Thursday, January 15, 2009

Studio Tip for January

Keeping my studio neat and clean is always a challenge: there are aspects of painting that just demand mess, and I'd rather spend most of my time messing around in the stuff than cleaning it up.

But there are some useful strategies that I use consistently.

Here is an image of my painting set-up - and no, it isn't really slanted, I'm just photo challenged at times. I recently arranged my easel and palette in this configuration because, well, I think I saw where some really famous artist painted this way so I thought if I did, too, some of the creative talent would rub off...I digress....

I decided to try painting with my palette in front of me and between my body and my easel. I have a tendency to get too close to my painting surface and not step back enough, so I logically concluded that by putting a barrier here that would cure me.

I actually like the set-up now that I'm used to it. I discovered that with my still life setups, I am able to maintain proper perspective instead of looking from one position and then trying to paint and compare from another position. Maybe Cezanne would have sympathy for this predicament.

My studio tip, though, has nothing to do with all the above. I'm just feeling chatty today and writing about perfectly inane things.

There's the tip, actually two tips:

to cover my black table (seen here beneath my palette) I use adhesive, clear shelf paper. I pull it off when the surface gets too grungy and put on a fresh piece. Sometimes the left-over adhesive - from when I pull the old piece off -- remains on the surface but I clean that off with some Simple Green and careful use of a razor blade. I really don't know if it matters whether you use clear or solid shelf paper, I just like the black table to show through because it helps me with values.

On my watercolor tables (which I use for flat work) I cover them with freezer paper, shiny side face up, taped down. I use the clear packing tape because artist's blue tape doesn't hold very well on the shiny surface, and I like this side up because it cleans easily and keeps stuff from sinking in to the paper. Then whenever I want a clean workspace, I replace my papers.


Celeste Bergin said...

Hi Susan! thanks so much for visiting my blog. I am so happy to meet another Oregon painter! This is a good tip you have shared. I sometimes work like this (at a table top easel on a drafting table). I like your paper-cover suggestion. Maybe we will run into each other "in the field" one day!

VickiRossArt said...

good tips! I'm in my new house, painting temporarily on my breakfast room table...great north light, but I miss my big Sorg easel. I've been using an adult absorbent pad on my table...some kind of plastic with padding inside for pepe issues, I guess.

thought I'd go get some oil cloth, but haven't.