The Messy Studio with Rebecca Crowell

The Messy Studio with Rebecca Crowell

Artist Rebecca Crowell shares experiences and thoughts from three decades of painting, teaching and traveling, as well as her conversations with other artists. She is joined by her co-host, producer, and son, Ross Ticknor, who brings an entrepreneurial Millennial perspective. The conversations are broad and eclectic, focused on ideas, information and anecdotes that other artists may find helpful in their work and careers. A new episode is uploaded every weekend!... Show More

Episodes

October 18, 2020 34 min
Confidence often seems to go along with success in the art world—when talking about the business side of things, qualities like self-assurance, decisiveness, and the ability to speak well about your work are important. In the studio, confidence may take a more private form—the ability to try new things, or to carry through with major projects. While there’s no doubt that confidence is a good thing, many artists feel they fall short...
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In many ways, art is a great leveler of personal differences among those who create it. Along with other personal factors like gender and ethnicity, the age of an artist often has little or no impact on the pure, wordless first encounter between viewer and art. On the other hand, as artists we know that many aspects of our personal lives do affect the content of our work and how we go about making it. Today we are going to talk ab...
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October 2, 2020 46 min
A couple of weeks ago we did an episode about working in mixed media, and collage figured prominently among the artists who responded to our Facebook question about the topic. Collage interests many artists because of its potential to bring various materials, images, and processes together in surprising and expressive combinations. Today we’ll look at some of the approaches that artists use who work in collage, and why they are dra...
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September 26, 2020 48 min
In our almost three years of recording podcasts, we have often found ourselves comparing cooking and art in terms of process and outcome. Since our podcast description includes “life in general” we thought it would be fun to move away from the messy studio and into the messy kitchen for an episode that explores the ways that cooking and creating art share aspects of creativity. Many artists excel at cooking and enjoy it as a rela...
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Working in mixed media, also called combined media, expands creative possibilities, and intrigues many artists. What materials can be used together in interesting and non-traditional ways? How can you approach the overwhelming number of potential combinations? Mixed media involves the joy of experimentation, the satisfaction of discovering new approaches, and new ways of creating meaning and personal voice in your work. In today’...
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September 12, 2020 34 min
The materials an artist uses are one of the first things we notice when looking at art—we may see paint, clay, wood, paper, pencil, or intriguing combinations of many materials and processes. Beyond their visual impact alone, materials can also evoke feelings and ideas that add to the meaning of the work. Today we’re going to talk about materiality in art—its impact and the decisions involved in choosing art materials. As an art t...
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September 5, 2020 50 min
We create our art and conduct our art careers mostly from within the bubble of our own point of view. But our reputations are important to our success and they are defined by the way other people see us. From within our own perspectives, we can lose sight of how we come across to our colleagues, collectors, students, galleries, and others who define us in the outside world. Today will be talking about shaping your reputation as a...
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August 29, 2020 36 min
As artists, we love knowing that our work is appreciated by other people—whether that comes to us via exhibits, sales, awards, positive comments on social media, or simply from friends and family who respond to what we do. And even though many artists would say that recognition and validation are secondary to making the work, it can be still hard to stay motivated without some positive input. Today we’ll talk about the desire for ...
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August 22, 2020 42 min
In a recent podcast, we talked about the remark often made about abstract artists --” my kid could paint that.” But there are lots of other things people say to and about artists that show a lack of understanding or even hostility toward art. When these happen in conversation, they can create some awkward moments. Most of us tend to feel defensive when this happens, and we can miss an opportunity to elevate the conversation. Tod...
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August 15, 2020 37 min
Saying that an abstract painting is something a preschooler could do sounds like the ultimate putdown for abstract art. It implies that abstraction is a scam, meant to fool the viewer into thinking it has actual importance and ridiculing the fact that it is sold for thousands of dollars. It also denies that it takes effort, skill, or seriousness to make the work. But can that same remark be viewed in a positive light instead? What...
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Along with color, texture is one of the most evocative visual elements, engaging not only our eyes but our sense of touch—as well as our memories and associations. Many artists seek out ways of creating texture and consider it one of the most important aspects of their work. Yet because it is such a powerful element it needs to be used thoughtfully, and often with restraint. How can we use texture most effectively in our work, allo...
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August 1, 2020 36 min
A theme in all of our podcasts over time has been encouraging artistic growth. To us, growth is a given, something all of us strive as artists and as people. But what does it really mean to grow artistically and why is it important? What can you look for in your work to know if it is growing? Today we will look at what growth means in our studio practices and share thoughts about its importance. The need for growth is embedded in ...
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July 25, 2020 35 min
We were all curious as children and many artists retain that trait as vital to dynamic art practice. Yet curiosity can be fragile, disappearing in the face of information overload or the desire to seem knowledgeable and in control. To be curious, to wonder, to explore –all are aspects of ourselves that keep us young, with room to grow. Today we will look at how to nurture curiosity in your art practice and the importance of explori...
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July 18, 2020 38 min
Artists need to edit, too!. Of course, we’re all familiar with the idea of editing as it applies to writing. It is often said that every author needs an editor to make sure that their writing is technically correct, cohesive, and impactful. But as visual artists we don’t typically involve anyone else in that kind of role --it's up to us to do it ourselves. Today we will talk about editing our work for stronger and more consist...
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July 11, 2020 38 min
When artists collect, it’s often --but not always --related to our art practices. We tend to collect works of art that we’ve bought or traded for, art books, memorabilia like announcements and posters, and of course, art supplies. But what about the more unexpected things we gather in our homes and studios? What do our collections tell us about ourselves and our attraction to certain kinds of objects? Today we’ll report on what som...
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July 4, 2020 29 min
We often say “That’s beautiful” in response to a work of art, but the word beautiful can have many meanings. Most of us recognize it as a heartfelt compliment when it is said about our own work, but we may wonder what specifically prompted the viewer to use the word. And while we may strive for beauty in our work we may have not thought much about what that means. Today we look at what deeper ideas or responses the words “beauty” ...
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June 27, 2020 28 min
A key aspect of establishing your personal voice is figuring out what is most important to you in your work. What do you want to communicate to other people? What responses do you hope to evoke? The process of defining these intentions can be challenging, involving some basic but important questions, and may take some time to process and refine. But clear intentions are a powerful tool. Today we will look at the process of clarifyi...
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June 20, 2020 38 min
This is a topic that we have considered covering for a while. It dovetails nicely with past episodes addressing what inspires and motivates our work. But it seems especially relevant now given the worldwide pandemic and recent social unrest, which have many artists thinking deeply about the meaning and honesty of their work. Being authentic in your work means being true to yourself, and unafraid in your creative explorations. Duri...
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June 13, 2020 36 min
Scale is an aspect of visual design that is perhaps the easiest to overlook. This is because there is a default mode that generally works—that is, medium sized works of art, and imagery that fits in expected ways within those boundaries. But challenging habitual ways of using scale can be an exciting path. As viewers, we notice immediately when someone steps outside the expected and calls attention to scale. Today we have some thou...
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We touched on today’s topic in our last episode when we went briefly over through some important design elements. Basically we were talking about composition—how to arrange the visual elements on a 2-d surface so that they “work.” This is complex because each aspect of a composition affects others in subtle or not so subtle ways. Even a small change often necessitates revision in other parts of the work. In this way, composition c...
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