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Finding freedom in simplicity


As part of our declutter journey, I have watched a TED talk on the “Paradox of choice” by Barry Schwartz yesterday. Schwartz pointed out that having too many options can lead to a sense of paralysis and a decline in satisfaction: It can be so overwhelming to make a decision that we end up making no decision at all - or are forever wondering whether we have made the best decision given all the available options... (I can relate to both scenarios.)

Apparently, an average American home contains 30,000 items – I was initially convinced that we have far less items in our UK home, but as we continue to declutter, I am no longer sure that we do not meet the US average.

It all adds up... Even after an initial purge of my studio last week, I still own over 30 brushes (and I generally prefer to use my hands and found objects for mark-making). There are also collections of pens, pencils, rubbers, stencils, rulers, papers, paints, collage materials, canvases, frames... You get the picture.

All my art material is currently spread over 2 rooms. My aim is to have all I need in my art studio by the time the Creative Visionary Program starts at the end of February.

In preparation for the "bootcamp", I am listening to Nicholas Wilton’s free workshops on creative principles again. The first one on design was released on Monday and one on value yesterday, but there is still time to catch up. Each workshop is less than 30 minutes. Simply click here to register. (Sessions on creating amazing colour harmonies and igniting your art are still to be released.)

What I am taking away from the workshops so far is what I am also learning on my declutter journey: There is freedom in simplicity.


Good design starts with clarity of purpose. I need to know what I want my viewers to notice and then use my composition and shape and value differences to take my viewers on a journey. If I highlight every element, nothing will stand out.

Simple does not mean easy of course. Just like decluttering, creating exciting art takes practice and perseverance...


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