“I’ve finally got it all together…I just don’t remember where I put it.”
I’ve always loved that quote, and it’s never been more apt than it has since I became “an artist”. Having always been a creative individual, I’m accustomed to making messes, but art, I’ve discovered, is a mess unlike any other.
That reminds me of a little “Hagar the Horrible” cartoon I’ve always loved. I have it clipped from an old newspaper, tucked away in one of my creative journals, and I’d gladly show it to you — if I could find it.
The cartoon shows Hagar enjoying a delicious plate of spaghetti. “Life,” he says, “is like spaghetti. It’s a mess, but it’s sooooo good.” True, of course, but I think changing Life to Art makes it even more accurate.
Yes, my mess is a good mess, but it’s about time for me to clean it all up. My husband even commented a bit on the kitchen table last night. I’ve just received a few new watercolors — M. Graham’s “Cityscape” set — and while staring down at dozens of tubes of paint I’ve been using, he asked, “How do you keep it all organized?”
The answer, unfortunately, is, “I don’t.”
I’ve tried putting my art supplies away. It doesn’t work. Even though I have an entire 4-drawer chest where I store them — neatly arranged into drawing supplies, watercolor supplies, pastels, and papers — they just don’t stay where I put them because I’m constantly dragging them out again.
Right now, the kitchen table is cluttered with brushes, palettes, and cups of water. I have drawings and paintings scattered throughout the house, and my art room is a true disaster. I really must clean up my mess — at least enough to function a little more efficiently.
Yesterday, I sat down ready to do a quick watercolor sketch. We have beautiful irises blooming now. I thought I’d spend a few relaxing moments painting one of the lovely yellow blooms. How about using watercolor pencils for the drawing?
Great. Where are my watercolor pencils?
I searched my art room. I searched through the watercolor supplies in the kitchen. I searched the drawers where the pencils are supposed to be. Back to the art room. To the kitchen again. Where are those pencils? They were, of course, the one place I hadn’t looked — on the kitchen table hidden by a few sheets of watercolor paper.
By the time I found them, I wasn’t much in the mood for drawing, but I did a quick little sketch. I was far too frazzled to really enjoy it.
Today, I’m wondering exactly where I put my scratchboard. I have a project to work on, so I need to find it. And what happened to that pack of artist trading cards I picked up? I actually missed the deadline for the current Grumbacher ATC event, all because I couldn’t find my trading cards! My drawing pencils have wandered off yet again, and I have about two dozen colored pencils sitting in a cup that need to be put away. Keeping track of erasers? A nightmare.
Yes, art is a mess. A good mess, true, but even the best messes sometimes need to be cleaned up and organized.
So, how do you do it? Please share with me any ideas or suggestions on how you keep your work space organized. Maybe I can bring some semblance of order to the creative chaos around me.