To do creative work we need to transfer from our everyday busy thoughts. Rituals can help. I have a few: as soon as I put on my painting apron I feel like “I’m working”. I also make a cup of tea and play upbeat music – cues that it is time to focus.
This transfer is aided by making a physical separation from my regular life. This means limiting distracting elements in the studio or workplace; such as, laundry, computer or phone. We may dream about the large studio with an epic view, but a smaller space may actually be better for centering ourselves. William Kurrelek (Canadian painter) worked long hours in a tiny basement studio. Even Leonardo da Vinci once said, “An artist’s studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it.”
I heard a story that Emily Carr had chairs suspended from the ceiling by ropes because her house and studio was too small to have them all on the floor. Unannounced visitors knew they were welcome if she let a chair down from above; if not, well the message was clear.
Our house is 1350 sq ft and my 12’ x 16’ studio is on the northwest end. I like how it’s on the opposite end from the bedrooms, the resting side of the house. While a studio is nice to have, it’s not essential – I’ve done some of my best work in a spare bedroom, boot room or cordoned off section of the house.
It’s more time efficient and conducive to creating quality work if we are able to make a shift from daily life to creative life. We do not need a fancy studio or unlimited time to work; these things may actually be counterproductive. Putting a little thought into our rituals or working spaces may make all the difference.