When I was in college I went to Lowe's a lot. I learned to build my own canvases. I learned what made good bones for my paintings. I learned the hard way, by using Pine instead of Douglas fir because it was cheaper. Sadly the Pine warped. Once I graduated I continued to use a friend's wood shop and we improved on the design of the way we built the canvases. I experimented with buying linen, not just cotton canvas.
For me the size and shape inspires how I approach a piece. In 2008 I had an idea for my 62 foot wall installation at PFAC that required some custom size canvases, but I no longer had access to a wood shop. I am thankful I found a company that has a great product, Upper Canada Stretchers. My first custom order was for 9, 6'x1' canvases. My brother and I assembled and stretched them...it was easy and enjoyable. I love their product. Those canvases I did nearly 9 years ago are still doing great.
Earlier this year when I was ordering 18 canvases for "The Weight of Time", I did something I had never done before, I paid the extra money to get them assembled and stretched. I was fully pleased...the corners and backs are just as lovely as the front. This saved me days of labor!
The canvases for my new piece were just delivered as well.
My studio welcomed me home and the ideas are so loud that there seems to be a buzzing. There's an excitement of having many canvases all in different stages of the process.
The Weight of time waiting to be delivered.
Panels with pops of color and lots of cold wax.
Two 20"x60" with a red-orange base coat.
"Big Star Lake" commission on my easel with a couple coats of gesso.
Small Works Shop pieces hanging on my wall.
Twelve 9"x36"s waiting for the black gesso.
Three 24"x24" edges painted just needing wires so I can hang them.
I am happy to be getting my hands dirty in the studio again.
I am thrilled and nervous about all the beautiful unknowns. The process of creating is messy for me. It is about showing up. Pressing in. Even when I have those days where nothing goes right, it is about never giving up. There is hope no matter how awful the progress feels that day. I keep doing new things. Even when I am not sure how it will turn out. I am also embracing these things beyond the studio these days, with upcoming contests and hanging my work various places. The risks seem to get harder the more public they are, but I am holding onto my truth that "it will be worth it." Not because the outcome is guaranteed, but because it is just the next step at the moment. These are the steps I must take to move forward. It has been 5 years since I have really shared my work outside of my personal network. So here we go....
next month my work will be seen by many people I have never met....
voted on or not...
judged by jurors.....
advanced to final 20 or not.
The piece is done. I must rest in the fact that I cannot control if people are moved. I cannot predict the effectiveness of the story. It feels murky even though I know that I poured myself and my story into this piece (I think it is suppose to be that way.) The feeling of vulnerability cannot be avoided when you share your true self.