“I’ve been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas, I just think about it.” ~ Steven Wright

Saturday morning, and I am seated in the kitchen, my table easel and gouache paints set up ready for action, my laptop displaying an image chosen from the Reference Image Library at WetCanvas.com and a series of knitting podcasts (mostly recent episodes of Cast On and Sticks & String) lined up to keep my ears entertained as I paint. I have several hours of alone-time available for artmaking. Rare bliss!

It’s been a long time since I experienced the joy of taking my time over a picture. I am learning about these Schmincke paints: how to mix my limited secondary palette, how to apply them to this support (I know little about the pack of five painting/pastel boards that a friend gifted me a while ago, except that this is my first time experimenting with them and the surface seems very happy to accept the gouache). My work in progress:

I will finish the freesias over the next few days, having decided that from now on, I should set aside at least one or two evenings every week for painting. I have slid into a habit of doing very little creating during evening hours, but the restrictions which prevented me from doing so when my daughter was really little aren’t relevant now, and these are cumulative hours I know I could be using much more creatively. I simply need to turn up at the easel and get on with it. Why that “simply” should often turn out to be so much harder than it sounds has been examined very perceptively in Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland (a book I would highly recommend to anyone struggling with what they’d consider “artist’s block”) but I’m happy to report that today, on this sunny, solitary Saturday spent at my kitchen table, I got to a point I haven’t reached in many months: one where I felt that painting – yer actual painting, not just stolen moments with a sketchbook and pen – was possible again.

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