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 135: Are You Curious?

    July 25th, 2020  |  35 mins 20 secs
    art, art researching, creativity, curiosity, growth, rebecca crowell, style, technique

    We were all curious as children and many artists retain that trait as vital to dynamic art practice. Yet curiosity can be fragile, disappearing in the face of information overload or the desire to seem knowledgeable and in control. To be curious, to wonder, to explore –all are aspects of ourselves that keep us young, with room to grow. Today we will look at how to nurture curiosity in your art practice and the importance of exploring and wondering, in art and in life.

  • Episode 134: Editing with Energy

    July 18th, 2020  |  38 mins 47 secs
    art, creativity, editing, fundamentals, rebecca crowell, skills

    Artists need to edit, too!. Of course, we’re all familiar with the idea of editing as it applies to writing. It is often said that every author needs an editor to make sure that their writing is technically correct, cohesive, and impactful. But as visual artists we don’t typically involve anyone else in that kind of role --it's up to us to do it ourselves. Today we will talk about editing our work for stronger and more consistent results, and point out that it need not be a chore or necessary evil.

  • Episode 133: Creative Collections

    July 11th, 2020  |  38 mins 8 secs
    art, collecting, creativity, rebecca crowell

    When artists collect, it’s often--but not always-- related to our art practices. We tend to collect works of art that we’ve bought or traded for, art books, memorabilia like announcements and posters, and of course, art supplies. But what about the more unexpected things we gather in our homes and studios? What do our collections tell us about ourselves and our attraction to certain kinds of objects? Today we’ll report on what some artists had to say when Rebecca posed the topic on Facebook, along with our own musings about the meaning of collections.

  • Episode 132: The Power Of Beauty

    July 4th, 2020  |  29 mins 43 secs
    art, beauty, creativity, rebecca crowell

    We often say “That’s beautiful” in response to a work of art, but the word beautiful can have many meanings. Most of us recognize it as a heartfelt compliment when it is said about our own work, but we may wonder what specifically prompted the viewer to use the word. And while we may strive for beauty in our work we may have not thought much about what that means. Today we look at what deeper ideas or responses the words “beauty” and “beautiful” can hold.

  • Episode 131: The Power of Intention

    June 27th, 2020  |  28 mins 47 secs
    art, creativity, intentions, personal development, rebecca crowell

    A key aspect of establishing your personal voice is figuring out what is most important to you in your work. What do you want to communicate to other people? What responses do you hope to evoke? The process of defining intentions can be challenging, involving some basic but important questions, and may take some time to process and refine. But clear intentions are a powerful tool. Today we will look at the process of clarifying your intentions and the advantages for doing so.

  • Episode 130: Being Authentic

    June 20th, 2020  |  38 mins 38 secs
    art, authenticity, being authentic, creativity, influences, inspiration, rebecca crowell

    This is a topic that we have considered covering for a while. It dovetails nicely with past episodes addressing what inspires and motivates our work. But it seems especially relevant now given the worldwide pandemic and recent social unrest, which have many artists thinking deeply about the meaning and honesty of their work.

    Being authentic in your work means being true to yourself, and unafraid in your creative explorations. During this time we are experiencing massive changes all around us. Examining how authentic we are being in our work can lead to new insights and growth. The more challenges we are facing in life, the more important it becomes to bring our whole selves into our work. This results in better work and a better mental state.

  • Episode 129: Considering Scale

    June 13th, 2020  |  36 mins 50 secs
    art, fundamentals, rebecca crowell, scale

    Scale is an aspect of visual design that is perhaps the easiest to overlook. This is because there is a default mode that generally works—that is, medium-sized works of art, and imagery that fits in expected ways within those boundaries. But challenging habitual ways of using scale can be an exciting path. As viewers, we notice immediately when someone steps outside the expected and calls attention to scale. Today we have some thoughts about using scale in dynamic ways.

  • Episode 128: Composition: It's Complicated

    June 6th, 2020  |  36 mins 30 secs
    art, composition, creativity, fundamentals, rebecca crowell

    We touched on today’s topic in our last episode when we went briefly over through some important design elements. Basically, we were talking about composition—how to arrange the visual elements on a 2-d surface so that they “work.” This is complex because each aspect of a composition affects others in subtle or not so subtle ways. Intuition plays a role in composition—something just “looks right”—but to make really strong work we need to balance that with understanding. Today we are going to look more closely at composition and its role in your art practice.

