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!

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  • Episode 167: The Power Of Intentions

    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?

  • Episode 166: Reinventing Yourself

    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?

  • Episode 165: Creating A Daily Series

    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.

  • Episode 164: Abstraction and Your Inner Child

    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.

  • Episode 163: Abstracting With Symbols

    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.

  • Episode 162: When Is It Finished?

    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.

  • 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?