8 x 10
Beginning a few weeks ago, I changed most everything about my daily practise. I slashed and trashed more than 50 paintings that had languished on my studio shelving. They'd been waiting for me to become skilled enough to get them out of the stalemates that they were in. But, on looking at them with a dispassionate eye, I decided that life was too short to address them, and they were a psychic weight that I no longer wanted to carry. Taking a car load of sliced canvases to the dump and hurling them into bins was cathartic, and spurred me on to more changes.
The middle grey mixing palette was replaced by a white one, resulting in - well - ongoing confusion, but I think it'll be a good thing when I've adapted fully. My aim is to find new ways to use colour and the mixing surface is the first step toward that.
But the biggest, and I think the most effective change, was repainting the interior of my studio. The walls used to be a fairly dark, muted red. When I had my studio built, I painted it that unorthodox colour because it was the same colour I'd been working in inside my house for years. I couldn't imagine working in any other colour space. With 3 skylights, 3 big windows and a glass patio door, I didn't think the dark walls would be an issue. But, over time, my intentions and aesthetic have changed and the walls had begun to hinder my development. The studio felt dim and it was affecting my colour/value mixing.
Research devoted to the "ideal wall colour" for a studio came up with the usual suspects: white, mid grey, warm, cool..., but nothing that resonated, until I came across a phrase in a blog to the effect that if you want to paint dark paintings, paint your walls a dark colour. Ah ha! A light bulb went on!
Dark paintings are emphatically not what I want, so I had my answer.
The new colour is a cool grey in a value just above pure white (it's a 2 on a 1-10 scale). Suddenly, the space appears large and airy. The walls now bounce so much excellent light, that I'm stunned by how much was lacking in my life before this.
Next, I had my handy son build a massive work 4 x 8" table on wheels. With its huge storage shelf it allowed me to consolidate a lot of bins of supplies out of sight and to take down some shelving that had lined the walls. The energy and flow of the room improved immediately, and I find I'm painting in parts of the room that I've never stood in before.
Wheeled greenhouse shelving as large as a wall, picked up all of the stretcher bars, frames, packaging supplies, still life objects, and general "stuff", that had been stored in myriad, smaller units along the walls, and by covering one side of the shelving, I could both block the unsightliness of the load and create a screen for a lot of wall storage behind it. Eventually, I'll hang white-painted plywood on it and create a wall to hang paintings on, but I'm fine with it for now. When the discomfort builds, I'll get to it.
It's been a lot of work involving my least favourite thing: repeatedly lifting and shifting heavy things, but it's been worth it. There's more to be done, but I feel able to move forward, and, wonderfully, I feel energized and rejuvenated as I head into fall. I think that good paint will happen in that space.
Stay tuned, and happy painting!
Stay tuned, and happy painting!