  • Episode 127: Visual Language

    May 30th, 2020  |  33 mins 47 secs
    art, creativity, elements, fundamentals, principles, rebecca crowell, visual language

    Learning to use the visual elements and design principles in your work is often compared to acquiring vocabulary and then being able to use those words to communicate. It also means being able to understand better what other artists have to say in their work. This understanding is basic and contributes to your growth for your whole artistic life. It also grows in tandem with intuitive responses and understanding. Yet many artists do not progress much beyond a limited vocabulary, used in only a few repeated combinations. Today we will give a perspective on the benefits of growing your visual vocabulary.

  • Episode 126: Handling Critique

    May 23rd, 2020  |  39 mins 36 secs
    art, creativity, critique, rebecca crowell, teaching

    It can be very unsettling to put your work in front of someone else for a critique. We may fear harsh, judgmental comments. Yet the value of critique is exactly that, the chance to gain an outside perspective and insight, and very often criticism can be given and received in a supportive way. Today we’ll talk about the positive aspects of critique as well as handling negative criticism with regards to our work.

  • Episode 125: Art As Therapy

    May 15th, 2020  |  29 mins 10 secs
    art, quarantine, rebecca crowell, therapy

    As we record this episode, a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, there is so much we don’t know—what the situation means in our own lives and in the world at large, how long it will last and what we will endure before it is over. How can our art practices help us through this difficult and anxious time? Today our podcast includes thoughts from two art therapists, Mimma Della Cagnoletta and Barbara Bagan, who generously shared their ideas about this topic via email.

  • Episode 124: Voices Of Experience

    May 9th, 2020  |  37 mins 16 secs
    art, experience, rebecca crowell, teaching, wisdom

    If you have ever had a really good art class, whether, in school or a workshop, you probably retained some real gems of wisdom from the instructor. These may be specific things that were emphasized or their overall teaching philosophy. These positive ideas and words have the power to shape our studio practices for our entire creative lives. We reached out to some art instructors, all friends of the Messy Studio Podcast, to ask them to share their insights and approaches to teaching, as well as how they motivate and inspire students to find their own direction.

  • Episode 123: A Call For Change

    May 2nd, 2020  |  35 mins 2 secs
    art, change, creativity, quarantine, rebecca crowell

    Many artists are feeling stuck right now--not only in their homes in the midst of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders but stuck in their work as well. We not only contend with our own worries and struggles but the constant drumbeat of bad news from the media. Our usual ways of working may no longer seem suited to what our lives have become.
    Historically, art reflects the times in which it is made. Today, we are considering this aspect of creativity in light of what we are all experiencing. The way in which we handle the current situation creatively can also be applied to other traumas that we experience in life.

  • Episode 122: Sell More Art Online, Interview With Dave Geada

    April 25th, 2020  |  1 hr 8 secs
    art, business, dave geada, marketing, rebecca crowell, sales, social media

    Dave Geada, CMO at BoldBrush, teaches us how to generate more sales online by telling stories.

  • Episode 121: Working with Place...While Sheltering in Place

    April 18th, 2020  |  35 mins 22 secs
    abstraction, art, places, quarantine, rebecca crowell

    Many artists working in both realism and abstraction explore ideas or emotions through the lens of unique or moving aspects of a particular place. This place may be as close as the artist’s own backyard, but it is often more distant. At this time we are encountering many challenges in our daily lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including being unable to visit the places that motivate our creative practices. In this episode, we talk about how to continue accessing special places through memory and other references.

  • Episode 120: The Creative Urge

    April 12th, 2020  |  31 mins 4 secs
    art, creativity, rebecca crowell

    Even under difficult circumstances, humans have always had a strong urge to create, to make things that embody thought, emotion, spiritual and cultural beliefs. Those of us who work in fine art media have a drive to create even when there is no practical purpose for what we make. This urge can range from an occasional desire, to a very strong passion, an almost uncontrollable compulsion. Today we are going to explore the creative urge along with some inspiring quotes from artists of the past.