August 24th, 2012 – Restoration Blues

At the start of the month, a group of ladies visited the studio & one bought a painting with the money her work colleagues had got together for her retirement.  Really made my day & also raised the issue in my mind I should be doing more painting, a lot more!

It’s the 7th month of the year and I have completed no brand-new artwork. The canvas that sold had been started some time possibly in 2011 but to be honest it could have been 2010 and had been sitting there almost finished since, well I finally finished the last parts of the ink work only a week or so earlier & just had to varnish it when they came in & I showed it to them, it wasn’t even on display, tucked away behind a pile of frames. 

The painting itself is part of a running theme and in the classic style, I only took a shakey slightly blurred photo… I was particularly pleased with some of the shapes going on in the forest floor area. It’s an ongoing investigation…

Restoration blues! It has been weeks & weeks of restoration, this week I had to call halt to it as I’m running too close to total burnout. The constant lead work at this kind of pace has been causing strain on my hands (not to mention my mind) so I decided to take a break for at least a week. It’s good having steady money, but not worth the stress & strain.

Also as long as my time is taken up by the restoration I am unable to work on my own projects & commissions which has really been getting to me. The sale of the painting really brought this issue up in my mind again.

So finally after a couple of days’ rest, I went into the studio today with a mind to start on the big canvases I had bought last month.  I had a look over my sketchbooks from the last few years at various ideas & concepts that I never took to a final painting. There are a host of things I have in mind, and I certainly plan on starting to paint a whole lot more. Sitting here with books full of ideas, not to mention the ones in my head and I canny get anything done in well over 7 months! This has to change.

Two sketches stood out, for the first canvas, I plan on making a version of these two sketch ideas.

Working possibly as a mostly inked drawing in black & white with just the waterfall in color. Or giving the canvas a sepia wash leaving the water areas clear and black ink over the forest work.

So as this canvas is significantly larger than anything I have worked on before it will be a bit of an adjustment drawing to this scale. I want to make it quite detailed, I mean really go to town on it, and as it’s such a massive space there is scope for pretty cool detail, or to give it some kind of stylized feel. The canvas is covered in cellophane so before peeling that off it’s a good opportunity to roughly try out the scale of the image.. Using a marker pen I loosely drew out the scene to see how it would work. I will add that tip to the ‘How To Draw section. Take a photo so you have a reference after you take the cellophane off! You can see the marker pen sitting on the clamp at the bottom right of the canvas, which gives you an idea of the scale this is at.

The rest of the day was interspersed with a lot of visitors and that was really nice. Looking at the image in this state I have been planning the sequence and look of how I could make the picture and I finished the day by giving this canvas a coat of white paint to try smooth the surface a bit more to make the ink drawing easier, it might take a few coats. And on the other canvas, I gave it a coat of black & have a wee idea for that one that shall not be revealed just yet… It’s gonna take a couple of ground-work coats first before I can really begin to plan the image.

I need to paint more. It’s amazing how even just a few visitors, let alone a sale, really boosts the spirits & confidence. The consumption of my time by the restoration work on the scale of recent months has to stop, I need to find a better balance.

There has also been the delivery of the glass & supplies for a commission that has been in the pipeline for a long time. It’s going to be a massive painting & engraved wonder but I have to be in a better mindset as the scale of this window will be some piece of work. It will look great, but it is going to take some amount of work & I want to make it something special.

So we finish up the day with two canvases primed and ideas a go go, so refreshing to just spend the day doing art and forgetting the worries and cranking up some good times music. That’s the whole point of doing this, it’s meant to be fun. If my hands are sore & I’m stressed out to hell then it’s not right.

Tomorrow is Saturday’s fun day, hopefully, more folk venture in. Sunday its back to Cottiers Theater with the Glasgow Crafters Co-op for the monthly show & next week on the 7th is the second Hidden Lane First Fridays Open Studio Evening and on the 8th and 9th it is off to the co-op crew to the East Renfrewshire Food Festival!

And for this post, I shall leave you with this.

2 thoughts on “August 24th, 2012 – Restoration Blues

  1. Julie Arbuckle

    Love your marker pen sketch, you should get it framed like that! Also, thanks for “yugen” : I’ll have to look into that more. I’ve been using ‘the sublime’ to mean what yugen does, but now I may start turning Japanese ( i think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m…)

    Enjoy your break. Important to have down time, although not always easy to take some!

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