Where’s the Mess? | open studios

Open Studios 2016

This year I displayed the following essay in the studio and it turned out to capture people’s attention:

I’ve been doing Open Studios since 2007, spring and fall.  I set it up like a gallery.  I’m aware that some people are expecting to see an “artistic” mess. Something like stacks of canvas clutter, colorful splatters on drop cloths, tubes and vials lining the walls, jars of brushes.

Not seeing this scene, a lot of people enter anyway.  Something else brings them in.  I hope it is the finished artwork.  Here’s a peek behind the scenes, and some secrets:

1.  Wheels

Everything’s on wheels

We keep the studio flexible.  Look closely and you’ll see everything’s on wheels.  We can make it my painting studio, a rehearsal and performance space, or a gallery, and arrange appropriately depending on the unique work at hand.

2.  Why No Splatters

painting in progress
Space as studio: still life set up and painting in progress.

Well, maybe just a few.  High quality paint is expensive.  I like to keep it to the paper or canvas.

3.  Simple Palette

Though I work in several media (dry, watercolor, oil), I use simple palettes

mixing paints
Mixing paints from a simple palette

to unify my paintings.  Tempting as an art store full of pretty colors is, all I need for my oils fits on a hospital cart.  All I need for my watercolors is portable (for field trips) and fits in a fishing tackle box and a bag (or tray in the studio).

4.  Three Things at a Time

working studio
A few projects going on at once.

Or thereabouts.  I keep a few projects going at once so there’s always work to be advanced while paint dries on something else.  I do tend to finish what I start.  And space is limited, precious, and flexible, so there aren’t piles of abandoned projects.

5.  Making a Living

as a gallery
Set up as a gallery

That’s what I’m doing.  So I want to show you the artwork in a clean, well lighted environment, so maybe you’ll consider owning some of it.  And I’m always happy to talk about how and why I make the work.

Postscript:  I do hope you’ll visit when you’re in San Francisco.  We set up the gallery and open our doors on Sunday afternoons.

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