I started the year by taking a little break from painting, doing some drawing and working out some new ideas and techniques I wanted to try. Or…was that my way of avoiding my messy art room?

I was knee deep in it at the end of the year. I held my first art sale, participated in a Holiday Bazaar, and made gifts for Christmas. My art room got a really good work out! When I am in the mix of creating and stuff is everywhere I feel like a have a pretty good handle on things. Let’s call it an “organized mess.” And that works most of the time. But after a nice run of painting, say 3 to 6 months, I look around and think wow I have stuff on top of stuff, on top of stuff.  I really do need to clean up.

Now that I’ve been at this for a couple of years, I have a little process for my clean up. First, I start with the containers of paint. I don’t have the heart to just dump old paint. Paints I mixed and never used because I didn’t like the color, changed my mind or just went in a whole different direction. So, I mix all these into a couple of different cups for a “dirty pour.” I think there’s a bit of freedom in just going for it and not really caring about the outcome because really, I’m just trying to clear out some old paint. But the crazy thing about this is that I have gotten some of my best pours this way. I’ve even sold two paintings as a result.

Next, after I finish with the “get rid of some old paint pours,” I go through my paint crates. Why do I have so many empty paint bottles? Really! Look at all of the room I have now for new paint. Then I move on to just placing things back in their original home. Yes, these paint sticks, brushes, cups, and tools do have a home.

I really do create better when I flow around my workspace effortlessly and with efficiency. It drives me bonkers whenever I mess up a painting because I grabbed a dirty tool or can’t find a tool I needed. “Argh…where is it?”If you have been there or are there now, stop, clean, and enjoy the freedom to create that comes from a clean and organized area.

P.S. I shared this post with a fellow artist and it inspired her to clean her room and get back to creating great art. These are her before and after pics.

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