Tidying my studio, I have been looking at my travel journals. These small books, holding quick spontaneous sketches, bring back in an instance those particular moments of “seeing” something new.
It’s been several days of studio chores: final small touches to paintings, varnishing, hardware and naming the pieces.
“Do the names come to you as you paint?” “Sometimes,” I reply – but other times I need to think;. giving the show a co-hesive quality and maintaining the fun, particularly with my Feather series.
Thanks to help from good friends, the pieces are now hung and initial reaction has been positive. Postings on this blog should now become weekly updates on studio life. Spring is quietly stirring so I turn to Flora.
The painting is finished. I’ve adjusted the smaller flowers, added some dots to the pin-cushions and tweaked other details. I’ve struggled with its name eventually opting for simplicity: Kew Proteas as it was there that I was inspired to do this. Now it can go to the exhibition which I’ll be installing on Thursday February 28th at Van Dusen botanical gardens in Vancouver BC. It’ll be coated with a layer of clear acrylic, then after two days, allowing for thorough drying, it will get a final coat of removable varnish with a UV filter, to allow for cleaning later in its life. (I must remove all traces if I decide to work on it again). Varnish feels so final – but we have had a fulfilling journey together. It’s snowing here today so I’ve photographed this in my studio, – that makes the top appear darker.
Having re-adjusted the composition, done research into protea flowers and learned their proper names, I move the almost completed painting somewhere I can see it as part of my daily life: on a phone call, or coffee break – or simply looking at it in a different light*. Now brushes are put away, palette cleaned and I resist any temptation to do anything to it for several days. It’s all too easy to lose freshness by over-working a piece at this stage. I go to work on a smaller painting. *In my student day, I found looking at it in a mirror gave me a good critical perspective for finding flaws.
I hope no-one is attempting to paint along as I make radical changes to my painting . You are welcome to try! I never really show the full canvas as some years ago I was pirated by the Chinese. It was disconcerting to view a site all in Chinese; my pieces complete with prices and shopping carts. Awful because most of the paintings on display for sale already were owned by private clients. Now I have a Google Alert on my name …
Once a painting is born there’s no way to rush it; I paint consistently, addressing problems, maintaining the rhythm. Music helps me start every session. Thinking time is my investment; especially as I underpaint in contrasting colours, meanwhile tweaking the drawing. Though I start with a clear idea, once it’s on the canvas, parts needs adjusting … and changes will continue to happen right up to the end. I rough in the underpainting, creating a chaos that challenges me to continue. Sometimes I’ve given up by now if it’s not coming alive. This painting has passed the test and I am building layers towards a finished result, covering the cannvas in colours add a subtle vibrancy.
-apologies. This post was taken down to edit errors and is simply re-posted- I’m fine with paint … not computers – Jo
Watching paint dry has me working on two or three canvases … after several months of tweaking, changes and more changes, I can say “finished” to a piece started a year ago, and varnish it to send it to my next exhibition. Now I’m gazing at shadows thrown by protea leaves, which are twisting as they dry. The protea painting is off to a strong start as it takes on a new life, already diverging from my original concept. I liken it to writing, the when characters take on a life of their own.
I hate styrofoam (see photo) but free range eggs occasionally arrive it, purposely re-cycled … it makes a great paint holder, easy to pop into a plastic bag (another hate!) – I mix on glass palette; the mini one pictured above (I have three). I try to keep my palette clean as I work but occasionally one dries “dirty”. Hand sanitiser cleans dried acrylics like magic, then that palette is well washed and put away for several days.