Monday 23 July 2012

Creativity equals chaos

Many people seem to think that an artist's life is a serene one, that we drift through peaceful days in our studios, making art, sipping tea, contemplating the universe and pondering creative matters beyond the scope of "normal" folk. While this may be true for some, my life as an artist is anything but contemplative, particularly given all the elements involved in not only making art, but making it into a viable business. At the best of times there's some measure of chaos in my studio, but during this particular month as I gear up for a major art festival and juggle a heaping-handful of other projects, the notion of serenity is truly laughable!

Visitors to my studio nearly always find it in some degree of disarray unless I've managed to tidy up in preparation for a workshop, or a meeting, or an open studio event. That's just how I work. If things are too organized, I don't seem to be able to function. However, the state of affairs here right now is downright chaotic! And in the final days of preparation for the Filberg Festival the chaos is starting to overflow from my downstairs studio into the rest of the house.

Out in the foyer are boxes of my newly-printed 2013 calendar. Next to the boxes is a pile of plastic sleeves in which each calendar will be packaged.


Also in the foyer are baskets of newly-made bookmarks and fridge magnets bearing images of my art. An unsuspecting friend who over-nighted with me on the weekend was pressed into service running the laminating machine. As a result, the laminating machine and other related equipment/materials are currently set up upstairs in my kitchen.

My mobile art table has also found its way upstairs, and on it is a new drawing of a trio of tiny chickadees still in need of finishing touches.

Back downstairs in the studio itself is a rack of newly-painted silk scarves which will be soon be going into the steamer to "fix" the dyes and make them permanent.

On another rack are several new silk paintings, also awaiting the steamer. If all goes according to schedule, they will be framed, as will the chickadee trio, during the coming days. (I was fortunate to work as a professional picture framer earlier on in my life, so in addition to making the art I also frame it and therefore have yet another designated area of the house where that part of the process takes place.)

My silk painting table, where I've just finished up these projects, is littered with my palettes of dye, tubes of resist, pots of water, brushes, towels and other related items.

Meanwhile, over on my drawing table is a newly finished portrait of a lovely, appaloosa mare with beautiful dark eyes. I will be framing the portrait and then it will be claimed by its owner next month.

Sharing my drawing table are sketches for the book illustration project I'm working on. These sketches will be transformed into finished art pieces very soon.

And then there is my desk. It's challenging to describe this but I will try because I can't bring myself to show you a photo of it. It's a jumble of stuff: this morning's coffee cup, yesterday's bottle of water, applications for the upcoming Langley Art Studio Tour (I'm a founder/organizer of this event), pens, pencils, piles of paper, rolls of tape, a ball of string, a measuring tape, a couple of printer ink cartridges, my camera, notebooks, magazines, sticky notes I wrote to myself and which now make little sense... all manner of flotsam and jetsam that has ended up beached on my desk till I'm able to sort it out and either put it away or throw it away. In the midst of it is the brains of the organization: my computer whose monitor is adorned with still more sticky notes. Forming a backdrop is my jam-packed (and I do mean jam-packed) bulletin board. It's all actually kind of embarrassing. However, it's who I am and this is how I work, and as people who know me can attest, everything always gets done with reasonable efficiency. Some insightful person once said long ago, "out of chaos, comes order" and that's how it is with me.

Once the festival's past, projects are completed, and life returns to a more moderate pace, the chaos will also recede to a less "lively" level...that is, until the next crunch time rolls around. But until then I'd better get back to work in the organized chaos of my life as an artist.

And despite what's going on in my life, some members of the household manage to maintain their serenity and stay oblivious to it all.


  1. I knew you were busy, but not that busy! Let me know if I can help out, please.

    And - how tempting - those new silk paintings draped over the rack - can't quite see them, which is likely a good thing :-)


  2. I loved reading this D!! I can sooo relate thanks for putting it into perspective!! I know you will have your Zen moment sitting under the tent enjoying the public!