new painting and thoughts about studio time
This small painting (Red Wall
, 14"x11") evolved rather slowly, through many layers of paint, acquiring the kind of rich patina that I like in my work. It is one of a continuing series of paintings inspired by old walls and weathered surfaces, which began during my residency in Catalonia, and has continued in the months since.
Right now, I have dozens of paintings in progress, because I have several exhibits and other deadlines coming up in the next few months. I've had some very good, productive studio days...somehow finding a rhythm in the midst of summer's many diversions, and prioritizing studio time even when I have people visiting, as I do at the moment. Treating work in the studio like the job that it is. (I'm grateful to have very supportive friends and family in this regard.)
I guess I do work well under pressure, although it often feels like stress. That extra little push needed to make decisions about the paintings (is it done, does it work...) seems to help me focus, and definitely keeps me in the studio for longer hours, pushing past the point when I'd really like a break.
Something that I've noticed: Often, during the half hour or so after I tell myself that a break can wait, I make a noticeably good move on a painting or two. I guess that pushing past the comfort zone can actually give creative energy a little boost. It's definitely positive reinforcement for hanging in there a bit longer even though I feel tired and spent. On the other hand, I'm not advocating overdoing things--painting is hard work, both physically and mentally. It's really just that extra 30-60 minutes in which good things very often seem to happen. (In the painting above, that's when I added the final rich red--pushing it from a more earthy color.)