Day 12: My Golden Apple Art Residency (Thursday #2)

Today was a really productive day, with no outings, just me working away in the studio…

This morning I got up at a decent time and made it down to the studio for breakfast by 9:15. I finished up editing my blog post from yesterday and added photos to the post. This took a little more time than usual because I had such a sheer amount of photos of the wolves from yesterday’s visit to the preserve. By lunchtime, I was ready to get started on painting. During lunch a little debate was started about whether or not an artist and their work are indistinguishable — are the artist and the art both the same thing? Is the artist really the art? I weighed in with thoughts on the topic, and each of the participating artists weighed in with theirs, as several artists decided to respectfully disagree with one another on the topic, which could effectively be argued for hours. Since today was our second to last full working day here at the studio, we each needed to take the time away from debate and instead focus it on putting it into our paintings.

After lunch, I immediately got to work putting paint on the three oblong canvases all stacked on one easel. I put my reference photo on, and got right to work putting on colors according to the various shades of the sunset. I put on some good tunes in my headphones, and just kept chugging along. Occasionally I would stop to take a photo of my process and post it to my Instagram story, or stop to take a brief walk outside. It was rainy in the morning, but the sky cleared up later in the afternoon and the heat finally broke. I could finally open the window to my studio for the first time in days because the humidity was finally at lower tolerable levels. I think the cooler weather actually invigorated my habits in the studio today.

I worked on the paintings and finally covered all of the spaces on all three canvases with thick daubs of paint in the various colors of the different phases of sunrise. I finished putting my last pointillism brush stroke on the canvas just as it was time for us to go for dinner.

Dinner tonight was a delicious broccoli, ham, and cheese quiche, with a side of risoto, warm biscuits and salad. Our dinner conversation covered farmhouses, historic homes, homeownership, Instagram, and our 2-5 year goals for our art and life. It was really neat to hear each person’s vision for their art’s future, with very different goals for very different stages of where each artist is in their journey. For dessert, we enjoyed warm double fudge brownies with vanilla ice cream on top, the perfect combination.

When I returned to my studio after dinner, I found another few bugs stuck in the blue painting — three (3!) bugs were stuck in the blue painting (painting #5). I’m not really sure why, but it seems like the past several days, insects seem to like to get stuck in my paintings while I’m away at dinner. I’m not sure why that timing seems to be ideal to them, but it’s been 2-3 nights in a row of finding bugs stuck in my painting only after dinner. I’ve been in my studio all day and when I’m in my studio I frequently look at and check my paintings while they are drying, and especially since several of them are up on the big wall directly in front of my desk and main easel.

I excused myself from dinner just as we were talking about our collective productivity during the residency (“…speaking of productivity, I really do need to finish up my painting). I went down to the studio, and prepared my process for doing the rainy smearing procedure, getting a stack of paper towels ready and topping off the Gamsol in in brush cleaning jars. One of the most important aspects of my process, when I am doing the smearing of the paint dots, is to clean my paintbrush very, very thoroughly between “smears,” because if I don’t, then the wrong color could end up messing up the top for the painting, throwing off the composition.

I smeared the top painting, first, then the bottom painting, then the middle painting. I had actually intended to smear the middle painting second and leave the bottom for last, but I lost track of which painting I was on and ended up switching the order around by accident. I made sure to drink up on some Mountain Dew, since I planned to try to stay up to 2am to get in as much painting tonight as I can, since tomorrow is our last full day at the residency, and some of that time will need to be spent on packing up my studio and cleaning up, along with packing and cleaning up my living space in the cottage below.  I still plan to squeeze in some painting time tomorrow morning/early afternoon, in order to try to get dots on one last canvas. For the last painting (if I am successful in getting to it) I will have to do the smearing and dripping after I return to my home studio, as the logistics of transporting wet dripping paintings becomes quick complicated so as not to change the direction and speed of the dripping because of being in the back of my SUV.

I touched up the three paintings, then went to my computer to get a head start on writing some of my daily summary of work and highlights (the one you’re reading right now). I worked on that for a short bit, then I looked over at one more blank canvas that was still sitting on an easel in the corner, untouched and calling for me to put paint on it. Since I had already planned to stay up late, I might as well work on a new canvas, at least to finish off the canvases I had already set up — it would be a shame to leave a blank canvas unused and without purpose. So I got out my paints and started working on a new canvas, with a much lighter version of some of the colors that were in the sunrise paintings stacked on the easel. Usually when I have a palette of paint out and there’s still large unused gobs of mixed paint, I like to come up with a new painting to create with a similar palette.

While I worked on the blog post and the midnight painting, the original smeared three stacked paintings were dripping, enough to a point that the paint from the top of the canvases had reached the bottom of the canvases. I needed to touch them up, so that some of the colors worked out a little better than others. The drips around the purple-yellow and blue-orange are my areas of caution, being really careful when I blend any paint around those areas so as to not mix those colors together with each other, because they are opposites, or complementary colors. Complementary color when mixed together go towards a brown or gray. I was very happy with how the bottom painting had dripped on its own, but I wasn’t as satisfied with the drips on the top and middle paintings. Those seemed a little to scattered, and the bright yellow and orange in those paintings seemed like it might start to be blending with the prominent purple. I worked and re-smeared them a little bit with a smaller brush, and that seemed to help. I worked and reworked these paintings until around 2am, and I hope to wake up early-ish tomorrow morning to able able to give myself some time to work on one last painting before I have to start packing up my studio and cottage and clean up. Tomorrow is my last full day at the Golden Apple Art Residency. We all have to leave on Saturday by noon. I still have much ahead of me that I want to accomplish in that very short amount of time.