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


  • Episode 198: How To Make Mistakes On Purpose - Interview With Laurie Rosenwald

    November 27th, 2021  |  41 mins 33 secs
    art, creativity, interview, laurie rosenwald, messy studio, mistakes, rebecca crowell

    Many of us live lives based on habit and predictability--we aim for expected results, and generally avoid uncertainty and disruption. But our guest today, Laurie Rosenwald, challenges us to steer away from the tried and true in order to bring freshness and spontaneity to our lives and work. Laurie is a New York City-based illustrator, artist, designer, and book creator whose work is a mix of collage, drawing, painting, and storytelling. In addition to her many editorial illustrations for a wide variety of publications, Laurie has created animation, product design, and leads an ongoing workshop, "How to Make Mistakes on Purpose."

  • Episode 197: How Praise Can Paralyze

    November 20th, 2021  |  35 mins 17 secs
    art, creativity, criticism, mindset, praise, rebecca crowell, teaching

    When we think of the kinds of reactions to our work from other people that cause a block in creative flow, most people think first of negativity, indifference, or misunderstanding. All of these can undermine our self-confidence and cause us to feel incompetent, uninteresting, or simply off track. They can lead to anxiety and avoidance behavior towards our work. But what about the opposite—positive remarks of praise and admiration? These can create a blockage of a different kind that may be harder to recognize and acknowledge. Today we talk about the rather odd fact that praise can stall us as much as criticism.

  • Episode 196: Open Studio Events: Pros and Cons

    November 15th, 2021  |  39 mins 35 secs
    art, art tours, business, creativity, rebecca crowell, sales, studio tours

    At some point in their art careers, many artists are offered the opportunity to take part in an Open Studios event or Art Tour in their communities. These events can be lucrative and exciting --and provide many new contacts to help spread the word about your work. They also entail a lot of preparation and time taken away from normal studio life ---and several intensive days of meeting the public and handling all the details of selling work directly during the event. Today we take an inside look at this experience and consider the pros and cons of participating in an Open Studio or Art Tour in your own community.

  • Episode 195: Our Many Hats

    November 6th, 2021  |  35 mins 56 secs
    art, business, creativity, efficiency, multitasking, outsourcing, rebecca crowell, workflow

    The behind-the-scenes aspect of almost any job is surprising, and that of a working, professional artist is no exception. So much goes on that has little if anything to do with actually making art. Maintaining a studio, tracking inventory and expenses, photographing work, keeping up a website, engaging with social media, answering email, staying in touch with galleries, and handling countless other details of art practice—all of these tasks are time-consuming and each requires its own skillset. Most artists do all of this on their own without assistance, learning as they go, and over time they find what works for them. Today we look at the frustrations and rewards for artists as they constantly change out their many hats.

  • Episode 194: Our First Year: Reflections on Cold Wax Academy

    October 31st, 2021  |  39 mins 46 secs
    abstraction, art, book, cold wax academy, creativity, rebecca crowell, teaching, writing

    A year ago, Rebecca and her teaching partner and co-author, Jerry McLaughlin embarked on a new project to meet the needs of artists during the time of Covid. With in-person workshops canceled, they turned to online teaching as a way to continue to offer instruction to artists interested in using cold wax medium and oils. Faced with this challenge of offering deep learning in a new format, Rebecca and Jerry developed a structured curriculum of online sessions for a worldwide audience of artists. Cold Wax Academy has evolved to be the leading online resource for mastery of both technical and artistic skills required for painting with cold wax medium.

  • Episode 193: What Realism Teaches Us

    October 23rd, 2021  |  33 mins 6 secs
    abstraction, art, creativity, observation, realism, rebecca crowell, technique

    It can seem sometimes like artists and art lovers fall into two camps—those that adamantly prefer abstraction, and those who feel the same way about realism. Of course, this is a very simplistic view of art --and the fact is that these two approaches meet and mingle in countless unique ways. But it can be demoralizing for an abstract artist to be dismissed out of hand as lacking seriousness and skill, and the same for the realist who may be criticized for lacking imagination or unique vision. In fact, all artists who have gained mastery at what they do have something to teach others.

  • Episode 192: Your Life & Your Abstract Voice

    October 16th, 2021  |  33 mins 18 secs
    abstraction, art, creativity, experience, life, personal voice, rebecca crowell

    How do abstract artists focus on specific ideas in their work? How can personal voice be discovered and followed given the endless possibilities of abstraction? Today we will talk about one path that has proven to be a rich vein of ideas for many abstract artists—that of pulling from their own experiences in life to create a meaningful, personal visual language. Today we’ll talk about ways to access ideas for abstraction from what you know best, your own life.

