Creative Debt

In order for creativity to flourish, it needs space.

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

In computer programming, there’s a term called “technical debt,” which refers to the accumulation of suboptimal code that occurs over time as a project develops. This happens when new features are added on top of existing ones without properly addressing the underlying code structure. While the code may technically work, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain and can result in a Frankenstein-like system. Similarly, in creative work, there’s a similar phenomenon called “creative debt.” As you work on different projects, you accumulate ideas that don’t quite fit together, leading to a cluttered and disjointed creative output.

  • This week’s artist is – Joanie Bauer Hupp– a local artist I recently had coffee with. She shared some of her cards and… wow! We had a delightful chat, geeked out about paper, and I just had to share her art. Find more on her website (and see the cards above at the Art Supply House)!
  • René Lalique would have been 163 on Thursday!
  • We’re accepting art supply donations for our Spring Clean Art Supply Drive this month. So, if you have art supplies and materials that you aren’t using (new or used), drop them at the store and we’ll distribute them to an organization or two who can really put them to great use!
  • If you sell your art, here’s good advice on how to spread the word on instagram.
  • How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it.. (This makes me think of Bob Ross’s “beat the devil out of it.”)
  • I’ve recently been digging into my oil paints, cross-referencing, comparing, etc. Here is a quick guide to the different black paints. Here’s a similar guide to the different white paints.
  • Not interested in oil paints? This article about watercolor on toned paper is a fun read (and we have a variety of toned papers available.)
  • Too much paint talk? Here’s a free online drawing workshop with Kelly Foss.
  • This is a fun series of memorable rhetorical examples in case you need examples of memorable rhetoric.
  • Here’s a great video on an impressionish painter – or, why Sargent Painted Outside the Lines.
  • How to speak honeybee. (Literally, translating the language of the bees.)
  • This is the first week of a new month, so Friday is the first Friday. Both Create Art and Tea and the ArtRoom Collective in the Smiley Building have events happening!
  • Sunday is Easter, so there are two egg hunts that I’m aware of: a free Easter Egg Scramble at Santa Rita Park for youth ages one to eight and an egg hunt at Durango Harley Davidson.
  • I continue to be surprised at everything the Bayfield library offers. Here’s a community calendar, and here’s an event calendar. The community is for the wider community, while the events are specifically at the library. Events include things like yesterday’s reception for Rebecca Koeppen’s art show (that will be up until June), the free weekly Open Art Studio on Thursdays at 10am, the Community Knitting and Crochet Group every Sunday from 1-3pm, and even some paid classes (like watercolor and beginning quilting.)
  • There are classes/workshops/projects available at the Dancing Spirit Community Arts CenterLet’s Letter Together, the Scrapbook NookCreate Art and Tea, the 4 Corners Gem and Mineral Club, Seed Studio, and the Durango Arts Center. There are a lot more things happening that I don’t include – so if you’re ever looking for something to do, start at
  • If you’re inspired to make cards, we have a variety of papers available. Choose your paper and size then have fun creating. One of my favorite parts of making card art is that I don’t feel compelled to store it once it’s finished. I can send it along to someone else to enjoy! Feel like making some portable art? Swing by the store and see what options are available!

Clearing the decks and starting from scratch can be a helpful way to address creative debt. This involves letting go of emotionally attached ideas and unfinished projects, and starting anew with a fresh perspective. While it can be difficult to discard partially completed projects, sometimes it’s the best way to move forward creatively. By asking yourself how you would start the project if you knew what you know now, you can often find a better approach. This process can be liberating and ultimately lead to faster progress than continuing to build on top of a cluttered and disorganized creative output.

If you’re feeling stuck creatively, you may need to clear the decks, just doing the work to clear the space of blockages as you can be so much more creative when you feel like you can breathe. It can be hard work, but it’s important – because the world needs your art!

Matthew & the Art Supply House crew

P.S. – If you’ve looked ahead at this month’s calendar, you may have noticed that April has 5 Saturday’s this year. That means that April 29th is going to be our next Customer Appreciation day! Do you have your bag ready?