You've seen bits and pieces of my studio before. You may have seen it on my Etsy About Page, I've shared shots of it here, as part of a blog hop, in various interviews and articles, most recently in Labor of Love Magazine. Like I've always said, it is my happy place. Always has been. What I never did share, though, was the fact that my studio really only occupied a little over half of this small room. The piano-sized printer, my huge old desk, my computer stuff and all the bookshelves: scrunched. Photos you've seen: cropped.
The space has morphed as my business and my work has changed and grown, but not at the same rate or to the same extent. The plans and sketches for this had been drawn years ago, but that's all they were. Notes and pictures.
Life has changed, my household has changed. It was time. I needed the space to be my own. And I needed to make that happen sooner than later. It had started to affect my creativity and my ability to accomplish stuff. When I finally realized that, I started packing, moving, organizing.
George thought the packing material was going to be the most exciting part.
But that was only the beginning of the fun.
I dreamed of this wall color nearly a decade ago. And it was about twice that long ago in my life as a decorative painter that I gave several clients cloudy blue sky ceilings, but only distantly wished for one of my own. Someday. Someday I would get around to that.
Here's a lovely shot of my couch and fireplace while this was going on:
No, really. It's there. I promise.
As I painted my way around the room, the larger pieces finally went into their new places...
...to allow me to paint around and above them.
Wall shelving went up,
and stuff was scooted around again.
After a couple decades in storage, my old drawing table came back out: yay!
Oh man, how I love these old shelves!
My granddad used these old mail-sorting cubbies in his basement garage for storing tools and parts. I've been planning to use them for studio storage since we cleaned out my grandparents house in 1998.
It's not finished yet. There's still this stack of boxes in the middle of the room. Another shelf needs to go up. The rest of the house is still fairly destroyed in the wake of the project.
But my main workspace is up and running.
I've got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May. I mean, literally. I've been wanting a room the color of May for a long, long time.
I couldn't be happier with my new little Happy Space, filled with inspiration from the things I love! Thanks for visiting me here!
This is something that's been in the works since last summer, and I have been absolutely dying to share with you all this time. But then when it was published, I was deep into a heavily introverted hibernation state so I'm fairly late to the party when it comes to sharing it with you, my lovely blog readers (sorry about that).
Lori Siebert is someone I've respected for years: a super talented artist, Art Licensing powerhouse (you totally know her art . . . see?) and all-around cool person with great taste. When she shared her idea for this project: a peek into the lives, studios, homes, and minds of creative people, I knew it would be something really special. I'm more than honored to be included in the first issue.
I had a blast pulling together the goodies for this piece. Ginormous credit goes to my amazing friend and talented photographer (and designer and art director and singer/songwriter and guitarist - seriously this girl can do it all) Rhonda, who shot a lot of the photos you see there. She showed up on the hottest, stickiest day of the year last August with camera and tripod in tow and we had a blast trying to capture steady shots between the uncontrollable giggles. And sweating. I mentioned it was hot, right? Yeah. It was hot.
So if you like pretty pictures, eye candy, inspiration, studio and home lust, food porn, cool art, and all sorts of other goodies, I think it's time to pour yourself a lovely beverage and curl up all cozy with your computer (or buy it in print here!) and pour through this awesome magazine. And if you're wondering just how late to the party you are as my invited guests, well, ahem (contemplates navel and sheepishly scuffs floor with her toes) you can already indulge in Issue 2 as well.
Those of you who know me personally already know that as a weird super-private introvert I entered into the world of social media sort of kicking and screaming a little. Ok, a lot. I've dipped my toes slowly and cautiously into each new thing I've tried, squinting, covering my eyes . . . only to eventually wonder why I made such a big deal out of it in the first place. Well, sort of.
I haven't exactly been out there looking for new media to share on - but it had started to feel like all these things I'm doing are just floating around by themselves randomly in space, unrelated, just doing their own things. What I needed was a magnet to pull them all together into one neat and tidy place. Well, duh.
When discussing Twitter with friends who'd known me for a long time, I'd noticed that when I joked, "I'm pretty sure I'm physically incapable of expressing myself in 140 characters or less" they never argued that point, rather, thoughtfully and contemplatively agreed with the statement. They already know my challenges: it's hard enough for me that my arms waving all over the place while I talk is not translatable to the written word.
I came to this decision last week when I was really pretty sick, so there's a chance this whole thing could all just be the fever talking - but while we're still here floating on the lingering fumes of my homemade holistic cold and flu remedies why don't you join me out there in Twitterland and let's see how this thing works.
You'll notice the little birdie above shows up as a link in my sidebar: click it to find me there!
And really. As if there has ever been any question as to where those boxes of ugly old Christmas sweaters go when they die? You always knew it was true; my weird little drawing just confirms that fact.
There was more small driftwood on our beach this month than I remember seeing in a long, long time.
A gazillion tiny canvases waiting for tiny paintings.
At least that's how I see driftwood.
Every day the tide would cover it up with sand
or wash more sand away,
move it around a bit...
but it was always there.
Waiting for little crows
or a tiny version
of the drawing in my sketchbook
that Ted had so kindly posed for.
