Showing posts with label studio habits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label studio habits. Show all posts

November 20, 2016

How To Be A Better Painter




So, this happened today. My favorite and most useful tool suddenly gave out on me. I can't even remember how many years I've had it or how many palette knives I've purchased since (that were never half as good), but it's been a constant in my painting life for... like... ever....
Blah, so much for reliability.

Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife


Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife

Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife

Anyhow, in other pragmatic news today.
Do you ever have one of those moments in the studio when you realize you're standing way too far, like three feet away from your painting wall and you're thinking why can't I see what the hell I'm doing??

How To Be A Better Painter: stand closer to the fucking canvas

September 12, 2016

Music to listen to in the art studio


Yesterday in my studio I meditated to John Coltrane's Interstellar Space... 
It was only a few minutes, but wow. If you would've told me a year ago that I'd be into this album I'd have thought you were crazy, but all of a sudden it's working for me. I find myself tangled up in the color and light of the sound, breathing in all its breaths. I open my eyes to the brightness of my room knowing exactly what I want to do with the painting on the wall.

I don't usually meditate before I start painting, and I don't usually listen to free jazz while I'm working, but I'm glad for whatever gave me the impulse.

About the album, Robert Christgau wrote in his column for The Village Voice that he was amazed by the duets, which "sound like an annoyance until you concentrate on them, at which point the interactions take on pace and shape, with metaphorical overtones that have little to do with the musical ideas being explored."

I couldn't have said it better myself! Here, take a listen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le4iF-ZAJ3g&list=PLd56fNeWVkFn6OqF_4JR86Gz5Db9MYpmP


Music has that magic ability to set a mood and tone for the day, bringing up memory and emotion, good or bad.
You can wallow and get lost in it, or it can drown everything out. Usually I spend half my day in silence and half of it with music on. There are periods when I listen to the same thing almost every day. Years ago I did a whole series of paintings to Peter Gabriel's Us. Then there are periods when I'm not satisfied with anything I listen to.

Because I'm aware of how much I'm influenced by it, lately I've been trying to be much more conscious of the music I listen to.
Last month out of frustration I spent several days in complete silence. I ended up listening to Pink Floyd's Final Cut for an entire week after that. Bitches Brew by Miles Davis is another current favorite.

When it comes down to it there is certain criteria that needs to be met. If the music I'm hearing can jolt me emotionally in one direction or other without overwhelming me, I'm in. If it echoes the same mood as the painting I'm working on, that's good too. But it can't impede on the work. If I'm paying more attention to the lyrics of the song than the colors on my canvas, that's no good. There needs to be enough space in the music that I can subconsciously float myself into. Philip Glass is really good at that. If a whole album flies by and I realize I didn't hear any of it because I was lost in my work, that's perfection!

I just realized that everyone on this list is male, so here, to balance that out, depending on the mood: Concrete Blonde, Ani DiFranco, Nina Simone, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Zap Mama, Martha Wainwright... okay well, that more than balances it out!

Happy listening.






February 12, 2016

Artist's Daily Rituals

Here's a great book for artists I recently read that I must share with you,
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, edited and with text by Mason Currey.

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
It presents detailed descriptions of the daily routines of 161 artists, mostly in their own words. It includes artists of every genre throughout history including writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists.

I am so fascinated by books like this. I love to hear how other artists spend their days in and out of the studio. With all the vagaries of artist temperaments, and all the disparate ways of getting things done, what amazes me is that in the end I think we are all exactly the same, all fighting with ourselves over one thing or another, and for the same end purpose: creating. So many quirks and peculiar habits: charts and time clocks to track the time, pots of coffee and chocolate and opium and whiskey to keep us up when we should be down and down when we should be up. Rising at 3am or at noon or not sleeping at all, working in pajamas or while lying in bed or at the kitchen table. All leading up to the most important aspect of our lives, the work. I think most artists agree that inspiration is either non-existent or so constant we don't think of it as inspiration at all. The key is getting to work, whether we feel inclined at the moment or not. I love reading about an artist who lived two hundred years ago who went about his day similarly to the way I go about my day. Not to get too overly sentimental (if it's not too late), but I think it's important for artists to feel this connection, like we're continuing something important, something we can't help to begin with.

Willem de Kooning
photo of Willem de Kooning
I was thinking the other day that I can't remember an article I've read about contemporary painting in maybe the last five years that did not mention de Kooning at least 4 times. I wonder how he would feel about that. I used to imagine de Kooning's work ethic the epitome of what an artist's life should look like. Like being in your art studio 12 hours a day seven days a week was the only way to be a real artist. The man never stopped working. After years of struggling with that notion I've finally accepted my own way of doing things, which needless to say is a far cry from someone like Willem de Kooning.


Willem de Kooning
Woman Landscape XII, Willem de Kooning

Everyone needs to find their own way, so if four hours in the studio gets me to the best work I can make, so be it. 

Books like Daily Rituals confirm all my ideas about being an artist. It's wonderfully encouraging to see how other artists have been dealing with all the same issues but in so many different ways for so long...

for like ever.



