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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Blog, Books | 39 comments

Fables de la Fontaine. Book in Progress (post 33)

Fables de la Fontaine. Book in Progress (post 33)

Here’s a picture of the little corner where I created the 8 illustrations for the book. Instead of going up here I improvised a mini  work station in our master bedroom. That way I was able to stay closer to the kids during that intense time and I could also work at night  when my outside and inside world is a lot quieter.

Little corner final small

While taking the picture above a whole series of ideas came to my mind about space, the material world, creativity etc. Today I would like to share them with you:

Several years ago I used to think that having a studio was the ultimate way to confirm that an artist was a real artist.

Artist studio small

My whole life I dreamed about having a real studio, exactly like the one that I have now. When Bill and I moved to our new house almost 9 years ago I was thrilled to finally have a real studio, which is located in the back of our home. I adore my studio. But I discovered that the space where you create doesn’t really define you as an artist at all.

Artist inside outside small

 I go back to the time when I had nothing, no studio or even house. The most extreme place where I lived was a small tiny room, about the size of a queen bed. There was no kitchen or anything in there. I had a miniature bathroom where I could hardly fit. I didn’t even have a real bed. All I had was this set of 2 baby mattresses that I displayed next to each other at night. That’s where I slept.

Tiny home small

But I remember that time as one of the most creative periods of my life. The only tools I had were a couple of regular writing pencils and a few blank sheets of paper. Regarding food I had very little as well. Basically crackers and guava jam. I had to carefully plan my daily portions of food so I could feed myself properly during the week. I had to do the same thing with the pencils and paper. But I managed to survive and even feel happy.

Belongings before

At night I had a ritual. I put a wooden board on my lap (that was my table) and then I got the pencils and papers and I drew tiny little fantastic worlds for hours. I made a whole series of those drawings, they were beautiful and very detailed. While drawing at night on my improvised table I felt pretty hungry, but I also felt lucky. I learned that imagination only needed the most basic conditions to get into action.

Drawing me small

Now that my life is a lot more complex because I have a family, a house, a car, a studio…I have started to need simplicity more than ever.

Belongings 2 small

Having all the basic material needs covered is super nice, I know that very well because I come from having nothing at all which is really hard. It’s wonderful to have water in your house 24 hours a day and a refrigerator and toilet paper and other luxuries that we take for granted sometimes. BUT, material things are tricky if you base your dreams on them.

Fame small

If we blame the material world for what we’re not doing then we won’t be able to go anywhere. We need to make use of our secret super powers. The real key to progress and personal growth in my opinion has nothing to do with the objects that we own but with the dreams and  ideas that we own and our desire to bring them to life.

Art and creativity are not a destination in my opinion, something that you will get at one day when the conditions are created. For the artist art should be like a vehicle, something that helps us stay alive and in motion so we can go to places, have experiences and learn new things.

Destination small

Weather you have a super duper studio or a corner in the kitchen. What really matters is to have a spacious mind filled with dreams and ideas and positive energy so can feel powerful and energized to take real steps toward progress. Let’s not forget that some of the most amazing master pieces ever created by humans were made in caves, under the hardest conditions ever and using primitive materials found in nature:

Creating the illustrations for the book in a little corner of our bedroom made me remember the old times when I had to improvise a studio everyday. It made me remember that our desire to stay alive creatively, to move forward and make thinks happen is possible under whatever conditions we have. Creating the 8 illustrations for the book was wonderful. But it was also hard, because I have lots of other important things to take care of. I was in fact going to reject this project in the first place to be honest. But I realized that there isn’t an ideal time for making our dreams come true. Life will always be hard for one reason or another. But as long as we don’t abandon our capacity to adapt and dream and act, we will always keep moving forward.

Have a wonderful day!

Elsita 🙂

 Read Post #34 Start from the beginning


  1. Hi, Elsita. I started following your blog some weeks ago, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented on any post. Your illustrations are wonderful and this text was so inspiring to me. I’ll save it to my bookmarks, really deserve to be read, re-read and shared.
    Have a nice week! =)

  2. Thank you for reminding me of things that are easy to forget. I am on my way home, to my creative corner and that’s all I want or need today. Thank you.

