February 18, 2011

Get ready.

My posts aren't really happening in real time anymore. I let them marinate.

I am almost finished with my storage inventory, part one. Part two involves a database system so that I do no have to reinvent the wheel every time someone requests a list of available paintings.

Big (literally) news is that I ordered materials needed to build (6) SIX stretchers. And not just any 6 stretchers, but whoah... 66" x 54" and 60" x 48". I haven't built my own of this scale in ages. AGES. Not to wax nostalgic endlessly about my former life in the big city, but it was almost cost effective to have them built for me. In the LA area there were at least 4 people/businesses devoted to making stretchers and/or stretching canvas. Even the art school kids bought custom made stretchers. Supply and demand. Fine Art Stretcher Bars and Lucius Hudson were my favorites, but I fell in love with the aluminum bars at Lucius Hudson. After I started working small, I built and stretched my own again. It's not that difficult, just time-consuming and maddening if something doesn't square up. Maddening, if something doesn't square up. I said that already. I also tend to scuff my knuckles when stretching the canvas, and I still can't get them tight enough. Unless I use Rabbit Skin glue, which I no longer own, so there. And since I'm not a shop set up for this, I scramble around on the floor making this magic happen. This bit of prep work is a bit nerve wracking for me, and I vaguely remember swearing it off for canvases larger then 16" x 20". I wait with baited breath for my materials to arrive.    (Um, not so fast. My order is on hold due to technical difficulties. Why did I leave LA?)

I was on the phone with Nova Color yesterday. I'm switching to acrylic for a bit. Not really sure why, just a lark actually. Oh wait, I remember- the new studio is for water-based works and I'm feeling manic. While on the phone, I imagined I was there in person, looking at all the jars of pigment. Nova Color's sales room is about the size of my kitchen. The cat was usually asleep on a shelf under the counter. I miss my suppliers.

Build it and they will come.
A few inquiries about my paintings always make me feel good- like I'm on the right path. You'd think after X number of years I'd have figured that out, but part of my charm is that I'm dreadfully insecure a few minutes each day. Sometimes it goes away and I get down to business. Other times, I spin an alternate reality in which I am normal and do normal things like listen to the Today Show as I cock my head and clip on an earring while grabbing my imaginary briefcase and commuter mug, or clock in to my factory job at the local factory which is shutting down.

I talked to Matt the other night and came to the sudden realization that I had displaced some grief over the last couple of years. Poignant, and a little too weird to try and explain. Slightly related and quite a bit funnier, the essay, "Why You're Not Married," by Tracy McMillan on the HuffPo made me laugh. Pathetically, I recognized bits of myself among the various descriptions. For instance, according to # 2, I am shallow. It's true, I do want someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Matt was practically a poster boy for midcentury modernism. So much so, that when I discovered the shabby chic sofa he had in his apartment in LA was nothing like the minimalist sofa in our office back in Chicago, I almost felt gypped. And yes, good design is one of the reasons I fell in love with him. Every year for our anniversary I would scan craigslist looking for an affordable Eames lounge chair and ottoman to give as a gift. I never found one in my price range, which was probably for the best because as #5 states, I am selfish, which means that in the divorce, I'm quite sure I would have demanded the chair go with me. I hate when pop culture is so smart.


Carla said...

Funny article.

I can't wait to see big paintings.

Steven LaRose said...

I had a life changing moment when John Millei showed me his studio and there was a 50-gallon drum of paint that Nova Color had mixed special for him.

M.A.H. said...

I always am in awe when I see photos of artists' studios with large bowls and buckets of paint lying around. Even when working large, I mix such small quantities. Not more than a 1/2 cup at a time. Other wise, I would contaminate the whole batch. It's fair to say much of my process involves color matching.

M.A.H. said...

@carla, me, too....

Steven LaRose said...

Color matching is where it is at. Having a premixed gathering of pigment can be liberating, but over-emphasizes the drawing of it all. Drawing is key, of course, but painting is about color matching while drawing.