Tag Archives: paintings

Timeout for Art: Studio Time

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Though I’ve stuck to my commitment of doing a sketch a day, the results are less than stellar. One night, in pajamas and in bed with my sketch pad and Miss Rosa Parks, I decided to use the little dog as subject matter. Rosa doesn’t sit well for photographs and, it turns out, she’s not much of an artist’s model, either. I had only her little nostrils drawn when she moved away. I started again, and had the perfect outline of one ear when she moved again. I got one line tracing her back from shoulders to tail when she flopped on her side. I set it aside and went to sleep. The next day, I used the same page for a sketch of my dinner napkin. On other days, it was my water glass, an edge of blanket or the corner of a room. Nothing much, and nothing finished.

I did manage a few hours in my studio this week. I now have twenty-eight small collage-paintings underway. I’ve been working on them in groups of four; each set has similarities in color and collage elements. My goal is that, when finished, each painting would stand on its own, but that they would also look good all displayed together. I don’t want it to look like a bunch of “sets of four,” but like a cohesive group of twenty-eight or maybe a hundred, if I get that far.

To pull them together, I mixed them up and arranged them on the floor. Then I chose a procedure, a color, and other factors to merge the disparate pieces. First, I used the wrong end of a paint brush to make tiny dots in a meandering line with copper-colored iridescent paint. Forty dots, with the line starting on one piece and finishing on the next. Not every painting got this treatment, but maybe six pairs did. Then I rearranged the paintings. Next, a tiny brush to make little teardrop shapes in large arcs of deep blue. Again, the pattern went from one piece to the next. Then rearrange. I continued this way through several procedures, sometimes a bold dotted line in a subtle color, other times a bright color with a more timid mark.

I want the paintings to share characteristics, but not to shout it. Even if these little details go unnoticed, they should serve to make the pieces  relate to each other when displayed together. I have a long way to go before these are finished…but I like the way they’re coming along.

Zoom!

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Today is an overcast, drizzly day here on Beaver Island.

This is exactly what I need!

I’ve been putting  many hours into getting my garden ready for Spring. My hands are dry and wrinkled from spending so much time in the soil. My joints are achy and my back is complaining, too, from shoveling dirt, forking compost and moving rocks.

There is progress. I have given away raspberry plants and strawberry plants that were taking over pathways. I thinned poppy beds and iris beds, and sent the extras home with happy visitors. Day-lilies left with everyone who would take them.

I have staked out my central flower bed, and am working my way down the row.

I first dig out the soil, to a depth of about twelve inches. I sift the weeds out as I’m digging, and have a bucket standing by for them. The next step is to rake the surface smooth, then roll out the weed shield and cover that with a thin layer of soil mixed with compost. Now I’m ready to move some plants. I dig up a clump of day-lilies, pull all grasses and weeds away, separate the plants, then settle arrange them randomly in the new bed. I want them to have distance between them so that they have room to grow, and enough nourishment to make the move without trauma. I do not want them to look  like I’ve placed them in regular rows. I want the tallest specimens mainly down the center of the bed, and the shorter  varieties nearer the stone border. I  cover them over with the rest of the dirt that I dug out, and border that section with rocks.Image

It’s coming along, but is still  only about one-third of the way done. This new bed runs right through space that last year had a 4’x5′ strawberry bed and – at the very front – a peony bed. Before I called it a day yesterday, I finished digging up the rest of the strawberry plants that were in my way. They seem fine, this morning, in their temporary home: a tub lined with soil and stored under the picnic table, out of the sun.Image

Today! Today, with the dampness outside, I will concentrate inside.

There is the usual, of course: rugs to vacuum, floors to sweep and sinks to clean. Every single horizontal surface in the house needs to be cleared of what doesn’t belong on it. Laundry to be done, houseplants to water.

In my studio, should I find time to spend there, I have twenty metal frames to assemble and fill with twenty sheets of plexiglass and twenty finished collages. I have four small paintings to frame and three others to order frames for. I have two large paintings underway and a dozen collages in various stages of completion. The studio could use a good cleaning, too!

I have committed to teaching an after-school art class to high-school students through five weeks in May. Today I need to complete that class plan to turn in to the program director here, and a materials list to send  to the Arts Council for dispensation.

Tomorrow I’ll be back at my regular job, so today I want to make a pot of soup so that I’ll have it to pack for my lunches, or to warm up for dinner if I don’t feel like cooking. As long as it’s drizzly, as long as I’m going to have soup bubbling on the stove, I’d might as well make bread, too! That sounds like it will warm the house up,  doesn’t it?