I have often been accused of being neurotic (sophomore college roommate) or a planner (my husband) but I’ll take well organized (a German friend) as a compliment. I find that if I don’t have a degree of order in my studio before I begin to paint, conditions are not conducive to being creative and I lose focus. For this reason I use a notebook to keep track of my work.
These pages of my notebook contain a list work I made after it was already completed. Since the work listed here was a series of ten pieces, I wrote the information about each piece and drew a small thumbnail illustration along with the price listed at my gallery in Dallas. This helps me remember titles and other information for specific pieces when I don’t have them right in front of me:
Below the page on the left shows a sketch of my most recent painting, Distortion 4, 2013. The page was empty when I began work and as each line of paint was added, I recorded the color used and if I liked a certain juxtaposition or not. The page on the right shows drawings of two concepts for future paintings along with notes on each idea:
I mix at least six colors before I begin painting. To avoid mistakes I label the tubs of paint with numbers along with the name of the painting. I usually work on more than one painting at a time so this prevents using colors from the wrong painting. As I work I write down each color’s number used on the painting in my notebook. This is useful because paint is always a different color when it dries so I cannot rely on memory for which color was used last. Also, the color in the tub looks so different than when it is applied to the canvas:
I found these great plastic tubs with a threaded top so the paint doesn’t dry out and my water containers are pickle tubs from the Mercado Russafa.
For my most recent painting below, I started the composition in the middle of the canvas and worked away from the center. I applied two lines a day in a mirror image until it was complete. I have to wait 24 hours for the paint to fully dry as each new line overlaps the previous one. Each stripe was slightly distorted to create a dizzying effect:
Distortion 4, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 72 1/2″ x 60″ (SOLD)
My new studio mate in Sporting Club Russafa, Jose, also thinks I’m “well organized”. He does laugh at me as I put away all my supplies when I’m finished for the day. But rather than call me neurotic, he thanks me for making our space look like a gallery.
This month’s music: Atoms for Peace.