Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like - Thanksgiving . . .

              From Where I'm Sitting.

It’s a good day in the studio when I can work non-stop for less than an hour and find I’ve moved a piece along to a point where I can almost see the final vision emerging.  It was one of those days last week.

Knowing I had less than an hour between meetings, doing errands and taking the dog to the dog park before dark descended, I rushed over to my studio, put on my coveralls, got out my acrylic paints, oil paint sticks, brushes, water and went at it.  45 minutes later, I stood back and took photos to share with Jim.

Here is a short slide show of the progression of the third panel of his commission. You can stop at any point by clicking on the pause button.

This preliminary sketching is all done on very cheap white butcher paper. The real piece will be done on sturdy Ampersand Claybord where I can layer, scrape, paint, scrape again, layer again and not worry about the undercoating disintegrating. Because they are oversized panels, 24”x36”, I couldn’t find them in any of my local art supply stores.  So I ordered them online from Dick Blick’s and hope they’ll arrive next week.

It’s beginning to look a lot like . . .well, no, not Christmas . . . more like Thanksgiving.  I have so much to be thankful for this year  – all the new art associations made via Leah Virsik/Alyson Stanfield's Art Marketing Salon, especially Egmont van Dyck, my blog mentor; my new artist buddy at the studio, Tyrell Collins who is part cheerleader, part mother confessor; the new collectors and admirers of my work who keep me both buoyed and motivated; my new cyberspace connections via friend @fritinancy (a.k.a. Nancy Friedman) who keep me smiling and involved in this amazing new world; and most importantly, my dearest partner in life, my husband who continues to have faith and supports me in my artistic endeavors, and who can smooth over the worst day with the best homemade tuna tartare and the most loving, empathetic listening.  

At the moment, however, I am most grateful for the growing anticipation of getting to work on new, clean, smooth, all white surfaces, which always has a way of stirring my creative juices. 

So here's to Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, and the coming week, when life will be all about the continued appreciation of good friends, good food and more good days in the studio. And if all goes as planned, I'll be giving thanks well into 2010. Here's hoping you will, too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Studio of One's Own . . .

Or What Happens When You Come Down with 'Commission-itis' . . .

It was not one of my best days in the studio. No client and a client I unwittingly stood up. Still, when I left for the day and looked back, I saw the space was mine once again. My work table was cleared of all the materials which covered it since the middle of August – materials I had put there to work with my client Jim.

I closed the door and smiled.  Tomorrow will be a better day.

As of last Thursday, our collaboration moved from one on one in the studio to checking in once a week via phone or email.  Jim called me last Wednesday to say he wouldn’t be coming to our regular meeting the next day as he had a doctor’s appointment. He was going in to schedule another minor surgery sometime this week to repair a malfunctioning wire, which is inserted in his back to alleviate pain.

It was obvious, at least to me, his studio visits had come to an end.

We spoke about the next steps, the images I needed for him to send me to complete the 3rd section of the triptych; the pictures of my preliminary sketches which I would send him for his perusal; and the type of artists’ wood panels I plan to use.  I promised to email all the information and call him to let him know I’ve emailed.  He doesn’t check his email all that often I found out.

I sent the email Friday.  I called yesterday. No reply yet. 

Now, knowing Jim’s as I do, his MO so to speak, I won’t worry or take this personally.  I’m prepared to get on with the project, hoping to have it completed before the first of the year. 

OK - so I have to admit it (although not news – see August’s post ‘The Shades Are Up Here in the Cyberstudio’): No matter what the project, it helps to have the studio all to myself to do the work.

In the mean time, I think I’ve come down with a serious case of  ‘commission-itis’.  After working non-stop on ceramic and now 2D commissions since June, (for which, I am totally grateful, don’t get me wrong) I think unconsciously, I must be yearning for a B. Altman Art fix – ideas, images, forms, content, all pumped up from my own creative well. Even though my husband sometimes mocks my attempt to ‘multitask’ at home, I can’t seem to do this in the studio. I have to work one project at a time. Jim’s piece first. Next, the lovely little two-dimensional piece I’ll be doing for a friend, using her and her husband’s dear grandmothers’ photos. This will take me into 2010 for sure.

So in my ‘commission-itis’ frame of mind yesterday, I completely forgot I had made an appointment to meet a possible client at the studio.  He wanted a ceramic artist to create a base for his tabletop fountain.  I only remembered this after I arrived at the studio over an hour and a half late. I was briefly mortified. Then, somehow relieved. I realized I really didn’t want to do this project. Still, feeling fairly guilty, I called and apologized, left the message that I was in the studio and told him he could come by. But to be honest, I was secretly glad that he hadn’t by the time I closed the door to leave - when I looked back and smiled . . .

once again, knowing the blessing of having a studio of one’s own.