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Monday, December 07, 2015

Behind the Scenes of a Messy Artist

'Reflection'         9x12      pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $145
Warning. This post contains graphic photos! Seriously scary. Especially for my neat and organized friends. But this is what happens to your studio when you are away from home more than you are home and when you choose to paint over cleaning.  

 Oh, I would tidy up every day. I am fortunate to have two spare rooms next to my studio. These became giant junk drawers. But after awhile the mess builds until there is no where else to put it all. The junk drawer was full! So I decided to devote the month of December to purge and organize. It is a bit overwhelming so I thought I'd share the process with you.

My main studio and classroom
 The photo above shows my main studio and classroom with the cleanup in progress. It's a great space but I have spread out everywhere and it is not as efficient as it could be. I have some ideas for organizing the space better but first I have to move some of the things that could be stored elsewhere....such as my finished paintings. Relocating and organizing finished paintings is my first step. Where will they go? I have just the place.

The 'Wildwood/Ebay' Room looking like a candidate for 'Hoarders'
I first need to reclaim my Wildwood Room. This nice sized room is next to my basement studio. It is actually the garage. We converted into a teen room for the kids years ago. The room had a beach theme with memorabilia from Wildwood New Jersey. The kids moved on and the room next became the 'Ebay Room'. My sister and I sold interesting junk on eBay and this was our storage and shipping space. My sister moved away and the room gradually became the junk room. If I didn't know where to put something it went into the "room". The room got so cluttered that it was a candidate for an episode of Hoarders. :(

Yesterday we set to work and cleared everything out of the room which I will now dub the Studio Annex. We piled everything up outside so my husband and I could sort the piles....trash, Goodwill, sister who still does Ebay, kids stuff, art stuff....  Heidi didn't seem to mind the mess. She managed to find her bed under a pile of stuff. She actually seemed bored with it all.

Heidi found a place to rest in the thick of things
 Progress is being made! We cleared out the room and I rearranged some furniture. My plan is to pull all of my finished paintings and keep them in this new Studio Annex. Currently they are spread out in my studio and my other studio room (more on that room tomorrow). When I sell a painting I have to look in several places. I need to be more efficient!

Today I worked on this consolidation goal. I have made good solid progress and I will share my new system tomorrow. I have also found some more UFO's. Today's marsh painting was wrapped and hidden. I always liked this one so it was fun to find it!

Ahhhh Much better! Not perfect but on it's way!

Remnants of the Wildwood Room....newly unearthed.

Better. At least I can walk to the back of the room.
I have visions of a Pinterest worthy organized studio space for this room but that takes time and money. I am happy to first get things organized. Then I will work on making it look cool! I have so many books I am not ready to part with and I need to find a better way to organize my teaching visual aids. Baby steps!

Back to work! Come back tomorrow to see more progress!


Anneliese Golubic said...

With your productivity and passion for painting I can see how it gets to be like that and it must be overwhelming to get some
organization into it. Can't you train Heidi and your studio cat to do some while you are out of the house?

Marsha Savage said...

Love seeing this, Karen. I have been busy organizing also. Funny how we finally get to a point of it being more important than painting! I'm trying to figure out how to sell some things, too. Very reasonably priced so maybe they will actually go out the door. Of course there will be the piles that go to Goodwill and to trash! It is hard to part with some things. Looks like you are on your way to getting it done.

Chris Lally said...

Who made this big mess? Hahaha! Thank you for posting these photos. There's hope...

ferrelli said...

You have inspired me to clean out things I still have in boxes since moving 5 years ago. If I haven't opened since I got here, I'm sure I don't need it. More space is always a benefit! Good luck and keep going!

robertsloan2art said...

Wow. Thank you for this post. I think you just saved my sanity. I saw your Before and After photos, your buried treasures and stock of finished paintings, read your descriptions. Congratulations! What you did is amazing! I literally could not have done that even with help.

I've just had to do that to one room with the assistance of two guys "used to preparing for exterminators" who never met anyone like me. They got flat out confused at the art supplies. Dangerously so. Tall guys put things out of reach for short people. Six three or four guy put 120 Unisons on top of a bunch of foam boards sticking out a foo and a half over the edge of the shelving unit top. I'd have needed a ladder to get at the pastels I use most often.

One rowdy cat banging the rickety shelving would have sent that aluminum box through two delicate vases into his food and water bowls. 25 Giraults almost got crushed under a heavy stack of books. Several bags of valuable books tossed around like baled old National Geographics, full sheets of Arches bent and curled, ow ow ow.

They weren't my usual home carers, they were the special ones that Knew How To Prepare For Exterminators. I was left fried out, stressed, looking at the mess - everything's bagged and I can't find the can opener. But junk that rightly belongs n back of junk drawer all neatly sorted and set out in case I need it.

So with all that done, dreading the unpacking and wondering if I will get enough help with that at all, I read your post and laughed.

No. I don't have a lot of stuff. No. It wasn't that disorganized. 3/4 of my supplies were already put away in the under the bed tubs by my regular guy Elgie, when he stayed late last week on Tuesday. You did Ebay with stuff! You had kids who grew up there! You had a whole actual house to spread out in and lived there for far longer than five years and you didn't move in by way of UPS leaving half your supplies in storage. And you have a much longer working life's Pastel Collection in continuous replacement as they wear down to jump into your neat little travel kits.

I'm not that weird or that excessive on supplies. I just trimmed my life to minimal on everything else and usually keep it ruthlessly organized because I can't clean up for myself. I've been doing it for a lifetime, always lived in one room an only have too much stuff when compared to homeless people. Or retired guys that lived like some non-artist friends - never came home except to watch TV or play games, didn't keep stuff, lived mostly outside the home.

Housebound, I don't get that choice. I'm going to be in this room every day all day for three more months with brief difficult breaks for clinic visits, the elevator's not getting fixed till June. So this room has to be a happy place, full of color and light and inspiration. I will not let it turn into a prison.

I hope I'm strong enough tomorrow to get the art back up on the walls where it belongs.

jytte said...

Dear Karen,

this looks exactly like the studio of my husband LOL :o)

Sue Corcoran said...

Isn't a studio much like a handbag? No matter how big it is, you still fill it to over-flowing!! Good luck with the rest of the sort-out Karen!

robertsloan2art said...

I came back because this was the most inspirational post! Thank you for sharing it and giving heart to everyone that Organization Is Possible!

LOL Sue, yeah, I remember my grandmother's giant purses when she always had anything you'd need. Down to a full first aid kit for kid accidents, bag of candy for treats, bribes and distractions, makeup, crafts stuff, you name it, a total mystery to a curious little boy.

I pack for plein air like that with multiple mediums in a back pack even if I'm only out for a few hours. If there's space it goes in. Good thing my walker has a seat I can put it on or I'd wreck my back carrying it.