Art with Cause

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Thoughts on the creative process - of a painter

Remember all those canvases from my last blog???  Well, the holidays are officially over and it is time to get to work! (especially since the beginning of this week was still TOO cold to use the sewing machines to finish up those projects - since I had to put a space heater on the same circuit to keep the pipes from freezing)

It has admittedly been way too long since I painted.  I have been working on a few printmaking type paintings over the last few years and lots of drawings - different process and different preparations.

But it has to be like riding a bike!
So I have all those canvases - step one will be to gesso and prepare the surface to the texture I prefer.... ok... but I have no gesso! Monday night I go online and compare prices and end up with my favorite online retailer of art supplies:  Best price for the total purchase.  Total purchase? I know - I couldn't buy only gesso...  just like the meme that goes something like this:
women with a full closet have nothing to wear and artists have a studio full of supplies and nothing to paint with!
So, while I was there I purchased a few colors I was out of. And it will all arrive on Thursday! Wonderful - I will ship it to my day job so that nothing happens to it!
So I start a baby blanket for a lil guy due in May. A nice little break from sewing and stuff - watch a movie or two.  Even cleaned the house - and no one was coming over!
Cut out a few more sewing projects as well.

Then, Thursday comes and my shipment does not arrive! So I log into my emails where the confirmation email does say Saturday delivery!! I swear at check out it said Thursday! That is why I sent it to work! OH - I NEED GESSO!!!!! and the office is closed on Saturdays! 

Meanwhile..... Didn't I used to crochet faster?? I know I said the same thing about sewing (over the holidays). I guess I always remember things taking less time than they do!
I have double the number of rows done since the first picture - and a deep fear that I did NOT buy enough yarn!

Unfortunately, all of this supply hunting, buying, waiting, and doing other projects in the meanwhile is all very much a part of the process of being a painter. Back in the classical period procuring supplies could take years so I guess this isn't too bad (see, I am still working on being positive about things - altho I have lost all hope of being positive about the postal service in Germany as my sister still hasn't received her Christmas gift).

I went with studio-grade for two reasons:  1. price  2. quality - most studio grade (student grade) products from reputable companies are very similar to professional and museum grade they just keep the prices down for students.  Blick's Studio Gesso is a bit chalkier in final texture it is not ideal for classical style oils (who does that anymore, so who would notice?) Since I use mixed mediums and my paintings always have surface texture, it is good for me.  I tint it with Grumbacher's Academy Acrylic Burnt Sienna. These are inexpensive cotton canvases so they will require a few layers of gesso and lots of sanding in between. I forgot how much preparation goes into painting.
While talking about supplies - I am planning to use the Grumbacher Academy Acrylic for the base colors of these painting.  Although not the least expensive of the student grade paints - I used these when teaching painting classes for Grumbacher (at their request) and fell in love with them.  (I used to be a HUGE Golden's fan - until somewhere in the mid-1990's everyone else discovered them and the prices went up!) The colors are true and when blended they behave as expected - can I ask for more from the paint I will be using as the base??
Also - some of you who are familiar with my art and colors might notice - I have not laid out any of the cadmiums!  That is right, folks - I am planning on changing up my usual color pallet to something a little cooler.  We will see how that works out for me.

Ya see - I notice while priming these: these are MUCH small than usual, this is taking a lot longer than I thought it would and now I am worried I bit off more than I can chew. I look at my sketches and I think I might have to simplify my ideas to fit on these tiny canvases and I might need to incorporate subject matter that I find easy to paint and takes me less time - in order to meet my deadline.  I can't say I am happy about it.

As I always say - painting is a conversation between the paint and the canvas that the artist has the pleasure of witnessing.  Sometimes the conversation goes a different way than you had hoped when you introduce a new color to the canvas - but it is their conversation, not yours. So sometimes you don't end up with the final product that you had expected. - This also seems to be true about finished paintings and deadlines! giggles
This might have turned into more of an art lesson than you had hoped to read - but let me be honest about this creative process...
as a painter, a huge amount of time is waiting for paint to dry 
and what does one do while waiting?  Laundry, make food, do yoga, wash your hair and put in temporary purple color and pull your hair up into space-buns, drink, sand the dry canvases and apply another coat of paint, fold clothes, play fetch with the dog, lay/sit on the floor taking selfies, and updating your blog and instagram (not an all-inclusive list).

I could sew - but I am using the space-heater to dry the canvases faster! (as if you couldn't tell, by me being in a tank top in my studio!) Maybe I will work on that baby blanket or take a bath!

Until next time, my happy readers, please try to do something creative every day! - jj

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