What am I working on now? Totally re-assessing my art practice to find a process that is deliriously happy to be confined to the studio.
Why? It’s winter, wet and cold, which doesn’t make painting outdoors much fun. (Heck, I’m hypothyroid, I am always feeling cold.) Actually that’s just an excuse. What’s really going on is that the last time I painted in the industrial area – I was spooked by strangers and didn’t feel safe. It played on my mind and procrastination set in. I couldn’t go back because I didn’t know how to fix it. I stopped painting for a while.
Once I accepted that I’m not going to get over it, I began seriously playing around with other ideas – all confined to the studio – looking for the entry to a new rabbit hole. So far it has been grey days and indecision. If I don’t paint, I have no work to sell and that means I have no income. That kind of pressure makes it even harder to tempt the muse.
It can’t be forced, so to keep working, I set and tackled a series of short projects:
- built a new self-hosted website so I didn’t have to pay the Square Space bill (done! this is it)
- found new sketching software and learned to use it (Autodesk Sketchbook, lots of fun)
- explored the use of digital thumbnails to experiment with colour variations. Made heaps of them. It might save a step or two in the painting process and reduce the number of colour studies to something more reasonable
- learned a new way to think about, and work with, my beloved greys – instead of buying them from Williamsburg paints or making my own (& tediously storing them in tubes or syringes) I decided to test all the blacks and whites I could find until I hit a pair that would mix neutral out of the tube (most of them are a bit blue or green or something). Success. Art Spectrum Transparent Black and Williamsburg Flake White. So simple. And I have enough on hand for plenty of work.
- made test panels to find the best adhesive for canvas or linen on aluminium composite – it needs to be firmly adhered, but reversible and archivally sound
- made storyboards for an animation. Very exciting, but it will have to wait until I can upgrade my Wacom from tablet to a Cintiq (which won’t happen until I make and sell some paintings). I am not making up to 1800 drawings per minute of animation without making it an immersive experience for me too.
- ditched my journal software when it wouldn’t play nice with Windows 10 and I wanted to avoid buying the upgrade. Instead, I rescued a decade of entries and put them all in OneNote. It’s working well. Skimming over all those daily pages was an interesting exercise. Cringed a lot. Laughed a bit. Realised how nothing much changes.
- that prompted me to drag out all my old sketchbooks too and discovered that, yes, there are veins of gold in those too
I think I’m on to something, but it needs some work
- Up early to write 1k of journal words before tending the animals – this is a rural home – there are a lot of critters needing fresh bedding and breakfast
- To the studio until late afternoon – to doggedly persist with the experiments – usually accompanied by the dog and several cats.
- Gardening for an hour or so until the lack of light makes it impossible to continue. (That’s my idea of exercise.)
- Chores and family care
- The evening is spent reading, drawing and keeping up with social media