After a gap of over two years I’m so happy today to have made a little space in which to work. It’s about one-third of a spare bedroom in a small flat and it’s cramped but I’ve tried it and it works. It fits an A-frame easel, a trolley, two small tables and a chair. It’s about five feet wide and is bounded on one side by a wall and window and on the other side by a bed which I’ve covered with plastic and which is great for spreading out sketches and photos. So after more than two years of flailing around I feel I can get back to work in earnest. Another decision is to go back to oil because I find acrylics too spasmodic, always having to stop to let the paint dry, which doesn’t allow you to get into a state of flow. I will probably start a painting in acrylic and and go on to oil at some point.
The still life painting above is from 2012, the year after graduating (late in life). I’ve been doing more abstracts and small landscape studies for the last couple of years but for this new phase am planning to go back to still life at least for a while.
Amazon Handmade is not going well, only an odd sale here and there. Their system isn’t conducive to originals because they give more weight in searches to things with lots of stock on hand. They do allow prints and I can make my own giclees, but even with that it’s still very slow. So I’ve started putting a lot of the same work on Etsy as well, mostly small works on paper excluding prints except for the handmade kind. Other ways to show are limited for me for health reasons (that’s why I was out of action for over 2 years). Art fairs and open studios were my favourite ways to show before but are not practical now unless they’d allow me to employ someone to set up and be there all day minding the store (or table or booth). Open studios aren’t practical either since my flat is small and in a residential block. I’ve also swerved back to printmaking for a while, mainly screenprinting and monoprints without a press. I’ve always alternated between painting and printmaking so the switch isn’t unexpected, in fact it was overdue.
The Amazon url is amazon.co.uk/handmade/mary-adam
and the Etsy url is https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaryAdamStudio
Why am I posting? Nothing to post about. Since the Hyacinth — very little. I am trying Amazon Handmade. Sold a couple of pieces after about six weeks, nothing since. It could be ok for prints. I am trying it because it has a good search engine. The sales were invigorating, gave me a surge of energy. Then it fizzled out. I suppose the work is just not good enough. The kind of work that sells well is personalised prints, for things like birthdays etc. I’m not interested in things like that. The phenomenon of being galvanised by a couple of sales was interesting. Like a blood transfusion. I don’t want to be motivated by sales but if it is the case, so be it. After all I’ve been in limbo for going on three years, I’m lucky to be able to make work at all. Maybe it’s more realistic to look at this as a phenomenon to be explored and understood, rather than as something to be resisted.
Two little exercises at home using up leftover paint.
The oil painting classes at ESOP are just what I was hoping for, with emphasis on the basics but not atelier-style, it’s a more contemporary approach. New ideas come flooding in too but I’m trying to stay focused and not let myself get distracted.
Today was cleaning day. I spent the afternoon tidying and rearranging my studio space. It involved some tedious sorting through bits and pieces, throwing out empty paint tubes, acrylics that had gone hard, dead pens and so forth. I’d like to be able to switch quickly between acrylics, oils, gouache and drawing. The studio at ESOP gave me some ideas. It’s efficient and well organised, everything has its place. Small things such as palette knives have their own labelled drawer in a lightweight drawer unit. There’s a can of clean turps and a can of used dirty turps with a small funnel. I really like the drawer idea, there are so many odds and ends that, at certain moments, are useful or even vitally necessary, like Richard III (I think) whose kingdom was lost “all for the want of a horse shoe nail.” There’s more stuff to sort through but already the space is more functional and efficient.
So I have the Hyacinth painting in the living room, propped up so I can see it easily from my chair. I’m wondering what to do with the blue background. The overall plan is to add the running dog pattern in the band at the lower edge, and Hyakinthos at upper left edge. Earlier today I had a look at the Greek alphabet in Wikipedia. Debating whether to devote some time to learning it. Instinct says yes.
If I can just concentrate on the painting process. It’s harder than one would think. Also I haven’t yet had a long enough session to get into a state of flow. In flow some of the choices or decisions make themselves. I wonder if it’s that I’m just not there yet? On a different tack, the oil paint is very thick and viscous, it doesn’t go on as smoothly as I’d like. The Liquin should help. I would like to mix large quantities of whatever colours I’m using with the lovely long flexible palette knife.
Anyway I have everything I need now. Paint, mediums, palette, brushes, and space (don’t mind it’s small). Wondering if I should start another one? Instinct says yes to that too