Cleaning Your Studio/Work Space

One of the best things about being a painting student is how much fun it is making a mess while making something beautiful! In fact something I loved as a fresh-faced freshmen was what our painting teacher, Steven, wrote at the end of our first semester’s syllabus and something he’s included on every one since; ‘Make a mess!’ seeing that in writing reassured us all of how much freedom this major allows those who pursue it, something that is incredibly important for all students in the arts.

However, after a while if left unattended the mess could really start piling up, inhibiting your ability to work. Empty tubes of paint, unwashed brushes sitting in dirty grey paint water, and dried up useless paint covering your palette, crowded work spaces could lead to a crowded mind blocking your creativity I’ve found. This is why it’s important to take the time once in a while to really spend the day to straighten up and organize your studio/ workspace so you’re able to create more freely! Taking time to clean up is also a good excuse to step away from whatever you’re working on for a little which is an invaluable skill to have as an artist.

Take The Time

Setting aside a day to clean the studio is actually a lesson I learned before coming to Marywood. I had a very good art teacher my sophomore year of high school who made it a point that all the students would set aside a whole day (or two if need be) about once a month to clean the entire studio. All of us would scrub the sink of dried up paint, polish the brushes with soap to keep them in top shape, sweep the floors, organize the paint according to color, pile up loose papers and return all materials to their designated areas. It was a pain in the ass. But it taught us to respect the materials that belonged to us in order to preserve them because they are NOT CHEAP! Not Cheap at all. Above all it taught us to respect the shared space that we all occupy, which is exactly what the studios at Marywood are, a shared Space. When creating in a shared space its very important to respectful and supportive to all the artists around you because you’re all in the same boat and whats more respectful than keeping to boat clean!

Stepping Back

taking a day to clean up the studio also offers you a great chance to step away from whatever you’re working on than coming back to it with a clear head. One of the worst thing a painter can do is work on a piece without taking a break. Oof, have i made that mistake. Cutting out time to clean up helps you let your art work “breathe” so to speak, as you walk around your space washing brushes, organizing your sketches, whatever, youll be able to see you work from all different angles and perspectives, every something else entirely sometimes. I always think of cleaning up anything really, as a sort of meditation exercise. Painting is involves a ton of problem solving so you could always benefit from a little mindfulness and cleaning is the perfect thing to spend the time thinking about you project’s next step in my opinion!

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