Showing posts with label artist tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artist tools. Show all posts

January 21, 2019

Reference images for paintings


I've spent the last week preparing canvases. Cutting, pasting, screwing, priming, etc. I have not decided how to tackle the actual painting part yet. Today I printed some reference photos as a point of departure, a jumping-off point to get me started. 
It is everyday things that I find most interesting. I catch a glimpse of something and imagine a whole world within it and around it. These glimpses can sometimes be very personal parts of me and my day. Mostly they evoke something greater than just color or composition, something I can't really articulate. One day I would like to publish a whole book of my reference photos and collages. 
 
dreadlocks. this color. 


cherry tomatoes from the garden



this is dough.


a dwarf maple tree in my backyard



 


food that's gone bad and ends up in the trash is both an ongoing challenge, and resource for my work.
stemming from my desire to never let anything go to waste and my guilty conscience when it does



spotted this giant ball of rope at a friend's studio



                                                          
clearly I'm obsessed


this is not a staged photo. the dirty dishes were really piled that high 


Some photos are from Instagram and Pinterest. Sorry some image credits are unknown. If I've swiped a photo from you unknowingly, thank you! and let me know so I can give you credit.



January 8, 2019

Pragmatic distances

There are two things I've learned over the years, from running my own business, working for non-profits, and painting in my studio.

  • One is, don't take things personally, and 

  • Two is, most answers to most dilemmas are found in the most practical details. It's usually staring you right in the face, though sometimes it's your own face that's in the way of seeing it, if that makes any sense.


Relating to my studio work, the practical details start with my work space. When I'm in the studio I'm having a physical relationship with my work and my environment. Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest differences and I have to laugh at myself for not realizing it sooner.

How I go about the physical act of painting is so important to my work. Like the distance between me and the canvas while I paint. I have had days where nothing was working and all of a sudden I realized I was standing too far away from the canvas. Even six inches too far made a huge difference. I'm interacting with my paintings as if I were swimming around inside them almost. So anything that disconnects me is a distraction. For example, I spent years wearing rubber gloves while I painted. In the summer I'd be sweating and have to change them every hour, in the winter they'd get stiff and tear. Without them I'm so much happier. I'm able to literally feel the paint, and that adds a great deal to my relationship with the work.

Stolen burnisher is second from the right. Second from the left is an antique wooden handle screwdriver that belonged to my grandfather.

Other practical details include the tools I use. I've grown a serious attachment to some unlikely utensils, like toothbrushes and old screw drivers. For unknown reasons, back in (I think) 1992, I stole a burnishing tool from my printmaking class. Don't ask me what I thought I was going to use it for. It's been floating around every studio I've had, at the bottom of every pile of things I never look at, all these years. Until recently. I don't know what made me finally start using it, but it scrapes off paint like nobody's business and I can honestly say it's my favorite thing right now!

Speaking of utensils, there's a giant icing spatula (aka palette knife) I've been eyeing at the fancy kitchen shop on Main Street for a while. It could seriously be the next best thing...

It's good to get older because you do get wiser after all. I'm learning a little more each day what works for me, and that tiny changes can often make huge strides.