Tracey´s work for me was drool at first sight. LOVED it from the first time I set eyes on it at thePaint Party Friday blog. It was a new linky party back then. several years ago. Then we started visiting each other, leaving comments and getting to know each other better. I was mesmerized by her watercolours and sketches, she was surprised by and made light fun of my ultra organization skills. We shared chats about being Southern Hemisphere girls, packed lunches and the joys of having teens. Our studio was a permanent element in our chats. That and tea. We loved both.
Mine was one of the first lot of cups of tea she pained for her project which made me extremely happy by that honour.
Today we talk about studio time and tea again.
The day you stepped into your creative space for the first time, did you actually know how you wanted your studio to look or did the design evolve from the actual space?
My studio has been in three different rooms in the house, and each has had its advantages, but when we decided to move it to its current location we were a lot more mindful in its planning. It is a tiny room… only 3 metres square, but it has great light all year long, and it is at the back of the house so there it is easier to close it up and walk away at the end of the day, and it removes me from the noise and madness of the kitchen and family areas. These advantages make up for the lack of space, and with some careful planning it has still managed to work quite effectively.
It has developed and continues to change as I work here and have found that different things would make organising it easier. Organisation is key in such a small space, and I like to be able to have the most commonly used supplies on hand, but still maximise working area. I have a lot of different storage set ups which make it possible for me to do the different types of artwork that I explore, and allows me to have several projects on the go at any one time. The way it is organised has totally grown out of how I like to work, and by considering my work habits we have been able to tailor it to suit me despite the limited space so commonly used sketchbooks are right by the table, paints I use most often on the shelf above the work bench etc.
After the work is done, do you clean up after each piece, after each day, or whenever you can’t find the table anymore?
I tend to work on multiple pieces at once, so I need to prepare the space to maximise what I can have drying while I work on other pieces. I tend to tidy and organise at the beginning of a session rather than at the end of a day as it helps me make sure it will work for what I am planning for that day. If I am working on larger watercolours I need to make sure I have a flat drying surface ready, or if it is smaller pieces then I clear a longer area, or drawing means I can leave it in pretty much whatever state it is in. I find that tidying, preparing and organising before I start puts me in the right frame of mind as well and helps me begin the day the right way. At the end of the day I just leave it as is, usually because I have to stop and do other things, and I like to be able to sneak back in sometimes if I find 10 minutes, and if I packed up I wouldn’t be able to do that … I have no problem with the productive mess that happens by the end of the day, and the getting clean water and cleaning down my table are nice ways to start each day.
Which is the best time of the day to create? Music or silence?
I like to do some work as early as I can in the morning. It is fine if I am interrupted or the day gets away because I have at least got something done. Plus I like the quiet of the neighbourhood, and in summer, the cool of early mornings. I work whenever I can though. It gets crammed in at any time, and at first I had a lot of trouble starting and stopping and needed a stricter routine to be productive, whereas now I can jump in and out of things no problems at all.
Music is usually on, though if I am writing the blog or writing for any reason I like quiet… but the rest of the time I like music. I change the music according to my mood and the energy levels I want, but it is usually just in the background and I often have no clue what I listened to that day. I don’t notice it after a few minutes.
Which is your next project?
I have several projects on the go at the moment. I am illustrating products for three different companies and have three commissions on the books, which keeps me busy, but I am also working on a series of larger watercolour pieces for a gallery. These are all based around perfume bottles, and now some alcohol bottles as well, and are wonderfully messy to create. I am also drawing a zine, writing and recording my lesson for Soul Food 2015 plus I also have a project called the Cuppa With Friends Project. I draw and paint peoples teacups and mugs and post three or four a week. These are my daily kickstarters in the studio and I spend about half an hour on each cup of tea … and of course I am always looking for more inspiration so you can check out the project here, and maybe be part of it. http://www.traceyfletcherking.com/p/cuppa-with-friends-project.html