I have a confession to make… I like making my bed.
Even when I was a kid I liked making my room look “all pretty.” And it is funny, because I am not a neat-nick. I actually like to throw my clothes around. I don’t categorize and labor over cleaning my pastels, and I don’t care about everything being perfectly hung on hangers. And I very rarely do the dishes before going to bed. It is not a “neat” thing.
No, this is more a “visual” thing. I just like a space to feel “right.” I have heard that many people in the last year have given up on making their bed during quarantine. Oh man… bigger confession… I have made my bed nearly every day for the last year! For me, being home all the time it has become that much more important that when I walk into my bedroom it just feels “right.” An unmade bed just feels more icky. Incomplete.
When I was about in 4th grade I remember being very particular about my bedroom. And when I would have a fight with my little sister, she would come into my room and turn around all of my things backwards. Like a figurine on my dresser or the stuffed animals on my bed. Just backwards. And it would drive me absolutely nuts.
I know it is a visual thing. I recently have been studying feng shui … ah! I get it! There is no magic, just small things to help a room feel balanced and “right.” I found I was already doing some of those things instinctively, but then when I added different colors or textures to a room, wow! I now have a better way to make a room feel “right.”
I have not been painting the last few weeks. At all. Brain break. So yesterday I went into my studio space for the first time with the intention of painting. But I just could not do it. The space just didn’t feel right. No one particular reason. Just many little things. Papers thrown everywhere from the zoom classes in November. Garbage bins overflowing. Pastels thrown about. Dust in corners. And for me it is hard to concentrate on any task at hand when I am distracted by lots of things out of place. Again, it is not a “neat” thing, but a “visual” thing. So, I tidied and cleaned and straightened. And when I was done it felt so much better. I literally felt so much better standing in the space. And it really is a tangible feeling for me. So a little piece of advice? Work in a space that makes you happy and feels good. It is very difficult (I believe) to work in an uncomfortable space. Give yourself that at least. You deserve it.
Now I’m happy. I know tomorrow when I walk into my studio it will feel “right.” And then I can get to work.
Thanks, Christine, for sharing today as this describes ME!
Have a great time getting “back in the saddle” and enjoy painting today!! The world needs to see your beautiful creations.
Thanks Ginny! I need to see them come to life too….
I too have a need to make the bed, religiously. I may leave supper dishes for the morning, but I just cannot make breakfast with dirty dishes in the sink. Now that probably sounds like a neat muck. I am not a very good house keeper. I can enjoy looking at dust all day long. My brooms last so vey long, because it’s not used as often as I should. I love a clean, but I’d pay to have someone else do it.
I do that too- have to do the dishes from the night before making breakfast. It is like a painting…. I have to clean up from one before starting another.
Absolutely agree about the bed–except for the rare occasions when my cats get there first and I don’t want to move them right then, bed is made every single day. I grew up with a family who suffered from depression, and an unmade bed was a marker. Making the bed is a vow to overcome that and the start of a good day. My studio space had come to resemble a messy walk-in closet. Last year I gave the house a once-over when I found it impossible to work or even focus, and this year it all feels new and exciting. I’m also hoping to finally be able to participate in some of your workshops as a result!
I hear ya about the cats.. .mine are too cute to move sometimes although my one cat loves to help make the bed and bury under the sheets. Yes! I would love to have you aboard! I have 2 hour zoom workshops on February 25 and 26th. Check them out on the workshops page.
I’m with you, Christine. I like to make my bed and have it just the way I want it so that when I go to bed night, it is perfect!! Talk about obsession!!
I once got some good advice from an art teacher – When you go to your studio and you just can’t paint, it is time to straighten things up, get rid of the junk, and clean the place. Always helps me.
exactly! When we are surrounded by beauty and comfort then we can create beauty!
Oh I do get what you mean! I’ve recently moved my studio from a teeny weeny utility room where I had to share space with the water tank, silently praying it wouldn’t spray a leak, and the electric power board and heating system to our house. I took over our daughters bedroom (she’s 37 and gainfully employed, and living on the other side of the country so I’m not feeling guilty!) and expected I’d love the space but it just isn’t right. I liked my little cramped space! Now I’ve got to figure out what needs fixing!
hmmm… that makes sense. You had familiarity. Now it is all new. Go with your gut….I am sure you will figure it out!
As for beds, mine can stay unmade all day lately but it has to be made before I’ll get back into it!
I know right? I have done that!!!