  • Episode 191: The Messy Stages

    October 9th, 2021  |  30 mins 43 secs
    changes, creativity, frustration, mess

    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.

  • Episode 190: Letting Go

    October 4th, 2021  |  37 mins 42 secs
    art, creativity, letting go, moving, possessions, rebecca crowell, stress

    A couple of weeks ago-- during our first episode after the break that we took for moving this summer--we talked a little about the emotional side of letting so much go from our former lives. This seems to have struck a chord with listeners—we received quite a few comments about the experience of moving, its difficulties, and the anxieties it creates. A need to shed possessions of any sort is a challenge, but to let go of very personal objects like works of art is especially difficult. Today we’ll focus on Rebecca’s experiences of clearing out her studio and some thoughts about letting go in general.

  • Episode 189: Interview with Jim Scherbarth

    September 25th, 2021  |  40 mins 39 secs
    art, creativity, focus, jim scherbarth, passion, practice, purpose, rebecca crowell, teaching, voice

    James Edward Scherbarth was a dear friend, colleague, and teacher, and artist who developed profound and personal ways of working in just a few years following his retirement in his mid-60s. Today we share our interview with Jim near the end of his life in which he discusses his life, work, and teaching philosophy. Jim passed away a few days after this recording, on June 22, 2021. We are very honored to have had this opportunity to hear what he wished to share with our listeners.

  • Episode 188: We're Back!

    September 18th, 2021  |  30 mins 40 secs
    art, creativity, life changes, moving, process, rebecca crowell, stress

    Those of you who follow the Messy Studio know that we have taken time off this summer because each of us was involved in a major move from the family home in Wisconsin. The process of moving is no fun, as anyone who has done it knows—it’s hard work physically and emotionally and there is plenty of stress. But now that we are each settled in we’re happy to be back with producing the podcast. Today we join you with thoughts about changing situations and what Rebecca has been seeing in her current work in the studio as a result.

  • Episode 187: Role Reversal: Interview with Ross Ticknor

    July 17th, 2021  |  36 mins 22 secs
    3d printing, art, crypto currency, encryption, entrepreneurship, liberating technologies, ross ticknor

    As artists --engaged for the most part in fairly traditional and long-established ways of working—it may be hard to understand or embrace new technologies. Yet artists have always been involved in revolutionary advances in culture and technology. Today we will discuss some technologies that have liberating potential for artists. In a bit of role reversal, our guest today is Ross Ticknor, and his focus is on the uses of 3-D printing for artists.

  • Episode 186: Decluttering: Can A Messy Studio be Too Messy?

    July 10th, 2021  |  32 mins 17 secs
    art, creativity, downsizing, messy, moving, older work, personal development, rebecca crowell

    This episode includes a shocking revelation from Rebecca. Even Messy Studios need to be purged of clutter and old works of art once in a while.
    Artists are always given the good advice to be productive as they can, to make lots of work, to go to the studio nearly every day. That’s because only by doing a lot of work can you really progress and explore your full potential. Yet the results of all that creative output will inevitably pile up in the studio and in your home, leading to storage problems and other more personal issues. Today we will talk about the challenges of dealing with the accumulation of your own artwork.

  • Episode 185: Approaching Galleries and More: Interview with Jason Horejs:

    July 5th, 2021  |  41 mins 8 secs
    art, business, creativity, galleries, interview, jason horejs, marketing, rebecca crowell, sales

    We interview Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery and on the best way to market yourself and your work to galleries.

  • Episode 184: Ask Me Anything LIVE #1

    June 26th, 2021  |  35 mins 48 secs
    art, children, creativity, early life, memories, moving, rebecca crowell, simplifying life, support

    This is the audio recording of our very first AMA on Facebook Live. We opened up the session to listeners who had questions and chatted about the challenges of moving.

  • Episode 183: Our Powerful Words

    June 20th, 2021  |  36 mins 4 secs
    art, creativity, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, mindset, motivation, positivity, rebecca crowell

    Words that we say and the words we remember being said to us can have impact that goes far beyond the moment in which they are spoken. For better or for worse many of us remember things said to us decades ago, And we have all said things that have lodged in other people’s minds in an equally powerful way—and most of the time we don’t even realize that has happened. While we may say and receive words that are meant to have an impact, other times it is a casual remark that looms large in retrospect. Today we look at the ways we are influenced and can influence others with our words, including how words can affect our creative selves and others.