November 14, 2014

scenes from my art studio, November 14th


I have had a renewed determination lately to get as much work done as humanly possible. It all started with an amazing and inspiring talk at the Garrison Art Center by artist Judy Pfaff (who I'll write more on later as she is my absolute new favorite artist). It also coincided with what I thought would be an open studio event at my studio building last week, which by the way, didn't even know had a name: "KUBE". Although it turned out to be free chips and red wine for someone else's opening, I ended up with an organized and raring to go studio space, which is always a much needed good thing.

here's my space last week just about ready for company

This morning I started my day looking around and thinking,
"I don't know what the hell I'm doing but I sure am doing a hell of a lot of it".

studio view this morning November 14th, 2014

sculpture pieces

It's been an interesting week. Monday I met my studio neighbor for the first time and another painter down the hall. Tuesday I brought my daughter to work with me. Wednesday I went and bought some new painting tools to play with and a space heater to keep me from freezing. Guess whose landlord decided to turn the heat on as soon as I plugged it in?

space heater
painting tools

my new favorite toy
Thursday I ended up cleaning all my brushes before I went home. I also may have had a great moment of clarity (which doesn't happen often by the way), so much that I changed my plans for Friday so I could spend another day working.

dirty paint brushes


I now have 6 paintings I am working on simultaneously, the source of which is all the same two globs I've had tacked to my wall for years.

meet my muse: the mark on the right and his dialogue


















After all of this and due to all of it, the end of the day, and week, appeared much more promising than the start of it.

the two pieces I worked on today
this one might actually be finished
this one definitely isn't






September 18, 2014

art studio activity

this was my studio at 10 am this morning. lots of activity going on. all very new works in progress.

studio view




this series of small paintings each measure 16X20"
remember those drawings I did of the ocean?!

oil paintings 
I'm still having fun with my spray foam and have been going back and forth between the painting and the sculpture. new this week are the braids.
braided sculpture 

I'm also trying out different metallic paints on them. it just occurred to me this is my spray foam ball and chain!

Samantha Palmeri spray foam sculpture 2014
oil paint and metallic pigment

and here's the studio at the end of the day. a little cleaner and with three new canvases on the left just barely started.

studio view










March 28, 2014

40 Inspiring Workspaces

Once again I'm scrounging around for better ideas on reorganizing my work space, but once again I find that there are no easy answers. There are as many ways to set up your space as there are ways to make a painting. I just wish sometimes that I could get by like E.B White with nothing but a desk and a typewriter...

I am sharing this blog post by Summer Anne Burton straight from BuzzFeed

40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative

From tiny writing desks to giant painting studios, the only thing all of these creative studios have in common is that they inspired their successful inhabitants to create greatness.posted on 


1. Mark Twain, author and humorist.

2. Georgia O’Keefe, painter.

Georgia O'Keefe, painter.

3. E.B. White, writer.

E.B. White, writer.

4. Alexander Calder, sculptor.

Alexander Calder, sculptor.

5. Roald Dahl, children’s author.

Roald Dahl, children's author.

6. Nikki McClure, illustrator.

Nikki McClure, illustrator.

7. Martin Amis, novelist.

Martin Amis, novelist.

8. Adrian Tomine, graphic novelist.

Adrian Tomine, graphic novelist.

9. Virginia Woolf, novelist.

Virginia Woolf, novelist.

10. Willem de Kooning, artist.

Willem de Kooning, artist.

11. Chip Kidd, book cover designer.

Chip Kidd, book cover designer.

12. Amanda Hesser, food writer.

Amanda Hesser, food writer.

13. Ray Eames, designer and artist.

Ray Eames, designer and artist.

14. Joan Miró, artist.

Joan Miró, artist.

15. Nigella Lawson, food writer.

Nigella Lawson, food writer.

16. Marc Johns, illustrator.

Marc Johns, illustrator.

17. Susan Sontag, writer and filmmaker.

Susan Sontag, writer and filmmaker.

18. Pablo Picasso, artist.

Pablo Picasso, artist.

19. John Lennon & Yoko Ono, songwriters and artists.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, songwriters and artists.

20. Marc Chagall, painter.

Marc Chagall, painter.

21. John Updike, writer.

John Updike, writer.

22. Paul Cézanne, painter.

Paul Cézanne, painter.

23. Colm Tóibín, writer.

Colm Tóibín, writer.

24. David Hockney, painter.

David Hockney, painter.

25. William Buckley, author and commentator.

William Buckley, author and commentator.

26. Charlotte Bronte, novelist and poet.

Charlotte Bronte, novelist and poet.

27. Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer.

Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer.

28. Yoshitomo Nara, artist.

Yoshitomo Nara, artist.

29. Will Self, writer.

Will Self, writer.

30. Francis Bacon, painter.

Francis Bacon, painter.

31. Anne Sexton, poet.

Anne Sexton, poet.

32. Orla Kiely, fashion designer.

Orla Kiely, fashion designer.

33. Jane Austen, novelist.

Jane Austen, novelist.

34. Lisa Congdon, illustrator.

Lisa Congdon, illustrator.

35. Susan Orlean, journalist.

Susan Orlean, journalist.

36. Rudyard Kipling, author.

Rudyard Kipling, author.

37. Jackson Pollock, painter.

Jackson Pollock, painter.

38. Ruth Reichl, food writer.

Ruth Reichl, food writer.

39. George Bernard Shaw, playwright.

George Bernard Shaw, playwright.

40. Mark Rothko, painter.

Mark Rothko, painter.