, a change in color preference,  a change in attitude that tells me I want to make life better for someone else and that I no longer need “stuff” to feel worthy.  We have a great community organization nearby.  WHEAT Community Services provides services to families in our area, runs a food pantry, a community cafe, and a thrift store and collaborates with other community agencies.  What impressed me most about WHEAT was knowing that my donations support people in my surrounding area.  It is not uncommon to drop off items for donation to WHEAT and have them set aside something specific for a certain family with an immediate need.  They know their clients by name and what they need.

And it isn’t just material things that I’m clearing from my life.  I’ve made new friends, re-established past friendships, grown stronger in current friendships and “released” other people and commitments from my life.  I’m listening to that inner voice and learning to pay more attention to it.  Organization is also rearing its head.  Rolling carts in the studio to hold materials and tools previously stacked on tables and shelving to get stuff off the floor.  Baskets and containers in the kitchen and bathroom to consolidate body condiments and display goodies.

I no longer make resolutions.  I never kept them and always questioned why we made resolutions to do something that we should probably be doing all year round anyways.  And if I decided I was going to do something, why should I wait until the beginning of a new year to do it?  Christine Kane has a great approach to making resolutions on her blog.  She refers to traditional resolutions as the DO-HAVE-BE model where we typically get stuck in the DO mode.  Instead, Christine recommends a BE-DO-HAVE model where we begin changing our lives on the BE level which in turn makes the DO and HAVE levels easier to attain.

One thing I did decide to do this year was to participate in Christine’s Great Big Dreams e-Seminar.  It started this week and I’m already contemplating future blog posts based on what I’m learning and experiencing.  It is another way in which I’m clearing out and being clear for the new year.

How are you clearing out for the new year?