I make my bed every day also. I grew up in a messy household with five brothers. My bedroom was my refuge!
There was a viral YouTube a while back which was a top military man giving a commencement speech at one of our academies. He opened with “Make your bed.” People snickered. I was confused. Then he explained that by doing so, “You start the day on the right foot. You completed a task.” (It’s around. Find it.) Never thought of that. I do it every day. Even straighten it a bit for the maid in hotels. But, like you, I can get real sloppy, otherwise–and it really doesn’t bother me….for a while! Then I MUST clean or I can’t think. Same in the studio. The art work looks real good, but the clutter around me grows like The Blob. Until, like my living space, I MUST clean until I can’t take it anymore. Can’t think. Is this schizoid, or are most creatives like this? In Harley Brown’s book, I love his advice: “When you’re finished for the day, make sure you leave a clear table somewhere in your studio. The next day, it will give you a place to think.” IT WORKS! I employ this for a while, but that gets cluttered again, and I clear it off. I have a table specifically for this–it’s a small, almost square, kitchen item, with two back wheels and a shelf below the top. Brown’s advice…REALLY…WORKS. It was a breakthrough for me to help with the clutter. Speaking of clutter: A friend took a free organizational seminar. The man opened it with, “The first destroyer of energy is clutter. If you don’t believe me, did you ever notice how much better your car runs after you wash it and clean it out?” HA! That doesn’t make literal sense but everyone gets it. Your brain is clearer. I believe that while working on a painting, we are thinking so much, that upon finishing up for the day, we really do brain cramp. I can force myself to clean my brushes, but that is really still part of it all. But redding up the studio at that point? No way. I employ Harley’s advice….for a while. Until I don’t. Lastly, when I started out, I could not get over how clean those studio’s where in American Artist magazine, and others. Mine was never like that. I thought something was wrong. After seeing enough studio’s of working professionals, I realize they were set-ups in the magazines for the photographers. Interesting blog about the process…as usual.
Thanks for the shares. I love Harley Brown. I wish I could say I’ll leave a clean spot for the next session, but I know I won’t. But I do take at least 5 minutes every time I am in the studio to move things around, sit and stare at new work and play music that fits my mood in the moment. I have a very old rocking chair (where I rocked all my babies and my mom rocked me) across from my easel where I sit and drink tea and just study a work in progress….. It all helps to clear out everything else mentally and begin……
When I was working in colored pencils at a drawing table in the dining area of my one bedroom apt. I found that I needed to straighten up the mess on the coffee table before I could really get down to work. And it’s the same with my pastel studio. It’s definitely visual but also having things more orderly makes me feel more in control and that’s important to me. So I understand where you are coming from. I haven’t done any painting except for a student demo. Sometimes the time just isn’t right.
control! Exactly! When I am stressed out due to things beyond my control I have to clean and tidy up a lot. Gives me something to take control of. I have been cleaning a lot the last year!
Exactly what I needed to hear today Christine. After walking the dog, This artist is going upstairs to put “make tidy” as my oldest granddaughter says.
Perhaps sometime, there will be an opportunity for a picture of your studio to be shared.
sure! lots of mess to share….
A decade or two ago, when I was attending college in that beautiful ‘City by the Bay’, San Francisco, I met a man and had a brief affair. In that time we stayed at his friend house one night, a multi-millionaire whose place was completely filled with the most gorgeous antiques I’ve ever seen. The bedroom sheets were white, crisp and ironed. Yes, ironed. Like in the catalogs. In my eyes that room was perfect. To this day, when I make my bed, (everyday, even in COVID shutdown)sometimes with ironed pillowcases sometimes not, I remember how I felt when I was in that room. Wealthy. Cared for. Surrounded by beauty. My point is, we are artist’s with an artistic eye for beauty. Make that bed, Christine. And if you can create art from that, “bed with sheets”, why not do so.
love it! I need an affair like that!
Glad I am not the only one with a studio out of control!
This is why we connect so well. For you it’s the bed, for me it’s the kitchen! When my kitchen is “cluttered” I can’t get into the right groove to cook.
I totally can imagine what you mean. If my working space is a mess I feel less happy when I walk into it than when it’s tidy. And I’m not a ‘cleaning-freak’ but with so many pastels around me I need to get it on its place or I don’t feel ZEN. ;D But when I’m working I make a mess again while I’m focussing on my work.
I think most artists are like that. Yes, I always need to get my zen on….