I’ve been getting in gear lately. New small paintings are unfolding in my home studio and ideas are overflowing out of my head. There’s been something captivating about animals and body language lately. Emotion written on a non-human face.
The easiest time to work is in the morning and early afternoon. The skylights in the house let tons of natural light in, regardless if it’s sunny or hailing. If I wait too long into the afternoon or evening, demotivation strikes. The internets call. I engage in a great deal of productive procrastination. Suddenly, I’ll remember to scrub my toilet or do the laundry. Funny how I keep myself from my best escape.
When I sit down to paint, the world goes away for a couple of hours.
In “art school” I learned to replicate colors exactly, and I’ve become, as they say, slightly obsessed. Even my teachers were concerned for my mental stability. I would make rows and rows of perfect colors, but then forget where they were all supposed to go.
I’ve been an escapist all my life. Once upon a time, books made the day go away. Now painting consumes me in the same way. It’s like the surface of the painting sucks me in, I’ll spend two hours with my face 7 inches from a canvas and not notice the time go by. These small paintings are odd, though. Instead of being absorbed for hours, I work on something for 30 minutes and I’m done with that piece for the day. Since I work in oil, it takes from a day to a week for the surface to dry. Some days I layer wet on wet on wet, and sometimes I scumble and rub over a dry surface.
I always got away with imperfection in my work. “It’s only the underpainting!” I would cry at any small criticism. I am a work in progress. The only time I’m ever really done with a painting is when it’s sold and gone. Not even, though. There was that one time I edited James’ commission in his livingroom 6 months after I delivered it. So these works are always new, always possible, forever fresh. One of the innumerable joys of oil painting (aside from the fumes, obviously) is scraping off one surface and slapping it back on. Covering old mistakes and making new ones.I’m even pondering reworking a few large pieces for a bomb show in San Francisco. Or all new work.
Who is to say? Who knows what will come out of this studio one day?