"Muses, Magic & Maps"

from Katherine Mead

When I was a young girl, I created what I realize now was my first studio. In a corner of our garage, up a ladder, next to where my parents stored luggage and unused household items, I carved out a space. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was about three feet by four feet. I set up my toys and made the coziest little nest. It was mine alone and I was in heaven. It was a place to read, dream, draw and escape. With Portland Open Studios less than a month away, I feel the need to wax poetic about the concept of the artist studio.

Ah, the studio – an essential element of the creative experience. Every artist has their own methods, materials and madness, so defining what comprises a studio can be a tad tricky. This much I know: the space must be conducive to conjuring the muse, instigating the magic and pointing the artist in the right direction. What is it that pushes us to that area of our psyche where time stands still and we are completely lost in color, shape, and imagination? Personally, I must have my senses satisfied – I need music, scents, privacy and light. I must be surrounded by my books and materials and my space must be free of distraction. The world of art is so introvert-filled because at its very heart it is a solitary endeavor. True artistic breakthroughs are not group exercises. They mostly happen when someone is deep, deep, deep in introspective thought (and usually surrounded by a whirling dervish-like mess.) Creativity is messy, unpredictable, elusive and yet thoroughly intoxicating. The studio is the heart of an artists’ creative world. It’s a sacred place where our dreams and visual worlds take shape. When you enter these studio spaces during the tour, you will see a diversity of sizes, styles and locations. The commonality is the emotions our studios elicit. The extreme happiness and comfort each artist feels in their space. Home is where the art is. Sharing our space and our process will hopefully be an inspiring and uplifting experience. You may even be compelled to carve out your own little area of creative bliss. Or simply revel in the impressive artistic diversity the tour has to offer. Either way, what could be more fun than getting a glimpse of a secret and fascinating world? I hope to see you in my studio in mid October. No ladder climbing required.