The Messy Studio with Rebecca Crowell

The podcast at the intersection of art, travel, business, philosophy, and life in general.

About the show

Artist Rebecca Crowell shares experiences and thoughts from three decades of painting, teaching and traveling, as well as her conversations with other artists. She is joined by her co-host, producer, and son, Ross Ticknor, who brings an entrepreneurial Millennial perspective. The conversations are broad and eclectic, focused on ideas, information and anecdotes that other artists may find helpful in their work and careers. A new episode is uploaded every weekend!

The Messy Studio with Rebecca Crowell on social media

Episodes

  • Episode 161: Success

    January 16th, 2021  |  43 mins 26 secs

    Although most of us wish for success with our work and art careers, defining what that means is tricky, changeable, and very personal. Does success mean selling your work, recognition in the art world, or simply your own satisfaction with what you create? How do our ideas of success shift over time? Can we be satisfied with our current level of success or do we always want more? Today, as we look ahead to a new year, we’ll toss around some ideas about success and what it means for working artists.

  • Episode 160: Making Stone Soup - Interview with Phyllis Lasche

    January 9th, 2021  |  43 mins 46 secs
    art, collaborations, creativity, interview, phyllis lasche, rebecca crowell

    Rebecca interviews Phyllis Lasche about her artist collaboration project, Stone Soup!

  • Episode 159: Lessons From 2020

    January 3rd, 2021  |  38 mins 53 secs
    2020, art, change, creativity, growth, learning, personal development, rebecca crowell, retrospective

    At the end of 2020, we’re overloaded with reflections in the media about how society has navigated this strange and difficult pandemic year. On a personal level, we all have stories of struggles, loss, insights, and changes. Today we are especially interested in what this time has meant for us as artists. Last week, Rebecca posed the question to our listeners “How did 2020 impact your work?” and today on our first podcast of 2021, we’ll share some of the responses we received as well as our own thoughts.

  • Episode 158: Abstracting with Emotion

    December 26th, 2020  |  39 mins 25 secs
    abstraction, art, color, creativity, emotion, fundamentals, line, rebecca crowell

    Abstract artists are sometimes stereotyped as uninhibited people who slap paint down in direct response to strong emotion. But this idea is far from true and accurate. While many abstract painters do aim to express emotion and mood, their approaches vary widely --from spontaneous to highly controlled. And even the most intuitive artists need to thoughtfully consider their use of the visual elements and design principles. Today we will look at painting abstractly as an expression of emotion, mood, remembrance, or other states of mind.

  • Episode 157: Well Being

    December 19th, 2020  |  41 mins 49 secs
    art, mindset, personal development, rebecca crowell, richard davidson, well being

    Every so often, we like to address the ways that creativity and well-being intersect, and it seems appropriate to do so now as we come to the end of a very difficult and stressful year. In a recent seminar on Buddhist philosophy, neuroscientist Richard Davidson spoke about four pillars of well-being—awareness, connection, insight, and purpose—all of which are practiced every day in the studios of artists as part of the creative process. Today we’ll take a closer look at these ideas and consider how an art practice enhances a positive state of mind during stressful times.

  • Episode 156: Abstracting with Lines and Marks

    December 12th, 2020  |  33 mins 8 secs
    art, creativity, drawing, elements, fundamentals, line, mark making, rebecca crowell

    Lines and marks in a work of art connect the viewer very directly with the hand of the artist. They can express individuality, add structure, and show evidence of the artist’s process. Perhaps because these visual elements can reveal so much, many artists are self-conscious about using them and when they do, the results can appear contrived, awkward, or random. How can we use lines and marks in purposeful ways that feel right to us? What might more intentional use of lines and marks bring to our work?

  • Episode 155: What Other Artists Teach Us

    December 5th, 2020  |  41 mins 16 secs
    appreciating art, art, art history, creativity, critique, other artists, rebecca crowell

    As artists, we are also appreciators and often consumers of art. We not only buy and trade for art, we also study the art of others through art books, documentary films, exhibits, and lectures. What can we gain from looking deeply at the art of others?

  • Episode 154: The WOW Factor

    November 28th, 2020  |  32 mins 9 secs
    art, composition, creativity, fundamentals, practice, rebecca crowell, the wow factor

    Words like “wow,” “stunning,” and “amazing” are music to the ears of many artists. We all create plenty of art that elicits no more than a passing glance or Instagram “like” and that’s fine—it’s part of the process. If we are making art constantly, what we make includes a range of qualities and ideas. But what is it about those special pieces that makes them stand out and really engage the viewer? What can we learn from them and what questions do they raise?

