May 8th, 2021 | 35 mins 1 sec
abstraction, art, communication, connection, creativity, process, rebecca crowell, story
Since the beginning of time, artists have told stories with their work. Sometimes the messages are straightforward and other times open to interpretation. Stories can be told with recognizable imagery, with symbols, and even with purely abstract elements. At the heart of telling stories is our desire to communicate and the human love of narrative. Do you think of your work as telling stories? In today’s discussion, we hope to open your mind to the narrative aspects of your work and perhaps enable you to mine your stories for new ideas.
May 1st, 2021 | 37 mins 18 secs
3d printing, art, brand, creativity, personal voice, rebecca crowell, unique ideas, visual ideas
Artists often worry that their work is derivative of another artist’s work and may be very concerned about being overly influenced by someone else’s style or technique. This problem certainly does exist in the art world and is something to guard against because most of us do want our work to be original and unique. But in every field of endeavor, people build on and respond to the work of others, and this is no different for artists. Today we talk about building on, rather than appropriating, other people’s ideas.
April 24th, 2021 | 26 mins 30 secs
art, authenticity, brand, creativity, personal voice, rebecca crowell
The artist’s life is challenging in ways that go beyond producing strong work, as difficult as that may be. An art practice also makes huge demands of us on a personal and emotional level. Although we love what we do, all of us sometimes feel overwhelmed by these demands, which include the need for constant self-examination, brutal honesty, and being willing to push through difficulties. Yet we know that these challenges come with the territory and are the path to true personal expression. Today we will focus on the challenge and rewards of being authentic and honest with ourselves in our studio practice.
April 16th, 2021 | 34 mins 17 secs
art, biography, creativity, francis bacon, history, messy studio, rebecca crowell, uk artists
Did you know there was a well-known artist whose studio was so impressive for its mess that the entire place was reproduced piece by piece in a museum after his death? We are talking about British painter Francis Bacon, famous for his expressionistic figurative work, and whose reproduced studio is permanently housed at the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. Today we’re going to look at the story of his studio chaos –and offer words of encouragement for those whose studios may not be famous, but perhaps almost as messy as Francis Bacon’s.
April 10th, 2021 | 31 mins 39 secs
art, business, finances, inventory, lifestyle, organization, personal development, rebecca crowell, record keeping, taxes
There probably are a lot of artists who are able to keep accurate, up-to-date records of their inventory, sales, expenses, materials, and contacts. They have systems that are efficient and neat, and any information they need about their art careers can be easily retrieved from a file. Then there are those who fail miserably at organization, and whose records--if they exist--are in total confusion. A question about the location of a certain painting, or the need to put together images of work for a presentation is cause for panic. Are you somewhere in between these extremes, or do you identify with one or the other? Today we take an honest look at the challenges of record-keeping for artists.
April 3rd, 2021 | 31 mins 51 secs
abstraction, art, communication, connection, creativity, process, rebecca crowell, story
Creating art is a way to share our thoughts, the ways we see the world, and experience life. This communication is vital-- even when we’re immersed in our process, thinking only of the next step ahead--our unseen, largely unknown audience is with us. Very few artists work in total isolation, with no desire to connect or communicate with viewers. Yet artists are also encouraged to follow their own vision, to not let other people’s reactions pull them off track. Today we’ll toss around some thoughts about the desire to connect with our viewers, and what this means in the studio.
March 27th, 2021 | 36 mins 15 secs
business, career, challenges, cold wax academy, jerry mclaughlin, painting, rebecca crowell, risks
As artists, we are often presented with situations that ask us to say “yes” to something that feels challenging or risky. This could be as small as the need to rework a painting to as large as agreeing to a major solo exhibit. Accepting any challenge requires a commitment and it may feel stressful, and bring on self-doubt. Yet successful artists always take some risks that lead to growth and new possibilities—in their careers and in the studio. Today Rebecca and her partner at Cold Wax Academy, Jerry McLaughlin, talk about why it is important to take on challenges and risks in your art practice--along with a few stories about their own related experiences.
Rebecca and Jerry recorded this episode on video as well as audio, so if you'd like to see the video version, please visit the Messy Studio Facebook page or the Cold wax Academy Facebook page. That’s www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast or www.facebook.com/coldwaxacademy.