  3. I love this post! My kitchen table and sofa are my creative spaces.
    p.s. You are so organized!! 🙂
    Happy Monday,

  4. I was discussing renting a studio space with a friend last night and we were bemoaning the price tag behind doing so. You’re absolutely right, we get it into our heads that to have a studio space = artist. For now I need to accept that the corner of my bedroom is my studio as well.
    Thank you for the inspiring words.

  5. your studio and inspiration bank is your phenomenal mind elsita
    it will never stop making beauty
    and we will never stop loving it
    thank you so much

  6. Wow,this was another amazing post. I love the line “material things are tricky if you base your dreams on them”. We all have the ability to make art that is meaningful to ourselves, if not to the world at large.
    Also, I want to wish you a happy anniversary.

  7. Love this post and love your determination to be creative no matter what your circumstances. You are an inspiration to me.

  8. I marvel at how much I adore you, knowing you only in cyberspace. Your generosity buoys me.

  9. More amazing wisdom. Thank you!
    I recently realized, after a 9 month break from my usual creative blathering, that it a major way, for me, of bringing love into the world and i need it to be happy. I always struggle with somehow “making a living” doing “art” but it never quite works out that way so I think I need to abandon it. Turns out that is incorrect.

  10. Dear Elsa, your post today gladdens my heart.

  11. Thank you so much for your encouragement!!!!
    Have a day filled with wonders.

  12. Everything you said is so true, and well said 🙂 Always a nice reminder, when you think you don’t have such a great spot to work in. I went from kitchen table, to now the spare room, and I’m thankful that I don’t have to pack everything up everyday. Even thought the room I have now is a shared situation, with a home office and guest bed, it is so much nicer. Be happy what every you have I say! 🙂

  13. Oh Elsa, Thank you for keeping us grounded with this post. Reading your beautiful words made me wanted to cry.
    I too, used to share a cute, tine little studio with my 6 yrs old daughter. we can only fit a twin size bed and a pullout bed under (made from a door w/foam as mattress w/ wheels). My daughter told me ‘ Mommy, you have the bed because you don’t like to sleep on the floor’. Plastic bin was our table to do crafts and homework. We were happy then just to our own place. Being creative help made our tiny studio super cute as we made our home for almost 2 yrs.
    Now I have my beautiful studio and feel blessed. But I hardly ever go there because I spent most of my time cleaning the main house. I feel guilty & lost since I haven’t create anything for over a year. Thank you for reminding us what an artist is. Much love, Khanh

  14. Dear Elsita, thank you so much for this post, it comes at a very good time for me, like Cynthia Baxter, I often think I should “abandon” my creative urges in order to make a “respectable” living, but when I do I feel so lost!
    Rather than seeing the studio space in your narration, what really strikes me from it is how art has never been doubted or second guessed.
    Thank you very much for sharing and for being so inspiring! <3 ^*^

  15. Thank you so much for your words, my eyes crying but i feel illuminated by your wisdom. Thanks for remind me the special little things that I have and sometimes I didn’t realize how fortunate I am.

  16. You make me smile, always.
    For me it was crackers and peanut butter and sometimes I splurged and had cornbread and peanut butter (a real hot meal, ha!). I did have my dad’s old drafting table which was sometimes a challenge to find a space for; but I never let it go and use it still as my sculpting table.
    Now I have to get better enough to start working on some of the art I’ve been dreaming of the last few months so I can share it with you and hopefully make you smile!

  17. For many years, I also had a tiny kitchen table in a tiny apartment as a studio. There is now a bigger space but one that I also share w/ family and 2 cats! Many times, now, I draw sitting on the couch late at night after everyone has gone to sleep.
    Any space that we can enjoy to be creative is better than a day with no art, right?
    Elsa, thanks again for sharing! And you DO need to do a book on your philosophy of life and art! 🙂

  18. Another truly inspirational post… I just wanted to say that you are a beautiful soul! 🙂

  19. Elsita, YOU’RE the real deal. Thank you for your words of truth, and for bringing us down to earth.

  20. Elsita, such a wonderful post. It seems to me indeed, that although all this “stuff” can give one a feeling of security of survial, it cannot give personal confidence.
    Now I come to think of it, this is probably also a reason why I’m always so fascinated by art that isn’t there to last forever. For instance music or sand sculptures, or something made out of other fragile materials, or nature’s art. Its the road of making,finding or experiencing it.
    Wish you a long road in the best way possible!

