The Messy Stages

Episode 191 · October 9th, 2021 · 30 mins 43 secs

About this Episode

We named our podcast The Messy Studio for a reason that goes beyond the physical working space. We also mean to imply that the creative process itself is rarely neat or clearly defined. It is more often confusing and convoluted. This aspect of creativity can be frustrating, but it’s necessary each time we find a new path in our work. Today we talk about the importance of the messy stages of creativity and how clarity can be achieved as we move forward.

One of our listeners, Max McConkey, recently commented that the stages of a painting can be compared to stages of life, and that some parts of the life cycle are a bit wild and chaotic leading up to a mature painting. Using this analogy, its clear to see that each stage of growth is important and necessary for resolving each work of art. The messier stages can be frustrating though and tempt you to reach for the easiest solution possible. But in doing that you may miss some new ideas and solutions that could be gained by working with the mess you have rather than giving up on it.

On the other hand, it can be a trap to spend endless time making small tweaks and changes that aren't making any real difference. The real mess in the piece may be a larger issue, like the color palette or composition, or wanting your medium to do something that it isn't made for, and to see bigger issues you probably need to walk away for a break and return with fresh eyes.

There are times when a fresh start is the best move but take a little time to identify what has gone wrong. The creative process is rarely straightforward and linear, even though we somehow seem to expect it to be. Maybe it is human nature to think it should be easier than it is. But inside, most of know that our work would never grow and change if we never had to power through messes, chaos, frustration.

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Rebecca and her partner Jerry McLaughlin are excited to be launching year two of Cold Wax Academy's membership program, which began in October of 2020. In the coming year, live online learning sessions will feature an entirely new set of topics---beginning with a deep dive into technique and the steps involved in developing a painting. Other topics for year 2 include professional development, abstraction and realism, principles of design, and expanded uses for cold wax medium.

As always, members have access to recordings of all previous sessions including everything from the first year, so it's easy to join anytime. Fall Quarter begins October 6th. Please visit for details about membership levels and to sign up for a year of exciting learning experiences.

Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."

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