A mark-making exercise to chase away the gremlins of worry and overwhelm. Mixed Media on paper 32 x 23 inches
I feel a real shift happening with my work in the studio – dedicated time to work, space to create, making art without worrying about expectations. Whilst I will always have moments of procrastination and staring at the wall – the balance is shifting in favour of just getting down to creating no matter what is going on in my thoughts. Dedicated time to just play with marks on paper as a warm up and a release – that is the key to putting excuses aside and getting to the easel. Sometimes chaos ensues, sometimes a calmness comes over me. I am embracing it all.
Early stages of a new oil painting seascape – working this one up in layers slowly 23 x 32 inches
Studio Notes 2nd February
Excited to see what unfolds today. I love that each day I come here there is no specific plan. I have a framework built around the time I spend here – fence-posts that mark the number of hours I will be here – 11am till 5pm and aiming for four days of the week depending on what other deadlines and commitments I have in the shape of teaching or admin. But within that semi-rigid ‘box’ I allow myself complete freedom to work on whatever I wish.
Harbour walls – Oil on board 6 x 9 inches – a new small painting drying on my easel
Previously I thought being an artist entailed a complete absence of any structure at all. I went to the studio … whenever. It was entirely dictated by energy, mood and inspiration. In actual fact what really happened was that I would get lost in my to-do-list (which like many of us is ‘endless’) or I would let other non-related tasks take over.
Sketch book explorations with the paint left on my palette.
Now I have created a structure – I plan at the beginning of the week what days I am going to the studio – set appointments that I stick to. My isolated creative space on a farm in the middle of no-where, no screen, no wi-fi, no dishwasher to load or chatty distractions to converse with. Once there – well I have a choice – sit and do nothing or pick up a pencil or charcoal or brush and do something. Even mindless doodling is allowed if nothing else is happening and I find myself stuck to my chair. I have a large piece of paper permanently on my desk just for that purpose.
Beadnell kilns – Mixed Media on paper – 23 x 16 inches
Inevitably though, even doodling begins to create an energy that eventually gets me to the easel – no matter how defiant I am. So permitted studio procrastination activities are … doodling, sharpening pencils, reading art books, moving recent artwork around on my walls, prepping boards, cutting paper, looking at my colour mixing bible and more. All of these things are allowed and none are so interesting that they hold my attention for too long. So eventually I start something more creative. Lately I have been spending an hour a day absorbed in a mark making piece. After that I am sufficiently warmed up and focused enough to begin a new piece or continue with one of the works in progress that are on one of 3 easels, the wall or propped up on the floor.
At the moment I have 3 oil paintings on board, 2 oil sticks on paper and 4 acrylic paintings on paper – all works in progress. As well as studies and sketchbooks all ready to work on and in. That way I never go to the studio and wonder what to do with my time – I can choose which to work on or begin something new!
In progress oil portrait – under-painting. Whilst focused on landscapes for the time being I wanted to have at least one portrait in progress.
Do you have any permitted procrastination devices to get you to the easel?
PS – I am having a Studio Sale for this week only after gathering a few pieces of previous work. These prices are on average 50% lower than prices of my current work so there are some affordable pieces of original art, studies, drawings and sketches.