During the Creative Process
I want to share with you my creative place.
A humble little house that I’m happy to call my creative home.
Room by room at the Dream.Love.Paint cottage, item by item, I have grown it to reflect me and my dreams. It is not based on what a proper artist’s studio ‘should’ have. (Who wrote those ‘rules’ anyway??)
It is and will always be reflective of my changing dreams and desires.
Let’s head inside so you can see what I’ve chosen and why.
I hope you are inspired to do the same for yourself. Create a magical space, one that reflects and supports YOU in your creative endeavors!
The Dream.Love.Paint Cottage
This 100-year-old cottage is made up of 5 rooms which, as fate would have it, is perfectly sized for me.
Writing, watercolor, oil painting, quietness and conversation are all my passions— and it has allowed me a room for each of these.
Before I dive into the details of the cottage, I should mention here that I love things made from nature. Although there are many convenient items made from plastic, I find myself passing them by. Always on the hunt for things made of glass or wood or wicker. Which led me to look for items for my creative space from flea markets and antique malls. I love repurposing them and I adore the life they bring to a place!
So here goes…
The Entry Room for Writing
The front door entry room has light spilling into it from the large window on the right. My desk from the 1800’s fills the facing wall. Now freshly painted a lighter color to match my mood and its surroundings. With a slanted, leather top and shelves to hold my journals— I can scarcely walk past without wanting to sit down and put thoughts to paper!
I’ve placed a vision board to the right of my desk. An old fashioned hourglass and a photo of my love, Ron, occupies a lower shelf. (The hourglass is to encourage me to write for longer periods of time—an idea inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert!)
A favorite scented candle, sheer curtains that filter the light softly and a bunch of dried lavender are there. These are the kind of things that call me to myself. With a rag rug on the floor and a vintage French chair pulled up to my desk, I’m tickled rosé with this room 😉
It holds my dreams and possibilities.
I can see me growing in this space.
The sign on my desk? It says—
‘Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake.’
Amen and amen.
The Front Room for Quietness
The front room sits to the left of the entry and has a swing suspended from its ceiling. A plush rug, fine for sinking bare feet in lies below. A rocking chair, my guitar, and oodles of pillows/soft covers (in the color of my favorite rosé) are here in this room. Lots (and lots!) of candles, good books, a delicate water glass on an agate coaster—all things that spark joy.
It is a nurturing place.
It speaks to me and you know what it says?
It tells me to be kind to me. To allow time for meditation and quietness.
To listen. To swing gently. To rest. To trust in the process.
Creative people need a place like this.
The Side Room for Oils
The next room is L-shaped and is my space for oil painting. Center stage is my shabby chic easel and mirrored table that holds my palette. Positioned so that it gives ample room to step back from my paintings as needed.
A long, low bookcase holds paintings, inspiring books, brushes and more.
My favorite piece in here is the wooden wardrobe, a soft green in color. Five feet tall, it has 5 large drawers to hold my oil paint supplies on its left side. And a deep shelf that I’ve stashed all my oil painting gear on for travel. The right side once held someone’s long dresses. It now holds my new painting panels, waiting to become paintings! Every time I look at this piece it makes me smile. It has found a new life in my studio and you would think it had been designed to do exactly what it’s doing 😉
An old white farm table sits to the right of my easel. It serves as a handy catch-all when I’m painting. Perfect to mix medium, clean a brush, or sit a wet painting or two on. A live fig tree adds the finishing touch to this old/new space for me to play with the paints.
(I know. Delicious so far, right?? I am hoping this inspires you to use old things in new ways.)
Sidenote: It would be remiss of me not to mention my love for old picnic baskets and luggage. I have these scattered throughout the cottage. Either holding various items or sitting empty, ready for me to stash art stuff and head out!
The Center Room for Watercolor
What do a huge farm table and a vintage kitchen cabinet have in common? They are living together in the center room at the cottage.
The cabinet is perfect for storing all my watercolor sets, journals, brushes, cards and pens! It has glass doors on top that let me see those handsome Italian journals and Paris watercolor sets.
The table is largish (7’ long!) and perfect for spreading out when I want to work in watercolor. I’ve kept this space clean and simple—sort of like watercolors themselves. A few French chairs with woven bottoms, a rag rug and a large plant all share this light-filled space with me. Color me happy!
The kitchen is the last room before heading out onto the cozy back porch. It holds lots of picnic baskets and blue ball jars—and oodles of old dishes. It’s where the real conversations take place.
Over a good Chianti and crusty french bread. With vintage silverware and Limoge plates appearing from local and French flea markets. Inspiring for still life, the items themselves often become part of the conversations. Perfect for brush cleaning or setting a freshly snipped rose in a vase on its windowsill. This little kitchen helped feed a family of 8 in one of its past lives. And now it’s home to one hungry artist’s dreams 😉
Back Porch and Yard
We exit the kitchen to the porch via the old back door which is original to the house. Chipped and weathered, it feels like home (I always enter via the back door to the cottage 😉
The antique French daybed provides a cozy nest on the back porch. It’s one of those things I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Found it online in North Carolina and had it trucked here. Filled with fluffy pillows and a colorful cover it is now my spot for reading and scheming.
Surrounded by peachy geraniums, variegated ivy and hot pink petunias— it makes me happy just looking at it!
The back yard has a hammock swing that hangs from the strong leafy arms of the maple tree. (I do sit and twirl in it, like a kid. Helps me to remember to not take life so seriously. )
Things that inspire/make me happy in this space?
A beautiful fringed umbrella and an old flower pot that I’ve had for 25 years (it has traveled to California and back!)
A hanging vase that I fill with fresh cut flowers every chance I get
Freshly planted lavender that reminds me of Susie’s lavender farm in France
A climbing rose bush just getting started on its journey
A periwinkle blue wall at the edge of the yard that has this painted on it:
‘Write it on your heart that today is the best day ever.’
What I’ve Learned
As creative souls, everything becomes a tool for learning more about ourselves. What we love, what makes us laugh, what sparks JOY! These are the things that we carry into our processes. With every choice on what to keep, what to add, what to let go, I discovered a piece of myself.
And that was the best thing of all. Which is why I knew I had to share it with you.
The better you come to know the one and only YOU—the better able you are to deliver your gifts to a waiting world.
Take the time to create your space and it will give back to you in ways you never dreamed possible!
I’d love to hear about how you create your space – and I’m sure others will, too. Please share in the comments below.
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