26 October 2011

on easels and preparation

Preparation is a most important thing for successful painting, and possibly has been one of my weaknesses. (Who am I kidding? It is definitely one of my weaknesses!) I've always been too impatient, wanting to grab what little time was available and dive straight into the painting. I've probably developed some bad habits doing that.

Today, however, I am focusing on being well prepared. This is a large painting, and my space is a little small compared to my previous studio. I'm not complaining, it has other things going for it, like the fabulous view and the location. But, without the space and the work benches which I miss quite frequently, this new work was going to be quite demanding.

First, the furniture had to be shifted to give me a clear "walk way"... I pace a lot when I paint. It's my looking, thinking, deciding space. I like to have four - five metres; here I have only two - three. Then I needed a way of supporting the canvas.

I am still working on borrowed easels, for which I am really grateful. My preferred work ones are home made, weathered, and sturdy. They were built to display panels for historical displays out and about in the countryside, commemorating the Battles of Cassino in WWII. The next time the owner borrows them back I really will have to make my own.

I didn't want to stick nails into these, or alter the height of the supports. So this morning I focused on studio preparation. This is the result, a perfect height, two easel, non-damaging system. I have put the little hanger loops on the painting, and used sausage hooks to attach them to the top of the easels. Now I have worked into the sky a little, and am taking a break before drawing in the ruins.
Preparation, my word for the day. I am aiming for a more detailed sketch than usual for this work, and calm, peaceful painting days. The next work will take a completely different approach, a little more abstract I suspect. The ideas are fermenting in glorious colour as I paint this one.

Today I am grateful for generous easel owners.

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