Sweater Weather and Patterns in the Paint.
With the deepening of autumn, the grey skies and crisp cold air, the last of the leaves falling, I feel a kind of melancholy. I relish the quiet mornings in my studio, with the window open just a bit to hear the wind and feel the cool. And the rain, has there ever been rain. But the studio feels comforting, contained.
I love sweater weather and the feeling of not needing to be anywhere else.
As I’ve been exploring what I thought were, for me, new subjects of painting, I realize that, in a sense, I’ve been interested in them all along. It is strange the way we circle back to things, stumble upon them in new ways. In my new artwork, I suddenly see these connections that I never saw before, never even anticipated. Have you ever had that experience with your art? It seems to reveal the complex ways that our experiences and interests, even things we saw and heard, get filtered into our painting or art-making practices.
Painting Updates from my Studio
These past several weeks I’ve been working on an exciting (at least to me!) new series of large-scale paintings.
This series was inspired by the mixed media collages that I’ve been making since last winter. Formally, I’m interested in the knitting together of a surface, in how there can be interruptions without it becoming totally fragmented. I’m also playing with space and subtle spatial shifts in these paintings.
But perhaps I’m even more interested in the way of working, the process of painting, that is emerging from this new approach. I noticed that when I do the collages, I don’t have much of an initial plan. Generally, I start with a big move, like a large area of color, and then I respond. I build up the surface with layers, ‘erasing’ (covering over) when necessary.
I wanted to translate the essence of this process into painting. Of course it is different and presents technical challenges. Building up layers means that the paint has to dry past. Practically, this means using acrylic paint or mixing a drier into my oil paint. Formally, it involves paying attention to edges and working from the general to the specific.
Pleasures & Discoveries
My latest discovery: cobalt drier. You add a few drops of this liquid to your oil paint and it speeds the drying time remarkably. I’ve been mixing it into my white paint, which is really slow drying. That way it gets into my other mixes with white. Just be careful to keep it in a safe place since it’s poisonous.
Other pleasures of the studio have been flipping through the many fabulous art books I borrowed from the library, and listening to some great murder mystery adventure stories, most recently Agatha’s Christie’s The Secret Adversary and Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay. Let me know if you have any to suggest!
Hope you are enjoying your practice and making time for art!
All the best,