Open Studio Process


Credit for the Open Studio Process and this photo to Open Studio Project

Open Studio Process

No Previous Art Experience Needed

Optional Warm Up                                                                                                              ‘Degunk’ yourself with stream of consciousness writing about your day/what’s really irking you/the song you can’t get out of your head/blah blah blah, until you’ve exhausted that or for a few minutes.  Then, draw a line all the way across the page under your degunk, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and move on to Step 1.

Step 1 – Intention Writing – Guide your experience

  • What do you wish most/want to explore further/wish to shift/hope for your time spent doing the process?  Limit yourself to things that are possible and within your own control.
  • It’s like a goal, but worded like it is already happening, now.
  • You could begin your intention with one of these active starters (or not):
    • I enjoy
    • I play with
    • I welcome
    • I relax into
    • I imagine
    • I release my desire to
    • I lead with
    • I suspend
    • I honor
    • I strengthen
    • I celebrate
    • I trust
  • A couple recent examples from my journal: ‘I trust my intuition and feel it’s distinction from fear’ and ‘I relax and enjoy this time for us and art and light, immersing myself in experience with my thinker turned off’.

Step 2 – Art Making – Not that kind of art class

  • The drawing, painting, or other ‘product’ is not the point of this ‘process’.  It’s the souvenir of the experience.
  • The point of the experience is to follow your urges without judgement or questioning, as much as possible.  Colors, Marks, Implements, Movements… Follow your urges and attend to your senses, with your thinker turned off.  If a recognizable image arises, don’t fight it, but go into the art making without an idea of what to make in mind.
  • If you get ‘stuck’ and don’t know what to do next, you can:
    • just make a mark, any mark, for the love of Pete : )  then, make another
    • use both hands at the same time
    • use your non-dominant hand only
    • close your eyes while working
    • ask yourself, ‘what would a wild person do to my work if they ran into the room right now?’ then, do that
  • Typical 6 week sequence
    • week 1- drawing
    • week 2- painting
    • week 3- foil and tape sculpture +/- found objects
    • week 4- free choice
    • week 5- free choice
    • week 6- overall witness and free choice

Step 3 – Witness Writing – Freely reflect

  • Sit as if in conversation with your piece, close enough to see it very well.
  • Write whatever words come, spontaneously and without censoring.
  • Spelling and punctuation are not important.
  • There is no wrong way to write your witness.  This writing is for yourself.

Step 4 – Witness Reading – Benefit us all

  • Participants point out or pass their artwork, without explanation or comment, and choose whether to read aloud all, part, or none of their Witness.
    • We read only what we have written in our witness.
    • We give our full attention to other participants when they show their piece/read their Witness.
    • No one, facilitator or participants, ever comments on the art or writing of themselves or others.
  • Hearing our words aloud benefits not just us, but the other participants as well.  I learn so much from my experiences working the process with others.
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