Welcome to my  blog: Introspection!

As much time in my studio is spent on thinking about and looking at art as there is on painting. Here I'll write about some of the things that pass my mind during those hours, or the inspiration that makes me grab the brush .

Be sure to visit my Studio Storage blog too, where I sell some of my earlier paintings at (very) low prices.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Any humble task.....

Over the past few weeks I have been working on some larger works, driven by the inspiration I brought back from my stay in Spain.There are interesting developments, with connections between earlier found softness to newly found looseness in painting.
However, none of what I'm working on I'm ready to share yet, except maybe for the two smaller paintings that just needed to be painted: the short-lived radiant yellows of the garden views that just pushed their existence into my daily view.

Besides all that, new canvases needed to be prepared, because it always constricts me if there is not a new batch ready for the moment when inspiration strikes! Thanks to a tip from a reader of my blog I was now able to order pre-stretched linen canvases (I have been on a crusade for the perfect canvas ever since I moved here)
They arrived and are looking promising, and as they are unprimed linen they needed to be primed before I could start.
I have always embraced every part of the profession of artist and priming linen is one of them. Before, I also used to stretch my own canvases, then Artel aluminum stretcher frames came into existence (in Holland) and they were so great (and I was earning enough then to be able to afford them) that I stopped with all that. In the forementioned crusade here in the US, I started stretching canvases again, and in an attempt to make things easier ordered prepared or sized linen, which turned out to be a little too hard to stretch on larger sizes for me. So now I have these pre-stretched beautiful linens and could concentrate on priming them. As the title of this blog indicates, this may seem a humble task, but it's one I love. First you have these flax colored raw linen surfaces, beautiful in that stage too,and looking at them gives you a real feeling of their size. Then when you start putting on the gesso from the center out and feel the tension from the shrinkage of the linen building up surprisingly fast it's wonderful to see that white surface grow. The first layer is always uneven, needs maybe some sanding before the second goes on, but then you get this pristine white plane, inviting your thoughts on what could become of this (always something else as I imagine!)
Preparing canvases is not just about preparing surfaces, it's also about preparing yourself to paint, to gain intimate knowledge of your materials, the tension of the linen, the texture and the size. It's only later in life that I discovered that doing every humble task as if it is the most important one, is one of the Buddhist principles, it's all about being in the moment and doing what is at hand to the best of your abilities and with full concentration - no multi tasking here!
I live by this credo and it makes life infinitely pleasant!


Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Marina Broere said...

Thank you so much, Ruth! It's a pleasure to hear from you!