The Joys of Painting At Home


"Along the Canal" 20 x 20 Acrylic on Box Canvas
(Original donated to S.A.F.E. Temecula for auction)

A couple of totally different painting experiences, both at home: one so relaxing I could barely keep my eyes open, the other so frustrating I had to take frequent time-outs.

I firmly believe that it is to my benefit as an artist to be able to drop everything and work on a painting or drawing, no matter where I am. Gone are the days where the combination of timing, inspiration, and availability of materials all had to come together in order for me to spend some time making art. I now know that waiting for those moments to come would mean never getting any work done at all, so I took a strategy from my writing days instead: be prepared to paint at any free moment, and put some time in each day.

Painting at home should give me plenty of opportunity for this, right? Well, there's definitely opportunity...it just takes a cool head and a persistent hand to make the most of it.

I'm pretty good at tuning out the fun distractions, and I certainly have a nice kitchen space with great lighting for work. Unfortunately, there's no way to keep out the furry and toddling company. Someone inevitably wants to be fed (numerous times), knocks something over, jumps up in my face and gets fur all over everything, tugs on my shirt for a snack or attention, tries to drink my paint water...you get the idea (and yes, almost all of those transgressions are committed solely by my cats, and no, I don't leave paint water out for my child to drink).

It would help if I didn't procrastinate, and things do go much better when I do a clear and organize session in the workspace before I bring out the messy acrylics. It seems to be getting easier to work in little bits at a time on the acrylic paintings, as long as I can keep the water handy and brushes clean. After much toil and bad language, I completed the piece above, one inspired by a trip to the city of Venice, California a few years ago. I struggled with the square composition, but once I went back to it and just decided to play with brushwork and color, it practically finished itself.

Despite being wiped out after finishing the "Canal" piece, I still caught a little plein air fever when I got home later in the day and had a sleeping toddler in the car. I pulled up a chair behind the car and did a quick study of shadows and light in the grove across the way, thoroughly enjoying the afternoon breeze and pleasant sunlight.



"Distant Grove" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
Original Sold
Cick here to view prints

I guess I always need a little pressure and spontaneity to really get fired up and do some work, so maybe the chaos at home is a good thing.

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