Some days I feel unproductive, then…

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Whenever time stalls, due to lack of good light, being out of something, just being at a stopping point for the day, or having to wait for the next fleeting idea, I’m reminded of a line from “Thumb Wars.” “Waiting to be killed, waiting to be killed…” That’s how it feels to have work that’s not finished yet!

With so much going on this year, it’s easy to start to feel like I’m not being productive enough. Then I put a few pieces on my table that are nearly done for that day and I see that I have in fact been pretty productive. Some artists work in spurts; they get an idea and paint madly for awhile, then need a break. If pieces are small, it can feel like it’s not going to cover much wall space, but a few big pieces make up for it.

Working spontaneously and not over thinking things is really important to the way I work. Thoughts of being unproductive, or forcing myself to work on something, just don’t result in more, or better, work. Often, such forced sessions end with me gessoing over the day’s work! The energy that makes me like how a piece is going can’t be forced. If it’s going to work out I generally know it pretty soon into the piece. I will only give it another chance if there’s significant investment in it, or still has some part I do like. Later, a flash of insight may come to me. Or maybe later I’ll get a better idea for the one that got gessoed over, and redo it better.

I marvel at artists who plan everything and then carry it out exactly. While I can work from a plan somewhat, it takes me longer, and I have to let it take on a life of its own if it seems to want to. I draw a lot, and sometimes translating a sketch to a painting makes me feel I lost some of the spontaneity that made me like the drawing. In that case it’s important not to go too closely by the sketch, but to let the painting come into its own. It’s rare I actually transfer a sketch directly onto a canvas, though sometimes I will if it’s really important to keep it from escaping the bounds of the canvas, as I have a tendency to make things get too big and go off the edge more than I wanted.

How do you work? Do you just dig in, or do you plan, or some combination? Some method that isn’t covered by those two generalities?

Painting Bigger Today; Countryside Magazine

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Mostly finished a large palette knife painting today on the patio. Beautiful weather for it! The light was fading, and our birds were wanting to come back in, so I packed it up for the day at about this point. After I got in, the birds came out to play for awhile. After they went to bed, I added a few more strokes to the painting. It may be done now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.

The painting is “Swear Jar,” acrylic, 36 x 48 inches, on deep edged canvas. It will probably be in  Olney Gallery in September, (price as yet to be determined). It’s based on a quick drawing I did in a sketchbook some time ago. Whenever I’ve heard that expression, I thought of an angry monster in the jar trying to get out.

Last week, I finished, (or at least mostly finished), all the miniatures on wood scraps, and haven’t decided where they will be shown yet. Some will probably be at Olney, and some with {9} The Gallery when I do the show slated for October, that will focus on animals, especially since deciding to no longer eat them.

And, though I don’t have my issue yet, I’ve seen photos proving it, and the author, Jerri L. Cook, has confirmed it, Jenny Garcia and I were featured in Countryside Magazine for I think the June issue! Jenny made the art doll of my long passed away hen, Fergie. Her life-like chicken dolls are amazing. I’d followed her on Facebook for months and last year finally had her make one for me. I’ll post more about it when my issue arrives. Jenny’s site is Pet Chicken Ranch

After years of blogging here the ‘add link’ feature finally seems to allow me to title links instead of just posting the URL. So I hope that works for viewers. Looks nicer!

Today in the Studio

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An unfinished sculpture for a fall show watches over the work table. Today I’m cutting out old drawings from my sketchbooks, and words from newspaper and magazine headlines as captions, to collage onto lumberyard scraps. These small pieces will also be available at fall shows. A completed one sits among them.

I keep a large drawer of collage materials, and go through phases of what look they have. Making several at a time they tend to be in series of similar themes. I like to use acrylic gel as an adhesive. The wood blocks are sealed with Golden Paint Co’s GAC 100, an acrylic made for the purpose of sealing wood and other materials, before I add anything. (GAC 100 is also a great all-purpose acrylic medium.) Sometimes the wood grain and knots, etc, will show, other times they’re painted over and then roughed up a bit so wood peeks thru here and there. I like crackle effects so those are frequently part of the overall finish. Once all the artwork is dry, I seal them again. These are a good use of scraps, both wood and sketchbook kinds, that might otherwise end up in the trash!

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Only two left, numbers 4 and 8! $45 each at {9} The Gallery on Grand in Phoenix!

There are still two similar miniature pieces available at {9} The Gallery, 1229 Grand Ave, Phoenix, AZ, out of the 9 cube shaped pieces I had there. I’ll be showing at 9 again this year, details to come when they are known!