Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Paring down

As some of you know I've recently adopted two stray kittens, who day by day are becoming more tame and friendly (here they are sleeping on "the" desk chair, no longer "my" desk chair). I am in awe of every step they take- yesterday they actually came to greet me when I got home, instead of running under the couch to hide! It gave me chills.

However, I live in a loft, that is one big room with no walls or doors. My studio is in this space also and this is proving a bit of a challenge. Paint brushes are getting chewed on, containers of pens knocked onto the floor and pieces of paper ripped into little pieces. Basically nothing can be left in their reach (which increases every day). Its like having a toddler. Or a flying puppy.

This is forcing me to get minimal and pare down. Normally I would say that key to my creative process is to have lots of things around me for inspiration. I have bulletin boards full of color combinations I like, patterns and pictures. When I make a painting I surround myself with sketches and reference material.

But lately I've had to put all that stuff away so it doesn't get chewed on and I'm actually kind of enjoying it. Something about having a nice clean surface to work on without any clutter is inspiring in itself, a completely blank slate. Maybe having all the things on my desk I thought I needed to get started was just an excuse. We tell ourselves a lot of things about what we need to be creative- quiet or noise or alone time or a certain set of paint brushes. But lately I've been thinking that is all a bunch of crap. Maybe it helps to set the stage with that stuff, or maybe we artists are just creatures of habit.

Either way this is proving a good experiment. Working in a space without all the stuff that reminds me of the things I identify with has been a nice change of pace. Maybe I will transition from reformed pack rat to actual neat freak? Or maybe I'll just have to do another cat book!


Elaine Magliaro said...


Those kittens are so cute. It looks as if they've gotten attached to you. It would be great if you wrote a book about them. I love the way you draw cats!

Wendie O said...


Yes, yes! A cat book, -wendieO

alvinaling said...

How are Bruno's allergies? And what did you name the kitties? They're so adorable.

Anna Alter said...

Bruno's doing ok, he's going to see an allergist next month to see what his options are.

We named them Wilbur and George, though we are thinking George might not be the right name for the little fella with the white paws... suggestions welcome!

alvinaling said...

Oh, cute. I was just talking about the name Wilbur last night...

How about Wilbur and Charlie (short for Charlotte?). Or Templeton? (although perhaps it would be strange to name a cat after a rat)