Most of us now spend more time at home than ever. It's important to make this space feel as good as possible. Especially while our hearts and minds go through a lot of anxiety, stress, loss and separation.
Home should be your comfort fortress.
And since we've just had a new moon, this is the perfect moment to have a little clean up and let some fresh air into our art spaces.
There's always something you can do to make your creative work area better, more inviting and inspiring. This is regardless of whether you are lucky enough to have a whole big separate art studio, or if you only have a small desk tucked in between the bookcase and the television in your lounge.
Every space is good enough as long as it feels inviting and encouraging.
Your job is to define what it is that makes you feel that way. And make sure your space has got plenty of it!
Want to refresh your art space with me? Let me share with you these...
6 easy steps to make your space more inspiring.
Give yourself one or two full evenings to go through all of them. They are not to be rushed. Taking care of little details matters here!
Step 1. Tidy up. Just a bit.
Do you even feel discouraged by the amount of stuff that your art space holds? If yes, then allow yourself one evening to sort through some of it. Remember, if this stuff discourages you from making art, then you defenitely don't need it in your life. Be ruthless. Old, dried up paints belong in the bin. Thousands of ribbons and fabrics you haven't been using at all can be donated to your local craft group/school etc. Supplies that don't spark inspiration anymore, even though were once precious, can be given away to people who'll put them in good use.
Recently, I've given away three piles of scrapbooking papers that were sitting in my drawers since I can remember. Their new owners were ecstatic and now I have a spare drawer for my handmade papers.
Don't panic though! A little tidy up, even if it's just two cupboards, will make you feel better, I promise. You don't have to turn the whole place upside down and make it spotless. Take it easy and just tidy up a bit.
Once you've done that you'll be ready to "add some fluff", as my husband likes to call it. By this I mean elements that will make your space very personal, very yours, very inviting.
Step 2. Make your favourite supply more special.
Choose your favourite supply, one that always makes you feel inspired and eager to play. Maybe it's your three favourite colours of acrylics? A tin of watercolours? Pencils?
Give them some extra TLC by either finding a special place of honour for them on your desk or arranging them in the drawer or a box.
I go crazy for pastels and I love to arrange them in little saucers, tubs and tins. I always do it by colour palettes that inspire me at the moment.
Go on then, sort your pencils by colour or maybe your pens by the nib size. Indulge yourself for 10 minutes. You'll feel an instant boost of inspiration and you'll want to play every time when you'll look at it.
Step 3. Make or refresh your moodboard.
Sister, there's real magic in a good moodboard! <- FACT
But the key in my opinion is that it's on display all the time.
So don't hide your mood board away in an art journal. Have it on your wall, even if it's a very tiny space. You could use some low-tack washi or masking tape to put your images together, or go wild on a cork board.
Another good mood-board secret is that it must be all about YOU. So it's good to give yourself a moment to think of what inspires you the most. Is it old photographs? Poetry? Bright colours? Have a good search on Pinterest and since this is for your personal use only, you could print out some images and create a wild inspirational board.
Step 4. Take care of your sense of smell.
The power of scents is huge. A familiar smell can bring back memories and make simple moments feel special.
That is why I always have several essential oil diffusers all over the house and one oil burner in the studio. Always on my desk and always going!
Essential oil diffusers are best. But if you too, like me, enjoy the light of a candle, try and get a soy wax tealight for your burner.
You could also make your space smell gorgeous with scented candles (always go for non toxic soy candles!) or a gentle spray of your favourite perfume.
The advantage of essential oils though is that you can make your own blends and choose a scent that works for you today. You can make it as intense or as subtle as you like. You can change it with seasons and make your own scent memories.
My current favourite blend is: Clary Sage + Lavender + Eucaliptus.
Always start with very small quantities. One or two drops of each oil may be enough. Also please do your research before using essential oils, especially if you're pregnant or have small children or pets around.
Step 5. Have at least one plant adorn your space.
Having something that's living and that you can watch grow is a beautiful way to practice being in the moment.
Right now I have three plants in my studio (Pilea peperomioides, Areca palm and Ceropegia woodii), and none of them requires too much work.
Putting a bunch of fresh flowers in a jar on your desk can do wonders too. Flowers always cheer me up!
Step 6. Get some art done.
Now that you have it all tidy and inviting, don't get too precious about it. Remember the reason why you've done it all and now let's get painting.
And we don't want to fill your space with frustration so make sure that you:
focus and celebrate the process, rather than the outcome
use mainly supplies that feel like your "safe-zone" and add one or two things that are new and challenging, to keep your practice interesting.
pay attention to the what, rather than the how. Focus on expressing your feelings and emotions, not on being precise or perfect in any way.
do something only for yourself. Not for a challenge, not for a design team, not for Instagram.
Now I am hoping that you'll take a day or two to go through these steps and make your art space feel more inviting. We often spend lots of time on cleaning and making our kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms spotless, but remember - your art space is your self-care space. Give it some extra love and I promise you, you'll feel better.