Pia shares Her Dark Half - Issue #6

My tips and a nudge to embrace your artistic (dark?) side


. . the final frontier.

These are the voyages of . .

Setting up a safe space for your creativity

(ok, ok, I'll stop... Star Trek geek in me just had to)

One of the things that might be holding you back from fully embracing your artistic potential is not having the right kind of space. To get your creative juices flowing freely, you need an area where you can feel relaxed enough to focus on your art.

Not all of us can afford a bright and airy artist loft with high ceilings and huge windows. You might not even have a whole room, but only a corner. Carve yourself that little niche of peace from all the noise and distraction. If you have a spot like this, consider using it for meditation as well, maybe even right before you start painting or writing. I love meditating to clear my head and let go of tension; and I've been swearing by it for a few years now. I don't want to stray from today's topic, but if you're curious about meditation, I suggest checking out free apps like Headspace or Calm to get started.

Anyhoo, back to Space.

We don't always consciously note it, but our senses influence our state of mind, which in turn, have an impact on our creativity. To set up your creative space, keep these in mind:

Sensation: Is the room cool or warm enough? Is there an annoying draft? Or a pleasant breeze? Is your chair conducive to good or bad posture? Is your table at the right height? Can you change the degree of table top angle?

Sight: Is the area messy and without organization? How do you feel about the color of the walls? Do they always put you in a certain mood? Is there room to display your finished work or keep trinkets around to inspire you? Would plants be a pleasant addition to the scenery? Most importantly - is there sufficient light?

It is vital that you have good light for your art space. If you can be near a window for natural light, great. If not, get some desk lamps that you can adjust easily or clasp to different spots. The temperature of the light bulb is important too. Get a neutral/cool bulb that mimics daylight.

But having said that, I found this fascinating research out of Germany that in some cases, dimming the light can spark creativity (but of course!). I mean, it makes total sense to me!

It's up to you to figure out what works best for you. Try both and experiment. Who knows what you might discover!

Sound: If absolute quiet is not your thing, this is a great chance to listen to your favorite podcasts or music. When I write, I prefer music or soundscapes without words or lyrics because they can be distracting. When I work on visual projects, I put on my favorite tunes and pick whatever mood I want to 'use' for the moment. Soft bluesy music, classical masterpieces, opera, angry industrial or doom metal...all are an option for me.

Smell: I love scented candles. Yes, I'm one of those people. Nothing like the calming glow of a flame. Especially after sunset and when it's cold, naturally. But when it's too hot and bright, which is the case most of the time in Southern California, I resort to a (pet-safe) essential oil diffuser.

Taste: Well....not an essential need for your creative space, unless you like licking watercolor paint pods! I can't help you there. I have accidentally taken a sip of my brush water instead of my tea before. If you know me personally, this would not be surprising news to you.

When I was young and my bones less creaky, I painted this acrylic on canvas on a hardwood floor next to my bed, while listening to NIN's song Reptile over and over. Ahh, simpler times!

Basically, keep in mind all your senses, except taste. Unless you want to include your favorite coffee or tee, or adult beverage. No judging here!

Some more random tips to consider:

If possible, shut the door to your room or office. That might not always be possible, but making a clear boundary of your creative space will make it less likely that you get interrupted by your roommate or family. To avoid hurt feelings, communicate with them about your need for ‘me’ time and that it’s not personal. Giving a certain timeframe will signal when it’s ‘ok’ to invade your space again and might make it more acceptable for less considerate /impatient souls in your life.

Pets can be a huge distraction too, especially cats that demand attention and, as in my case, will climb on my lap or even up on the desk and get right in my face. We love our little furballs, but when it comes to creating, they are in the wrong place at the wrong time! Then again, sometimes I welcome my little drama queens when I need a break.

What made a big difference to me when it comes to getting right back into creative mode, was having my tools easily available. Not packed away somewhere nice and neatly. It’s fine to have some organization, but if my work space is too sterile and I have to hunt down every brush and pen or paper pad, the moment is gone. Inspiration might hit and you want to get right to it! 

So, I leave a bit of a ‘mess’ on my desk, my tools within easy reach and ready to be used. Lots of times I simply leave things where I left them off if I have an ongoing project or painting that doesn’t get finished in one session. Rolling carts can be handy if you want to keep the mess out of sight but still have your supplies within reach.

And lastly, if you're really hurting for space, here's a pretty cool list of ideas how to still find room, even if it's under a staircase.

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You're faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage..” - Julia Cameron

That’s it for today - do you already have a creative space set up? I'd love to see your pics!

Have a creative weekend! Till next time, when I'll have a special edition - Cheers!

Don't miss the next newsletter by hitting that subscribe link on top! Welcome new subscribers - much appreciated!

My newsletter is free and for the public to share, but if you find it useful and would like to buy me a beer you can contribute to my tip jar here. Or find @piathrasher on Venmo or Paypal. Or simply share this newsletter on social media!

Thank you from the bottom of my black little heart!

Dark Greetings….and ‘see’ you in two weeks!


If I haven’t heard from you in a while and you’d like to say hi, please drop me a quick message by replying to this newsletter or writing to [email protected]

You can also communicate with me via the usual methods on social media. Or find ALL the links and go down the rabbit hole here!

Join the conversation

or to participate.