2017 In-Studio Artist Residency Day 6: Painting Pep-Talk

So after I created my blog post for yesterday, I did go ahead and I gessoed four small canvases. The saying about momentum is true, because once I started out doing that, I looked around the studio to see what else I could gesso without being too committed to the perfection of the outcome.

I gessoed a 16″x20″ canvas with black gesso.

While the gesso was still wet, I took the opposite end of my brush and, instead of painting, started inscribing into the surface of the perfectly smooth wet gesso. I wasn’t entirely sure of everything I wrote, as I was trying my best to just “do” and not “think” — since thinking too much lately has resulted in art block and fear.

Once the gesso dried, I could make out some of the words of the pep-talk that I was giving myself about painting. This was my proverbial kick in the pants to get moving on painting again and again.

Some of these pep-talk motivational kickisms are:

  • An artist makes art.
  • Don’t think. Just Paint!
  • You have to start somewhere. Start here. Start now.
  • Time does not wait.
  • The art isn’t going to make itself (my favorite).
  • Make your first mark.
  • You can do it! (sorry Nike)
  • What happens in the studio shouldn’t just stay in the studio.
  • Get in the studio and get back to work!
  • Make it happen!
  • If you didn’t fail, you didn’t try.
  • A blank canvas is just the beginning of the magic ahead.
  • Art is a verb.

After the gesso was dry, then I painted over and wiped off the paint, leaving a sort of chalkboard feel to the piece. It wasn’t something I was going to exhibit publicly, but it will be put in a prominent place in my studio to remind me that even on the the harshet days, the art isn’t going to make itself.