  • Episode 153: 2020 Thanksgiving Spectacular!

    November 26th, 2020  |  33 mins 43 secs
    art, creativity, gratitude, rebecca crowell, specials, thanksgiving

    2020 has been a rough year so far for many of us. We don’t need to go into all the ways we’ve experienced anxiety, loss, and other struggles. But today, Thanksgiving Day in the US, is a good day to think about the things we are grateful for and have helped us make it through this difficult year. We’re going to share a few of our thoughts and also include some comments from listeners of the podcast.

  • Episode 152: Abstracting Our Visual Experience

    November 21st, 2020  |  36 mins 45 secs
    abstraction, art, creativity, rebecca crowell

    Abstraction takes many forms for artists—from working with the visual elements for their own sakes to using emotion and mood as a starting point, to interpreting what they see in the world around them. Many artists combine these approaches to find their own personal voice in abstraction. Today we are going to examine the path favored by many artists who are inspired by the figure, the landscape, or other subjects in the visual world while avoiding literal depiction. What are some things to consider if this is your own direction, or intrigues you with its possibilities?

  • Episode 151: Breaking The Rules

    November 13th, 2020  |  39 mins 52 secs
    advice, art, boundaries, creativity, personal development, rebecca crowell, rules, tradition

    The limitations and parameters we place for ourselves in the studio can have both positive and negative effects on our work. Like so many aspects of art practice, the challenge is to find a personal balance that suits us—in this case somewhere between being too rigid and too scattered. What rules do we set for ourselves and how well do they serve us? Are there rules that we accept from other people that don’t suit us, personally? Can our own helpful boundaries shift over time?

  • Episode 150: Studio Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

    November 6th, 2020  |  37 mins 3 secs

    Once again, our listeners have come through with answers to our Facebook query about ideas for storage, worktops, unusual tools, and other studio tips to make our spaces and processes more efficient and yes—more neat and organized. Even those of us who work happily in messy conditions like to be able to locate our supplies and to use our available space in the best ways. Today we’ll talk about some of the tips people gave us for improving their studio spaces and working methods, and add a few of our own.

  • Episode 149: Nature's Art Supplies

    October 31st, 2020  |  32 mins 9 secs
    art, creativity, fundamentals, materials, nature, rebecca crowell

    A trip to the art supply store or website is something most of us enjoy. We’re not just stocking up, but entertaining possibilities, wondering what a new color of paint or kind of brush or sculptural tool could bring to our work. Exploring new materials is part of what we do as artists. But there’s also a world of art materials and processes available at no cost, outside in nature. What can be done with sticks, dirt, rocks, feathers, bones, and other bits of nature? Today we’ll toss around some ideas for using natural objects as art materials and tools, and forces of nature as part of the art process.

  • Episode 148: Thoughts on Creative Process

    October 24th, 2020  |  31 mins 56 secs
    art, creative stages, creativity, fundamentals, process, rebecca crowell

    With all of the ups and downs that we go through in the studio, it may be helpful to know that the creative process involves stages that are fairly predictable and universal--some of which are challenging. Although these stages or steps are usually described as taking place as a linear progression --from initial idea to finished work--most of us find our own process to be more complex. Today we’ll discuss these creative stages as a reminder of what we all go through as artists, while at the same time acknowledging that few things can be described neatly and simply when it comes to creativity.

  • Episode 147: Confidence

    October 18th, 2020  |  34 mins 24 secs
    art, confidence, creativity, personal development, rebecca crowell

    Confidence often seems to go along with success in the art world—when talking about the business side of things, qualities like self-assurance, decisiveness, and the ability to speak well about your work are important. In the studio, confidence may take a more private form—the ability to try new things, or to carry through with major projects. While there’s no doubt that confidence is a good thing, many artists feel they fall short of having it. Today we’re going to talk about confidence in a somewhat philosophical way that may help see it more broadly.

  • Episode 146: Older and Wiser: Creativity in Later Years

    October 9th, 2020  |  38 mins 1 sec
    aging, art, creativity, gratitude, rebecca crowell

    In many ways, art is a great leveler of personal differences among those who create it. Along with other personal factors like gender and ethnicity, the age of an artist often has little or no impact on the pure, wordless first encounter between viewer and art. On the other hand, as artists we know that many aspects of our personal lives do affect the content of our work and how we go about making it. Today we are going to talk about some effects of aging on artists and their studio practices.