So, now you have a show booked, and hopefully you scheduled it a few months away (at least) to give lots of time to paint. I like working in stages. First I decide on how many paintings I think I can do in that time, and how many will be needed to fill the space. Then I make all my supports (canvases and panels) at once. I make a third of them large sized, another third medium, and the last third small. Some are vertical, some horizontal and don’t forget squares. I stretch canvas, seal it, and gesso (prime) them all at once. Doing everything in stages saves a lot of time, and is easier to focus on each task at hand, because each stage requires different tools, products, and a different way of working or energy/focus. Once I have all my supports ready to go, I allow a few days (at least) to sit and think, going through favorite images I collect in folders, flip through books in the library, write ideas down, and sketch. Eventually a vision begins to form – not specific finished painting images, but a general “feel” or look that I want to attain.
For my latest show the paintings are all acrylic on gold leaf, so I first gold leafed all 12 supports. That took over two weeks, but it was great to be able to just focus on one thing at a time. Then I began to paint on each one of them. Since I work in layers, each layer takes less than an hour to apply, but needs a day to dry. So I can put one layer on 6-8 paintings each day. This is the fun part for me. I get to try different things for each one, and watch them all grow together.
A real benefit for me is to have all the paintings fueling each other. If I am not working on a show, then each painting leaves my studio as its done, and doesn’t get the chance to influence me and the next one as much. This time I had them all hanging as I worked on them, and each one played off the next. By working on many at the same time, I was able to go deeper into an idea, and have it played out more fully than if I had just worked on one at a time.
Here is a link to preview my latest exhibition, Afterglow, acrylic on gold leaf paintings.
And now a nice break from my routine, and then on to another series for my next show in October.
complete guide to acrylic painting
Complete Guide to Acrylic Painting
Find the magic to bring your visions to life on canvas. From your very first brushstroke to your ultimate masterpiece – this course has it all. Click to read more.