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.