Artist Residency: Day 5

I realized that today’s day 5 marks the halfway point in my in-studio artist residency. I’m glad that I’ve got a lot that I had planned out accomplished, and I still have much to go. While I was drinking my morning tea, when I briefly checked into the Internet, I realized that I was two days behind on publishing my blog posts, so I took a little bit of time to compose, edit and publish the blog posts for the most recent two days. Since I have had people following this artist residency progress, I want to be sure that I’m keeping all my work documented here in this blog.

I toned a third canvas, setting up a spare easel that had been folded up in a corner of my studio. This third canvas I toned using a pastel pink color. I began applying the first layer of paint daubs to the canvas in pastel pinks, lilac, yellow, orange and a mint green.

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During my lunch break, I set up my living room to be a backdrop against which to take a few photos of art hanging in a living room. I should set up every room at some point to be the backdrop for a photo session, because that corner of my living room looks the neatest it’s been in a while. I will process the photos themselves tomorrow — I ran out of time before I had to get going to arrive at the art class that I’m teaching this summer to a children’s summer program.
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Today’s art class encompassed using the pinch pot method of molding clay to make a small mug or bowl. Right after the class ended I had to take a quick trip to the store to get some more odorless mineral spirits, what I use for my paint thinner.

Upon returning, I used the photos of my artwork that I had processed from Monday’s photographing session of my paintings currently still in the studio to create images of examples of how my paintings would look hung in different spaces. These photos help to demonstrate how the colors and scale of the different paintings could appear in different setting, in different rooms. I took some time to show what the paintings could look like on the wall in a living room, or dining room, or kitchen.

I ended the day with painting more daubs on the pink toned canvas — ready to add more to it tomorrow (day 6)!

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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.

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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!