Un-clutter That Mess!

by Kathleen Huebener in Painting Tips

It has been a glorious past few weeks, as I have been painting in series. In the last three series of paintings, I used the same color scheme. Subsequently there was no need to clean my palette. I used the same brushes, same paints, same rags, and same space, since they were all the same size. Now that I am embarking on a larger new series, I am finding myself having to clean and to un-clutter my studio before starting. UGH! What a chore! It is amazing how things begin to pile and stack when one is painting.


Having to be in the dreaded studio-cleaning mode is not exactly thrilling me. I am finding myself doing anything and everything but cleaning my studio. Now realistically, an artist could hire someone to do it for her/him. Even if it were financially feasible, I would not hire anyone to clean my studio. When I clean, I know where my stuff is after cleaning. Enough whining, for it is time to bone up, get tough, and just do it. 


Looking into my studio, the whole clean-up chore is overwhelming. It is good to remember that saying, “Mountains are removed by first shoveling away the small stones.” First, to get into my studio, I shovel an aisle down the middle. Just kidding. It is not that bad, but a little humor lightens the load, they say. I am testing that theory right now. I do not think it is working.


I decide to make a dent by categorizing the mess into three major piles first: paints & brushes, other art supplies, framing items. The studio is looking better with tall balancing piles instead of having the mess scattered on an even plane in all directions. I am tempted to break for a cup of tea, but the siren call to paint is heavy in my ears.


I proceed to break the piles into smaller ones and put the items into the appropriate storage spots. Clean up is becoming easier as I tackle each pile. I notice my texture supplies stash, such as sponges, rollers, scrapers, nets, and whatnot, has become quite huge; time to downsize by pitching, donating, or recycling. After throwing out the garbage, all I have to do is wash my tables off, plan for the next series, and start fresh.

Hurrah! Or is it Eureka (in that, I have found again my studio)?


Bottom line on how to un-clutter that mess:


“Start by doing what’s necessary,

then what’s possible,

and suddenly you are doing

the impossible.”

St. Francis of Assisi