Welcome to my blog series "Room to Bloom"! Some amazing women from around the world will be sharing their personal creative spaces with us. No matter if our space is desk in a corner of our kitchen or a spacious loft studio, we all need room to bloom, don't you think? I know you'll find these sanctuaries as inspiring as I do.
Today's guest is the delightful Tracy Carlton! Tracy and I "met" online while taking classes with Connie of Dirty Footprints Studio. Although we've not yet met in "real life", you can feel her sweetness, energy and enthusiasm through the cosmic airwaves of the internet. We call ourselves "The Tracy/ie's" and we've much in common as we've both claimed our "room to bloom" and our newish title of "artist". I think you'll be inspired by the space - square footage AND heart space - she's taken to pursue her creative yearnings...enjoy!
My creative space is quite small. I share a small cabin in the woods of northern California with my husband, 6 year old son, and three cats. I have a lovely alcove I carved out just for me (after quite a few years of saying we had no space!), but alas, it is just too cramped for creating in that space ~ low A-frame ceilings, don't you know. But my altar is in this space, so I still make time to come and sit and let the silence fill me up. I also have a table and hassock filled to the brim with more supplies downstairs, and I take over the kitchen table as often as I can. If only we didn't have to eat...
My ritual for painting, which helps me to set intention, and to be mindful of the moment, includes lighting a candle, lighting some Nag Champa incense, turn on my Africa playlist on itunes, and making a cup of Earl Grey tea. Even in warm weather, I just love my Earl Grey tea! There is something so very satisfying about these little things. Sometimes I just jump in and paint, more likely when others are home, but as often as I can, I try to set the mood with my ritual!
I have one cat in particular who would love to be right on top of the table painting with me. I probably should always consider myself a mixed media artist, my paintings undoubtedly include cat hair. (no picture tho!)
Are there challenges to painting? Ha! Did I mention the A-frame cabin, the 6 year old, the cats... oh, wait, I did! I also work 30 hours a week. So, yes, carving out a space has taken much fortitude and persistence. Also, it has meant painting in front of my family, feeling tender and exposed as I make my way and claim the word "artist" for myself. And because of the space constraints, there have been many times where it's just so much easier to sit in front of the computer rather than pull all my materials out to get creating. But, I keep at it. I keep reminding myself how much I love it. How good it makes me feel. And I know that I have truly claimed this for myself, I have over come lots of excuses and obstacles (external and internal) to make it happen.
My future dream studio will be down a short path from my house. It will be hand-built out of cob (earth/clay) painted in lots of fun earth inspired colors and specks of mica that sparkle in the sun, with huge south facing windows with a view of gardens, trees, and a pond or creek. It will be cozy, with a wood burning stove for winter, and lots of nooks and crannies for books, supplies, and treats. It will have a big comfy bed, a large over-stuffed chair, and lots of room for my cats to keep me company. It will have an arbor out front with grape vines and a hammock between the posts. Delicious smelling flowers will grow all around so on summer days I can throw open the windows and be inspired by their beauty as well as their scent.
My space is what it is right now. I know that I waited for many years for a bigger space. Or for more time. Or for better supplies. But I could wait no longer. This is the space I have now. I make the best of it and remember to see the beauty of having my loving, and very supportive family so close by as I create. I know too, that I am setting a good example for my son, who loves to break out his art supplies right along side me from time to time. Seeing me embrace what I love, gives him full permission to do the same, whether it be painting, or legos.
Tracy Carlton is a dreamer and a risk taker. She takes life seriously but knows the importance of silliness and play. She has been painting on and off for only the past few years, but now is proud to call herself an artist. You can find her blogging here. She knows not where this creative path will take her, but has faith that it will be a glorious adventure the whole while.