Take Back the View!

Last fall I noticed a small tree had seeded itself among the shrubs outside my studio windows.  Thinking it was a wild apple tree, I left it alone.  By this summer, it had revealed its true self — invasive Buckthorn — and had invited a grove of Sumac to join it.  I included “overgrown shrubs outside my studio windows” on a list of things I was tolerating (and that just might be blocking my creative process) during a recent class with Alyson Stanfield, but hadn’t made any progress with asking my husband or the local landscapers to deal with the situation.

I should have known today would be the day when I tossed Ted Orland’s The View from the Studio Door in my bag as I headed off to an appointment.    With real fall weather threatening after an extra month of summer, and rain storms moving in for the rest of the week . . . I came home from my trip into town and realized the time had come to take back my view!

I could have called my neighbor for help — at age 14 he’s already “tractor certified.”  Either that or exceptionally good at marketing his lawn mowing/landscaping services for someone who has yet to earn his driver’s license.  My husband also owns a tractor — he’s not officially “certified,” but certainly very competent — however, he wasn’t at home.  We have a chainsaw too, but after telling my 85-year old father he was not allowed to use his chainsaw while he was home alone, I thought better of trying ours for the first time.  Hell knows no wrath like a woman with a swiss army knife.  OK, it was a small landscapers’ pruning saw, but the view of the fall foliage from my southwest studio is now much improved — or at least it will be once I get back out there to wash the windows!

Take Back the View day, October 2010

What are some of the seemingly unrelated things that block your creative process?  And what are the first steps toward resolving them?  Tell us below …


4 thoughts on “Take Back the View!

  1. Hi MJ! The blog looks great, and I am quite jealous of your view. (My studio is in the basement.)

    The chainsaw made me giggle… My father cut himself out of a tree once, and we joke that he shouldn’t be allowed to use his chainsaw anymore or at least not without parental supervision or the paramedics on call.

    • Thanks, Claudine . . . your new space may be “downstairs” but I’m envious of your collection of storage bins. Someday I’ll be as organized as you are. Just think of all the space you have now, and that there’s no competition for multipurpose uses — it’s all yours!!

  2. Hi MJ,

    thanks for the peek at your studio! it looks so sunny. that ‘take back the view’ book sounds like a really good read–

    there is another artist coach person- Jenifer Hoffman, who gives a workshop on ‘Gentle Organizing for Creative Spirits’… I was able to take it as part of something called ‘smARTist Telesummit’ which is organized yearly by Ariane Goodwin (she also has a blog to help artists w/marketing, etc//well worth checking out)

    anyway, Jenifer’s course was great because it helped you approach your ‘clutter’ and address each space you work in to optimize what you need to get done….

    the thing i most remember from it is:
    just blocking out one hour and taking care of all the little things you know you’ve been putting off in the space will really help.
    and to not get discouraged if things build up again– it’s just a sign that you’re creative and busy. and then make that time to clear things up again.
    this is especially helpful if your space has a dual purpose and has to be the same space for different activities (either your art, or maybe it’s also the organizing/office stuff, or even it’s another room in your home that has to be the guest room or kitchen or whatever)

    anyway, thanks again for showing your new ‘view’!

    • Karen, I’d love to hear more about the smARTist telesummit – I’d heard about it in an early podcast by Alyson Stanfield I think so hearing mention of it again means it’s something I should pay attention to.

      Now I just need to carve out an hour to wash some windows!! 🙂

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