And there was one piece that just happened to be the perfect size and shape for a portrait of Edgar the white-winged crow from a book I thoroughly enjoyed pouring completely through my first couple days out there in the quiet...
...just what I needed to thank my amazing neighbor for taking such great care of my garden while we were away.
I don't often get to show you my works in progress - but that's because I'm often designing specific things for my licensing partners that can't really be shown until they're ready to launch the product in a retail setting. So in the normal course of creating, my teeny tiny little studio and most of what comes from it is sort of shrouded in mystery.
But when I'm making stuff just for fun, I can show you everything - so that's what I'm doing here:
This last weekend I stayed in the studio and played. No plan, no ideas, no projects or assignments. Just making stuff.
A couple weekends ago I finally got out the fun New Year's present Artstuff bought me: a shiny new set of water soluble oil paints.
Once upon a time long, long ago, oil paint was my #1 medium: the feel of it, the smell, the soul - it was what I loved the most in the whole world: to paint with oils on a big piece of wood. But as my art became what I did for a living, more practical "immediate gratification" mediums eventually overtook slow-drying, messy, impractical oil paints. I was curious when I saw that these water soluble oils existed, and decided to indulge myself, just for fun. Call it an End of Year Bonus for a Job Well Done. I thought I'd start small with this experiment and raided my brother-in-law's scrap bin for little pieces of wood.
I fell in love as soon as I opened the first tube: whatever molecular mojo they do to this stuff does not have any adverse affect on the amazing smell of the linseed oil. A deep breath brought me back to a happy place I hadn't been in decades.
I started swishing it around and scrubbing it into the wood - it all started coming back to me. I'm in love with these paints! Wet, sticky, and workable for weeks - but I can clean my brushes (and my hands - and lips, and nose, and eyelids, under my nails, my hair...) with soap and water. When I think of all the turpentine I must have ingested in my 20s . . . well, that may explain a lot. Never mind.
The first layers on the first few boards were dry when I got them back out this weekend, and I started playing again.
I experimented more with some of the vintage and antique ephemera my dear friend Sue shared with my last month when I visited her studio
with bits of this and pieces of that.
The lumber stamp on this little piece of Douglas Fir became the inspiration for the tiny painting yet to come.
Others are still inventing themselves from the background up.
When I ran out of small scraps to paint on, or space on my desk (I'm not sure which happened first) I pulled out the Paperclay and played with it for the rest of the day.
Now it's time to set this all aside to dry in anticipation of some future weekend, as the Artstuff Studio returns to its normal, focused, more practical and businesslike self. Except, of course, for that heavenly smell of oil paint that lingers as the first few layers of these little guys dry. Aaaaaaahhh.
...is the kind when the weather permits me to take my studio outside and work in the backyard, surrounded that much more closely by the smells and sounds I love.
It's an extra-special treat when I get the chance to do this during the few weeks the lilacs are blooming; the whole neighborhood smells heavenly and when I look up, this is the view from my little drawing table.
Mmmm. Taking a deep breath I peer out across the yard and - hey, wait...
...yeah, that's what you thought you saw.
I let her have this one hole because it just makes her so darn happy. I justify this by saying it keeps her from digging my garden beds. Every now and then I'll fill it up and cover it with more turf, but really that's just so she can have more fun getting back down to the good part again.
There's beauty in imperfection, right? That's kind of our landscaping and decorating motto around here.
Besides, when you're smelling this, everything really is perfection.
I'm probably late to the party as usual, but I just started hearing about this "word of the year" thing. Seems to be a nice alternative to setting big New Year's Resolutions: find a word that defines what you want to accomplish, be, feel, focus on . . . keep that in mind, like a mantra in a way. I like that.
A single word to stay focused, positive, on-track.
Some friends of mine were talking about their words the other day and got me thinking, "I wonder what mine would be..." Well, not one for being able to sum stuff up in short, succinct phrases, let alone single words (you do realize this is why I don't tweet, right? I am physically unable to express myself in 140 characters or less) I decided to think about it for a while and come up with something by New Year's Day.
Was there really one single word I could base a year's goals on? Didn't seem possible to narrow it down like that.
Yes, I realize New Year's Day is over, but finally this morning I got out my little sketchbook and started writing stuff down. Train-of-thought scribbles (over 140 characters, I'm certain) spreading across a few smudgy pages led me to this one:
Of course. I've been working on this "being in the moment" thing for a while now: finding and creating my own peace and joy, not worrying about the past or future, being grateful for each breath and each blessing (but that's a lot of words, isn't it?).
And I will admit I do have a real issue with procrastination. Not just the "I'll think about that tomorrow" Scarlett O'Hara kind, but the more dangerous, deep subliminal kind: "I fully intend to do that, but I can't even think about that until I finish A, B, and C..." You know the drill: some random thing gets in the way of B, and C never happens so the original task/goal gets pushed back further, and further . . . yeah.
So why not NOW?
Accomplish it now.
Be happy now.
Find joy in this exact second.
Not after the other things, not tomorrow, not another time. Now.
All art, photographs, and text on this page (unless otherwise noted) is the copyrighted property of Beth J. Logan - artstuff ltd.
Please don't use or reproduce anything you find here without permission.