Artist Residency Day 3

IMG_0948Today was the first day of my artist residency of being fully in the studio without any interruptions — on the first day I had to run a program until noon, and then yesterday was an outdoor festival in which I had my art booth and painted live on site (read Day 2 post). So when I woke up this morning, I was beaming with excitement at the productive art-work day ahead!

After completing my morning tea, I neatened my studio and prepared for the photographer to come to my studio. I had made an appointment for a photo session for her to take photos of my studio of me painting-in-action.  I had realized that I can take all the best photos in the world of my own paintings, but I’m usually not in them. It struck me that this artist residency week would be the perfect time to check that goal off my task list. After clearing off spaces and shoving random un-photographic things into cupboards with closing doors, I was ready.

If you haven’t gotten yourself intentionally photographed while in the middle of doing something you love, give it a try sometime. It made me feel both self-conscious and like a movie-star at the same time. I couldn’t be happier with my photographer, Tiffany Axtmann Photography — she not only snapped well-lit and expertly composed photos, but she went above and beyond the important details, like letting me know that I needed to shift my body posture, or if a hair was out of place. I gave her the freedom to objects and furniture around things in my studio in order to get the best shots possible, and she took command of the session in a way that enabled me to be confident in my poses, smiles, and painting. I can’t wait to see how the photos turned out! (Don’t worry, you’ll get to see them on my Facebook Page once they’re ready and throughout my website as I update the images on my website.

IMG_0953Since I had just finished getting photographed, I thought it was only appropriate that I put my inventory of paintings through the same rigmarole. It’s been my goal (for awhile now) to take new photographs of my paintings to update my website — so I decided to carpe the diem and got out my camera. I hung a white curtain as a backdrop over a wire grid wall that I used for hanging finished works for display, and rotated the whole configuration so that it would face the two windows with the most diffused sunlight pouring in. This process of bringing all my paintings out of their shelves and portfolios felt akin to cleaning my room eons ago — where I found find paintings that I had forgotten were at the back of the shelves or the bottom of a forgotten portfolio. Rediscovering some of these past paintings brought back memories. Photographed all my paintings today — CHECK!

During the portrait photo session, completed a decent portion of the yellow-green painting that I had worked on while at the Hunts Mills Festival (see progress here), adding in light blues and grays into the upper quarter of the canvas. After taking a short break for lunch (and having to drop off my husband’s car at the mechanic for an oil change), I began the next phase of this painting — the part where I lose creative control of the outcome.

The “abstracted rain” series that I’m working on (see here,  here, and here for the process) involves painting daubs of oil paint all over the canvas, and then smearing the colors down the canvas with stand oil — and to a certain extent, the stand oil does what it wants. After I use a bristle brush to apply strong pressure to the canvas while dragging it and the stand oil down the canvas, I took a fan brush and lightly feather the “drips” up and down the canvas, to soften the edges, encourage other colors to blend that weren’t blending, and to ensure that the background canvas isn’t left exposed from a “hole” in the drips.

A few hours later, I was relatively pleased with the direction, viscosity and volume of the drip effect — now to leave it overnight and see how much further it migrates during the nighttime.


In this process photo, the left half of the painting has beens smeared with a combination of palette knife and fan brush. On the right side are the drips just from the initial application of stand oil.

To continue being productive but also dedicating time to the studio, in the evening after dinner (and sneaking in a quick episode of Bob Ross’s “The Joy of Painting” on Netflix), my goal was to re-organize all my art and design digital file folders on my computer and make a backup. As a graphic designer, as well as a painter, I have backlogs of multiples of images files and digital folders that have experienced entropic decay since at least 2009. I took the next 4-5 hours to re-file, delete, and back-up all my art/design business digital files into a system that will now be much more efficient. This is especially good to have a new digital home for photos of the new paintings to have a place to live once I finish processing those images.

Then, it was late, and I realized that I need to get enough sleep in order to have energy to have as productive a day tomorrow as it had been today!