Notes from my studio day
Today is Sunday and it is my studio day. I thought I would share some notes from my studio as I have a lot on my mind and am working on a few new things.
For someone who is busy between arts administration, teaching, and personal time, I have to block out my time to be in my home studio. Sundays are my day where I like to hunker down in my space, explore, and make progress. Depending on priorities related to current projects, I may work on promotions (like writing this blog post!), document my art, paint, write poetry, or edit my films. I will also cuddle with my cats and dog. They like to be wherever I am. If I am in my studio so are they.
Eno, my two year old cat, likes to lay right next to my wet paint. This always make me anxious and he won't let me move him!
One of my goals for 2018 is to paint my studio white. Currently, my walls are forest green. It's a relaxing color, but way too dark. It is time for a change and I know the white paint will definitely brighten up the space! I only have one window in the room and it doesn't give me a lot of natural light so I need the white walls to help with increasing light reflection. The green right now just absorbs darkness.
For my studio time today, I have a list to prep some work, document, reflect, and promote. Each part in my list is super important, because I am currently prepping for multiple shows this year. First up is the St. Paul Art Crawl, which is next month! I will also be displaying work this summer at Workhorse Coffee Bar. The art pictured above and below is a peek into what kind of work I will be showing.
The most vital part to making my paintings happens to be the first part, which is the prepping of the grid. It is essential to the overall piece. If I don't have the grid, I won't have anything to explore. Most of the time, I start my work on paper with liquid watercolor and a pipette. I have experimented with other surfaces, but I am most happy with working on paper. Pipettes have become an important tool for me as they give me more control when applying the paint to the paper. Once in a while, I may prep my paper with a wash to create an under painting.
After I set my grid, I let the piece dry. I come back to it, usually the next day to see if I want to add more lines to the grid. Once I feel the outline is ready, I decide on my color palette. Color is important to me and I like to decide on which ones I will be working with before I start filling in the grid. This helps with getting into a flow state, where I can concentrate on the work before me, rather than being interrupted by searching for a tube of paint to choose from. Picking the colors ahead of time saves a ton of time! I also feel selecting colors first helps strengthens color harmony and overall composition.
For a painting between 16x20 and 22x30, the work generally takes six to eight hours to complete...over a certain amount of time. I may incorporate acrylic in the work, or graphite, charcoal, or ink. Then when it’s all done I seal it with an archival UV coating.
This video below documents how I have started my color grids in the past. I made this while completing the Hinge Arts Residency during February 2017.
February 2, 2017 from jes reyes on Vimeo.
I am moving on to my next painting today. Here is my next color grid. I can't wait to start on it!
One thing I do on Sundays that is art related that doesn't happen in the studio is how I spend an extended amount of time in bed during the morning. Yep, I love coffee and relaxing in bed. Usually there is the newspaper, my laptop, my dog, and my husband keeping me company. Sometimes I am updating my website during this time, researching, writing a grant application, organizing files, or applying to a call for art. It is actually precious time for me. I find it so relaxing. If I give myself this time, I feel grounded for the rest of the week.
How do you spend your Sunday mornings? Do you do art? Read the paper? Take a walk? Call your mom? I am curious!
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