Skip to content

Organized Chaos

September 22, 2012

An interesting discussion has been happening on facebook, started by abstract painter Madeline Denaro, with a picture of her studio table loaded with paints, mediums, brushes — you name it — showing a very creative and free-flowing process. I jumped in and said that both my studio and my kitchen would seem messy to the untrained eye, but actually I do know where everything is. In fact, when I go a little overboard cleaning up, then I can’t find anything for a while, until I get it sufficiently messed up again.

How frustrating is it when you are working away, in the zone, and reach for the big paint spreader or that jar of extra heavy gel medium and you can’t put your hands on it immediately? Time is of the essence very often, and drying or dripping paint can’t wait until you stop to search for that thing you must have right now. (Which is why I don’t answer the phone when I’m painting or creating collage.)

So that prompted me to show a picture of my studio “mess” and just put it out there for you to comment, share, or show your own creative surroundings. If you have a blog or are on flickr or facebook, feel free to put a link in this comments section so we can peek into your own creative retreat!

OK, here goes. I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2012 6:11 pm

    Having had the honor of painting in your kitchen, I picture exactly what you mean. The freedom you need in the creative process demands organization of materials and thoughts.

    Most of us plod through the process not understanding where spontaneity can take us when we don’t have to think about other thins, like where the big spatulas or the new big brushes are hiding. We can all learn from you.

    • September 22, 2012 7:23 pm

      Annette, I’ve noticed that I have much more freedom to cut loose when I know where my “stuff” is!

  2. September 22, 2012 6:12 pm

    Definitely a place where ‘stuff’ happens! We’ve just revamped our gallery and studio space – don’t worry, it’s not always this tidy in the studio! =D

    Here’s the link –

    • September 22, 2012 7:27 pm

      So lovely, Rita! I love your space. You are fortunate to have something so open and light-filled. Thank you for sharing your pics!

      • September 22, 2012 8:13 pm

        You’re very welcome – thanks for ‘visiting’! Yes, I am very fortunate; for many years it was just the dining room table … =D

      • September 22, 2012 10:43 pm

        A pleasure! Thank you for the opportunity to share, and for visiting my blog =D

  3. Sue Cole permalink
    September 22, 2012 11:43 pm

    My studio is at least 4 times the size of yours, with 4 or 5 times the “stuff” since i think I need every art material known to man and also recycle a lot of stuff. I’ll try to get a photo of it. LOL!

    • September 23, 2012 7:57 am

      Sue, I don’t know what I would accomplish by having a bigger studio. Just more stuff, I’m certain!!

  4. September 23, 2012 6:58 am

    While I’m working on a project (or 2) I also have an “organized mess”. When I put my hand out for an item I’d like it to be there too, for time and sanity sake. After the project is over I do put things in their “place”, so that when the next project comes along I can reach for those things to recreate another “organized mess”, and on and on. Doesn’t everybody work this way, ha!

    • September 23, 2012 7:58 am

      Shirley, I work pretty much the same way. My mess stays out while I’m working on a series of works in the same medium, I suppose you could say. If it’s acrylics, I can go on for weeks (months?) and just leave it all out. But then when I want to switch to collage for a while, that’s when I clean it all up and start over.

  5. September 23, 2012 7:57 am

    Love this post and your studio shot! Looks a lot like mine and it is organized chaos. There’s so many things you need at hand that it simply requires them to be out there where you can quickly get your hands on them, I too have a spot for everything so I know just where to grab to get what I need. The other element is that an overly clean, pretty studio would inhibit my need to sling and slap paint around without worry of messing something up! Though I do love how others can make their studios works of art in themselves 🙂

    • September 23, 2012 9:24 am

      I do love looking at the super-organized ones too, Bren! But if mine were pristine, I’d be pretty inhibited in my creativity.

  6. Sherrill Pearson permalink
    September 24, 2012 3:47 pm

    Martha, is that a new piece you’re working on sitting on that chair? So far, from what i can see, it looks scrumptious. Sherrill

    • September 25, 2012 9:46 am

      Sherrill, it’s actually a finished piece that’s parked beside the computer table. It’s very large, as you can see — 4×5 feet.

      • Sherrill Pearson permalink
        September 25, 2012 12:14 pm

        Sorry Martha, I didn’t know it was finished…it’s very hard to see. But what I could make over there in the shadows I really liked. Can we see it out in the open in the light sometime? I love your big pieces. Always have.

      • September 25, 2012 4:02 pm

        Your wish is my command, Sherrill! Yes, I knew that was a bad pic, but I will put it up in my next post. Thank you!

I love getting your comments, so please don't be shy! Your feedback is valued.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: