Updated: Jul 24, 2019
My process, production, and progress notes.
After working on smaller format projects and using paper as my main substrate all last semester, I was feeling a strong urge to return to working on canvas. Specifically, I wanted to create paintings again. I think that this is because, while I use multiple mediums in my creative practice and produce an array of different types of art, I still strongly identify mainly as a painter. And while it's not where my art practice started off when I took my first painting classes over ten years ago, abstraction is the turn that my work has taken over the last few years. For some reason, this is what feels right to me now, and it's what pulls me into that state of working in intense concentration, where the hours can pass by in what seem like minutes. Some artists refer to this as being "in the zone" or "flow."
I have also been feeling the pull towards creating bigger paintings. Unfortunately, this can be a bit of a logistical problem for me, because I'm currently working in a studio space that I have carved out of the finished basement (with carpeting!) in the small Capitol Hill row house that I live in. This space is ideal for some reasons; like its easy access and the fact that it allows me to work at all hours and to be around the house for my teenage daughter, as well as to do a few loads of laundry while I'm down there. It is not so ideal for other reasons; for example the fact that I like to be really messy when I work (did I mention the carpet?) as well as having to constantly tidy up mid-project due to some impending need for the use of our basement as entertainment space.
Honestly, all of these things tend to disrupt my creative flow in multiple ways, but I am determined to never let this stop me from making art. After all, it can be so easy for me to make up a million excuses to not create. Instead, I work on multiple projects at once, some bigger (like the 36" x 36" canvases that you see in the photos above) and some smaller (like my 4" x 4" tiny abstract paintings on paper or my art journal), and I try to fit my creative practice into whatever time I can find between the other parts of my life. And this means that for now I have decided that my tiny basement studio space is the best option, but I will most likely eventually find someplace bigger to work in. Hopefully when I do, it will also be a space where I can stop worrying about getting paint on the walls!
I usually like to have at least two paintings at various stages of production going at the same time. This is because my process involves the building up of paint and texture in many varied layers, and sometimes there can be a lot of drying time in between each one. By working in this way, I can move back and forth from one work to the other and allow for time to dry.
One of my goals for this current series of paintings was to stay true to my interests in a bright color palette, organic pattern, and texture, while editing it down a bit through the use of large blocks of color as the final layer. There are still tiny "jewel like" pops of bright color and texture shining through from the under layers, but the overall effect is a series of paintings that are slightly calmer than work that I have produced in the past.
Although, now that I am looking at the photos of the three completed paintings that I have done so far, especially the one above, I realize that you could never call any of them "muted" in any way, shape or form. (Wow, that red is bright!)
I have one more work of the same size that is in progress and that I plan to have completed before the next residency.
For my birthday in February, my daughter got me a sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project. The Sketchbook Project is an independent Brooklyn-based company that organizes global, collaborative art projects. Their flagship endeavor is the collection of these sketchbooks into a crowd-sourced library that features 41,046 artists' books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries.
The clock is ticking and I have one year to get my sketchbook completed and sent back in to them, where it will be housed with the rest of the collection in the Brooklyn Art Library. I have an idea in mind and have started to slowly work on it, but I guess I better pick up the pace because it's already April!
Finally, in early March I took a one day workshop at Pyramid Atlantic, a fun art center in Hyattsville, Maryland where they have studio, gallery, and class/work space. They offer a variety of great programming that includes printing, bookbinding, and paper making, to name just a few options.
As a graphic designer and former book designer, I have been on many printing press tours and am pretty knowledgable about all forms of commercial printing processes, but this was my first foray into letterpress printing. I had a blast and now I have one more medium to add to my art practice!