Clean up your act…

Remember when your Mom used to constantly tell you to “pick it up”, “put it away”, “clean up your mess”?  Well, if you want to be more productive in your studio…listen to Mom!!

How many times do we start painting with a large, clean working area and, as the project progresses, the working space somehow diminishes?  That large open table, is now a small space that hardly allows room for the project!   We all want to make the most of our painting time.  I have found that following a simple routine makes a world of difference.  If you follow these simple steps, you will keep your space open and your painting time will be a happier time.14441040_1263499617015257_4725592904969226260_n.jpg

Step One:  The first step, and probably the most important, in keeping a productive workspace is before the paintbrushes even hit the water is to start with a clutter free space.  Before you get out the paints, brushes and surfaces, make sure your working area is not only tidy, but also clean.  Take a few minutes to clear everything, put it away and wipe the surface clean.  Ever have those tiny unknown bits of something that end up in fresh paint?  Well, 9 times out of 10, they are residue of prior projects, specks of dried paint, etc…  Making sure your area is spotless and tidy not only makes working on projects easier, creativity will also flow much better!


Step Two:  Now that the table is clean and clear, the next step is to gather up all the supplies needed for the project.  If everything is together, there will be no more stopping and searching for a missing paint, brush, etc…  As a result, without all the stops and starts, there is more continuity, and all the energy is focused on the actual project.


Step Three:  Step three takes a little discipline.  Arrange all the paints and brushes within easy reach.  I like to keep my paints in rainbow order, in hombre rows.  For example, I start on the left with reds, no more than three deep, pink in front, middle red, and deeper red behind.  Then next row will be shades of oranges and/or yellows, next will be greens, then blues, purples, etc…  I always have blacks & whites on the far right.  I also have an order for my brushes.  I fold up about 3-4 layers of paper towel and lay out the brushes needed.  I start on the left with script liner, then liner, rounds, filberts, flats and angles (as needed).  Since I have implemented this routine, my colors  and brushes are always in order and within easy access. Here comes the discipline part…setting the bottles and brushes back in their assigned places.  I will admit that it takes a little while to master the routine, but what a difference it will make!  I know that when I paint, I can put it in high gear and do just that…simply paint!!


Step Four:  Step four goes back to step one!  When finished with the project, PUT EVERYTHING AWAY and CLEAN UP!!  Can you hear your mom grinning?!  We all know at this stage of the game that mom was always right (well, mostly)!

Being organized makes painting such a treat and a pleasure!  I LOVE painting, but get so frustrated when derailed with the little things.  Take time to get it together and take time to keep it together!


5 thoughts on “Clean up your act…

  1. tolepainter82

    I think I need to start with an organized studio, too. Part of my problem is working on more than one project at a time: two classes, painting with friends, unfinished seminar pieces, and then the things I just want to paint! It’s time to get my act together.

  2. Melissa

    So true. I find it very helpful to just take a little time before I start to lay it all out in a neat and orderly manner. And when I am done with a project, putting everything away gives me a clear mind to start something new. It may take a few projects to see value of this. But it is a great habit to get into.
    Keep those good ideas coming!


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