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Now that I have a small first collection of pigments to play with before new plants can be tested next summer (I do have some old dried things I can try too), there are multiple ways to use them. They need some kind of binder, although I suppose you could just soak them in water. Alcohol? But even watercolours have binders added to add intensity to the colour as well as make it stick to your paper.
You can use oil, egg, honey*, gum, shellac, wax, milk, spit! or buy readymade binders for a variety of mediums. Even an acrylic binder which I may just have to test, although I’m leaning towards wax and shellac since I plan on working with that anyway.
Rainy grey day today, a reminder that soon, soon, I’ll want to stay indoors for days on end, playing rotisserie in front of the wood stove, rushing through and not around the outside of the barn to get to my studio upstairs. Thinking in muted tones and drinking buckets of tea, layering up in wool sweaters and socks.
Only a week ago I was in the hammock on a beautiful warm, quiet day with that certain something in the air that is no longer summer – not the least an unusual gathering of birdies doing acrobatics over the garden. It took me a long while to realize that I had brought my phone for a change and that it does in fact make videos (because forget taking a still photo of the little speedsters).
Didn’t get ready today to show you a full version of my pigment experiment as planned, as I’ve had other things to attend to. So I thought I’d show you my latest finding, a book press which I thought could help me get water out of new paper sheets, rather than stacking cinderblocks on the floor. One way of tackling multiple projects could be doing so as efficiently as possible!
Last week I mentioned the absurdity of a health challenged person embarking on time consuming physical tasks such as gathering natural malerials, making paper, prepping and studying new branches of the art tree, and it surprised me that nobody mentioned “productive procrastination” aka Resistance. (dah-dah-DAAAAA)
Because really, it’s exactly what I’m doing. After all I am the champion of painting these colourful random backgrounds and then leaving them for years while deciding how to proceed because I never had a plan. Not having a plan and just slathering colour is a GREAT way to beat performance anxiety if you feel like you can’t get started, it will get you into the groove or at least the studio. Unfortunately, when you come back 2 weeks later after a migraine etc, you’re not really “feeling it” (pout) and it’s so much more fun to begin something else. (especially if you spent your downtime on Pinterest) Otoh you don’t want to keep erasing the same two pieces of board or canvas in all eternity, because you wholeheartedly intend to finish all those wips, obviously. (I do finish paintings actually, but a lot of them are testing ideas and methods and not really for publication. Not that I don’t on occasion publish them anyway…)
And then it’s so easy to pull the “as long as I show up and do something it counts, so how about clearing the table and gessoing ALL the things to make the workspace nice and ready?”-card. Or the “I should totally make it my thing to paint on my own handmade paper, to make it sooper special”-card. That is what I call productive procrastination, you use new and exciting endeavours as an excuse to put difficult projects on hold. Because you’re still working, right? And “each of my hobbies spark the others, right?”
I guess I’m especially disadvantaged here, because even if I lack ideas for halfdone images all the time, I have a supply for 2-3 lifetimes in general. It’s just that they veer off in every possible direction; forget about lining up ducks, my thoughts are gibbons.
I think I know what I lack, however: Stories. If I had a collection of those, I could always pair them up with a background. I’d like for something to happen in a painting, not just pretty colours arranged in a pleasing combination. I don’t want to try my hand at realism per se, but I’m getting bored with empty landscapes. A suggestion of figures, or an imprint of some sort is what I’m looking for. Does that make sense?
So how do I go about finding and collecting stories, and how would you keep track of them? Write them down? “Fat man walking tiny dog in November”. Or by making a lot of sketches of stuff (but even then, doesn’t the story come first?) Working from photos or real life doesn’t really light my fire unless I see something unusual (which can be turned into a story). I don’t go out much, so I don’t see a whole lot of unusual things.
Well, at least I’ve come a ways since I started talking about this years ago, I do actually paint a lot more than I did then. Having my own room in the loft has also helped enormously, and I have a bag of tricks to get me going, so all I really need is more uninterrupted time. And stories.
To begin with I’m taking note of all the recurring themes and keywords which overlap all of my interests to see which ones can be used as a common base, then make a list of activities in each hobby which fit those parameters and perhaps weed out the ones that don’t, for now. And in the way of stories I collect quirky titles and sentences to peruse when I need inspiration.
Breaking news: We had a rain storm Saturday evening and my water barrel is completely full. That means I can begin testing for my new plant pigment project. To be used with my handmade papers obviously. I’ll even test them on yarns.