  21. Although I have always been fortunate enough to have a space of my own in our homes, whether it was the extra bedroom or in the beginning when it was no more than a tiny space in the corner of a room, my responsibilities always had me on the go. It has taken me years, but I finally figured it all out, as you have. Although this may sound kind of out there, wherever I happen to be, I now try and envision one of those clear, plastic umbrella’s from the seventies – the kind you could see thru as you walked, over me creating my own little haven within. I picture it in my head and pretend that rather than it raining outside the umbrella, it showers creative drops INSIDE the umbrella. It is my portable, and very private, studio no matter where I am. This post, and the little peek into your creative process, is worthy of being read by every artist out there, both the established ones and those that are still waiting for the never-arriving perfect day. I enjoyed your post immensely. Carolina

  22. With my ADD/different learning mind, you explain things in such a wonderful way! Seriously, that’s some good stuff mama 🙂

  23. Thank you for your very wise words and always generous spirit. This is a good reminder to me as I move from my house of over 22 years – which has a studio-out into the unknown. I can create anywhere, even in a teeny tiny space. Yea to you Elsita!!!

  24. Totalmente de acuerdo, ni las herramientas ni el espacio hacen a un artista, pero hay herramientas que te abren mundos, por ejemplo a mi el photoshop me abrio a nuevas posibilidades creativas.
    Yo hace 5 años no tenia estudio, pintaba en una pequeña habitacion que era para planchar y poner la ropa sucia y “biblioteca” y para guardar algunos trastos y de improvisada habitacion para dormir las visitas, ahi yo tenia un rincon con una mesa estrecha, cuando tenia que pintar piezas un poco grandes invadia el suelo del salon. Cuando venia alguna visita a dormir yo no podia pintar o si pintaba metia los cuadros en un armario para que no oliera a trementina, nunca me importaron demasiado esas incomodidades, con imaginacion todo se arregla.

  25. So true! Most of my truly creative moments have come when i have been most unfettered by material things – I love the feeling for instance when you have moved to a new place, but no boxes are unpacked and no furniture in place – I almost don’t want to unpack my things,and just live on the floor in the space! – I spent 6 months living in a van moving across Europe when I was in my 20’s, and I have never felt so free, creative and alive..I don’t think I could live like that forever as I do love my comforts, and am grateful for my warm safe home with it’s memories..but it’s very important to remember the simplicity of things – particularly as life moves on and our lives get fuller and fuller..

  26. How truly inspirational. I SO needed to hear your words and thoughts. I have taken your words and advice into my heart. It is humbling to learn so much from one who is so young!

  27. This was a truly inspirational and encouraging post. I came here from another blog, where a poster, Cynthia Nicole, recommended reading this post of yours and gave the addy. I am so glad she did.

  28. querida Elsita
    cuánta belleza y sabiduría hay en tus palabras. Eres un alma fuerte. Lograste no sólo salir adelante, sino Florecer. Eres un ejemplo a seguir. En no darse por vencido y ver siempre el lado bueno de cada situación en la vida. Bendita Seas! ♥♥♥

  29. What a wonderful post. I like that the truth of your words comes from real experience of managing with less material things, not just an idea conceived in relative luxury. Your work is beautiful, and each illustration for the Fables is a wonderful work of art. Congratulations on all that you have achieved.

  30. I love your philosophy. I had saved this post to share it in my blog. I finally did today. Thanks for sharing your stories and your journey with all of us. You are such an inspiration!

  31. I love this post for so many reasons… thank you so much! As a new mom with all of my time and space squeezed into little bits, I have struggled to continue making art… but recently I have adopted your outlook and managed to fit it in… which means I have art materials all over the kitchen table and have completely stopped doing housework, but I am doing it!

  32. What a wonderful post, thank you so so much for sharing. Your right…we are artists because we create, not because we create it in a certain situation or area or room. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post.

  33. VERY VERY TRUE! Thank you for sharing,

  34. This was such an inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  35. Funny, warm, perfect & true! Some of my most creative times were holed up on a floor somewhere with a canvas or some paper on my lap (and even with a little room of my own, it’s still that way sometimes).

  36. Love your blog girl! Keep up the good work. We’ll do biz soon because I love your line of eco-goods.

  37. I’m interested in such offer,The sound quality in these podcasts is really poor. I feel bad about complaining about something that is free, but I think it is important.

  38. The items looked great but many of the shelves were already pretty bare

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