March 20th, 2021 | 41 mins 48 secs
advice, art, balance, lifestyle, personal development, rebecca crowell, workflow
As much as we may appreciate living an entrepreneurial lifestyle, juggling its many demands can be exhausting and challenging. Artists who are also involved in the business of art can easily feel scattered and stressed by all the tasks needed to stay productive and on track. But one of the most challenging demands may be stepping away from all of that on a regular basis. Today we will toss around some ideas for the type-A personalities among us who find it hard to relax.
March 13th, 2021 | 29 mins 11 secs
art, creativity, education, rebecca crowell, style, technique
Artists are often cautioned not to overwork their pieces, especially when the medium is drawing or painting. This advice is meant to prevent work that is too fussy or refined, or otherwise lacking energy. But many artists place importance on fine-tuning their work, and on paying close attention to detail. The art-world advice against overworking may not apply to everyone’s approach. Today we’ll take a closer look at how this advice can sometimes get in the way of creating your best work.
March 6th, 2021 | 34 mins 50 secs
As artists, we need ways to organize our work in our minds, on our websites or in our presentations. Where do logical connections exist and how can grouping certain pieces together aid in understanding them? Thinking of your output as “bodies of work” is a useful approach. But this is also one of those vague art terms that means different things to different people. What constitutes a body of work? How many pieces does it include? Is it the same as a series? Today we’ll be examining this term in the hopes of providing some insight into how it applies to your own work.
February 27th, 2021 | 37 mins 19 secs
art, creativity, focus, fundamentals, intentions, rebecca crowell
A work of art created with intention is compelling--we intuitively recognize when something is done with purpose and inner direction. Yet as artists we are also seekers and explorers in our work. Our creative path is often wandering rather than straight, and it may seem false or against our nature to state a clear intention or meaning behind our work. How can we work with intention yet remain open and flexible? What are the advantages of clarifying intentions?
February 20th, 2021 | 32 mins 52 secs
advice, art, change, creativity, personal development, rebecca crowell
Many of go through times in our lives when we make radical changes—either by choice or because of something imposed on us by circumstance. But even if the big change is something, we want to make mixed feelings are inevitable and stressful as we let go of the old and step into the new. Big changes challenge the very idea of who we are and how we operate in the world. How can an art practice help us through a time when we either need --or want--to reinvent ourselves?
February 13th, 2021 | 33 mins 26 secs
art, creativity, daily art practice, habits, personal development, rebecca crowell, series
Working in series is usually an involved process in terms of both time and focus. Artists are often known for series that explore ideas in a sustained, deep way. But the intriguing aspects working in series can also happen in a quicker, more spontaneous way, with a new piece each day. Today we’ll look at working in series with a sketchbook, or using other small or quick formats, and explore how this can be an important part of an artist’s practice.
February 7th, 2021 | 37 mins 42 secs
abstraction, art, children's art, creativity, mark making, rebecca crowell, symbols
We all drew, painted, and made things out of playdough and construction paper as little children, in spontaneous and unselfconscious ways. Some of us retain those memories, and we may also have children or grandchildren whose artwork we love. The art of children affords an intriguing view of a very different way of seeing and thinking than we have as adults, and many abstract artists have found it a source of inspiration. Today we look at some special qualities of child art and how it may feed our abstract ideas.
January 31st, 2021 | 33 mins 12 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, fundamentals, rebecca crowell, symbolism, symbols
Abstract artists find many ways to bring meaning to their work. For some, this may be purely an investigation of color, line, or other elements. For others—it is the expression of emotion or evoking aspects of the visual world. Today we’re going to look at another powerful way that artists can bring meaning to abstraction—through the use of symbols, whether personal in origin or more universally recognized.
January 23rd, 2021 | 35 mins 17 secs
art decisions, creative process, creativity, finishing, messy studio, rebecca crowell
Every time we make a piece of art, we reach the point of deciding if it’s finished --yet as common as this moment is in studio life, it is often one of doubt and second-guessing. What are some meaningful criteria for when something is done? Are there questions to ask ourselves in declaring something finished? Do we have to finish everything, or is it OK to abandon certain pieces? Today we will look at this ordinary but complex process of deciding a work of art is done.