minimalism

Depression, journaling and the power of the weekly blank canvas in my journal.

My week was varied with encouraging highs and depressing lows. But the weekly canvas in my journal helped me pull it all together, see the big picture and look forward. This is how I find meaning in life. I tend to record the events and experiences of my day in a small notebook that I carry with me everywhere. Then on weekends I sit at my desk and create a journal spread around my week. 

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How to have a successful family holiday.

Single people or people traveling without young children enjoy your much easier to plan with fewer limitations holiday! 

Don't overschedule yourself on holiday. Think relaxation over sightseeing. And if there is some monument or museum that you just have to bring your kid(s) to, avoid an early ticket.  

Go out on your own to see the sights that you are most interested in and let your partner do the same.  

Get a place with a pool. This makes downtime so much easier and more effective.  

Don't stay out all day sightseeing. Come back to rest midday or early evening if you got a late start out.

Memories over photos. Really look with your family rather than taking constant selfies.  

Draw and journal your trip as you go and finish it up at home with collected ephemera like handouts and tickets. 

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My best morning yet!

Weekend Morning Pages and schedule keeping are hard, especially in temporary housing with no personal space. But this Monday morning is the best morning I have had since moving out of our house in JP nearly two months ago. While their dad showered I made lunch for the girls and helped get them out the door, then I was showered and dressed and not feeling groggy or sick before eight. Ready to have a productive day planning for the week ahead. I made a cup of tea that I don't desperately need for once and as the skies clear up here in Oxford. The movers come with our stuff on Wednesday morning and I will be moving us in during the rest of the week while the kids are in school. My studio space along with everything else! I am so ready. What are you ready and waiting for? If I were back in Boston I would be preoccupied with waiting for the snow to melt. 

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Hoarder

My name is Marissa and I am an art supply hoarder. Often hoarding my best supplies because I don't feel good enough to use it. This problem is especially strong when it comes to paper. As a printmaker and now a watercolor painter paper is my canvas and my most expensive single supply. And unlike canvas I can't simply gesso over failures and try again. With prints and with watercolor I am stuck with whatever I make the first time. No more hoarding my good paper. I will use my watercolor paper blocks every day and break myself out of my sketchbooks and out of my rut. My first block or a Arches is on its way but I need to use up this before I'm allowed to use it. 

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Analyze what works, learn from it and ditch the rest.

For somebody that fashions herself as a bit of a minimalist I certainly am a pack rat when it comes to my art. I wouldn't have it any other way. Kept an obviously failed collagraph print that was just a hot mess and sat on it for weeks. Until I was ready to get out my watercolors and pens and transform it. It may not be a masterpiece but I learned a lot during the process of making it. In the future I can take pieces that aren't a disaster and transform them.

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Adapt

This morning exploded on us with big kid waking up with a twisted foot and a rash all over her body. Turns out letting her sleep in a new nightgown without washing it first was a very bad idea. At least she wasn't contagious and was able to return to school and not miss her field trip. But with doctors appointments and running around getting medicine there went my morning to do list. So I threw it out the window and enjoyed the rest of a gorgeous day with my little girl. What started out as a rainy day turned into a sunshine filled gloriously warm fall day. We went for a bike ride around our neighborhood and split some delicious thai noodles at our favorite playground and had a really fun day. I adapted and am now using my evening and tomorrow to catch up on what I missed on my to-do list this morning.  It's all going to be okay. 

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Minimalism and Me - Studio Post part 2

 For the past year or two I have been on a slow journey with minimalism. My free time is very limited so it can be difficult to have big purges but I do what I can whenever I have a free moment along the way. Just getting rid of a few items a week on a regular basis can make a huge difference over time. Then I spend less time cleaning and organizing and more time working and having fun with my family. Our main focus with minimalism is to not accumulate more items without careful consideration. Slowing down the consumption and going without has made a big difference. For our family it is all about finding what each member likes best and uses most and focusing on those items and getting rid of and avoiding the rest.

This philosophy of finding out what I enjoy working with as an artist and getting rid of the extra can be challenging to implement. Living a life of minimalism as an artist offers some special challenges. It is all too easy to collect and hoard various art supplies and justify it saying that it could be just what I need for some later project so I have to keep it around. My small studio starts to fill up with junk rather quickly and then when I need to do work I find it challenging. Now I purge supplies and donate them to my daughter's school on a regular basis. I figure they can put the random art supplies that I have collected over the years to better use than I can. And I still have plenty of materials to draw inspiration from and use in various projects, but without the clutter.  Messy does not work very well in a small space. 

Sewing machine I am looking at you and giving you the stink eye.  

This box of old ink was given to me before my six year old was born and I have had it unused in the box the whole time. I don't need crusty old intaglio ink. Saved a few and tossed the rest.

This box of old ink was given to me before my six year old was born and I have had it unused in the box the whole time. I don't need crusty old intaglio ink. Saved a few and tossed the rest.

My Studio part 1


I work in a small space in the 950 square foot urban apartment that I share with my husband and two young children. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an artist who works from home. One advantage is that I'm always close to work-particularly of note when my 2 year old naps for a few hours (most) afternoons. The big disadvantage seems to be missing out on interacting with artists who aren't 6 or 2 years old. This may or may not actually be a disadvantage.

I'm going to spend some time sharing how I setup my studio to keep its' contents both well organized and safe from children. I'll try and share some tips that I learned along the way too.

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