Art can be chaotic, your studio doesn't have to be...
Updated: Jun 8
Or does it?
Well, that is an open question and, like most open questions, it depends.
Well, on the artist, of course. Francis Bacon produced some of the modern world's most amazing paintings in one of the world's most chaotic studios.
Me? I can't paint if I have dried paint from a previous effort on my pallet. It clutters my vision, imposing elements on me of paintings past. I want an uncluttered view of what is in my head.
I need peace, and a day ahead with no demands on my time. A luxury? Maybe. But as our 28 year old niece said when she visited us recently:
"If this is retirement, bring it on!"
So shake it up and stir it however you please. What emerges about how your studio should look is all down to your personal attributes, such as your degree of OCD, introversion or your tolerance of fools who insist on interrupting you. These are all vital parts of the picture... and therefore the paintings.
And from there it follows that there are no such things as rules: a rule, to be a rule, must apply to everyone and everything, and that quite simply cannot be the case.
I love writing, but if you go near an aspiring writer's forum (usually a bad idea if you don't like online kindergarten warfare), you will have "the rules of writing" rammed down your gullet. But here's the thing, the best writing, and likewise the best painting, breaks all the rules that ever were pompously enunciated on online forums.
Rules will make a bad writer write a little better. But they will never make a bad writer a better writer.
The only valid rule of writing is that the result must grab you (or at least somebody) by the throat. It is not a good idea if the only somebody is the author.
Exactly the same can be said about painting.
So, if chaos in your studio makes your paintings better, then go for it. Turn the place upside down and inside out and then some.
Otherwise, if you are like me, you should scrape your pallet clean whenever you feel the urge. For me, the chaos should be in the painting, not the studio.
But that is just me. Other than that, forget the rules and do it your way.