Thursday, February 13, 2014

Variety is the Spice of the Studio Life

The beginnings of a new painting: drawings and prints on fabric.
I work daily at my studio.  There are moments, in February maybe more than usual , when I stay home because it's winter, or because I have to do paperwork, or obsessively read the latest rock biography.  But most days I head to the studio.  Those studio days usually last anywhere from two to twelve hours.  Most of what I'm doing during that time is painting.  But even a life where you are actively engaged in your  favorite activity can get monotonous.  Maybe monotonous isn't the word I'm looking for… sometimes it's the opposite.  It can actually be too intense, too focused, too exhausting.  What's a driven self employed person to do when they need to take a break from their passion?  I can always jump outside and go for a ski, walk through the breathtaking Door County woods or peek into the wood-shop and watch some guitars being built.  But I'm in work mode, and I'm ready to start a new project.  Today my break from the ordinary was a session of paper cutting, paper mache-ing  boxes and collaging suitcases!

Decoupaged boxes, vintage file cases and suitcases, in progress.
Before I made the leap into painting as a full time job, I ran a retail store in Fish Creek Wisconsin, and many of you have visited me there:)  A large percentage of my inventory was my own line of up-cycled clothing and accessories, called Refab™.  I developed such an enthusiasm for working with recycled materials that recycling has become the norm in my life and work.  I try to only buy new materials when I have no other choice, such as paints, mediums and brushes.  The boards I paint on, the papers I collage with and the fabrics I mold into painting surfaces are all used and found materials.
So, when I'm waiting for the paint to dry, both literally and figuratively, a day spent cutting, decoupaging and making paper mache is a welcome change.  I can put on the music or audio book and just have fun… not taking life too seriously and not thinking too much.
The key to balance and happiness in a full time studio seems to be in having more than one project going at a time, leaving the option to walk away from a project when space is needed.  The result, a happy, messy, and spicy creative life!
What do you do in your artistic life to break the routine?  I'm thinking I'm going to be adding many new things to my list in the upcoming years, and would enjoy hearing about other artists creative spice!

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