Today’s Art Thoughts

I’ve been thinking about what I want to work on for next year’s solo show, which will be high desert-themed. My rusty brain gears have been cranking around, turning in what feels like wet clay, kneading something new. It’s all evolving, but into what, I’m not yet sure.

I’ve shown my Joshua Tree series in the past. And I will show some of those pieces (as I was asked to), but I want to work on something new as well. I want to bring the work to a new place and go somewhere I haven’t been yet. I have these kinds of thoughts pretty much every time I have a show on the horizon. I don’t want to do the same old thing. I want to challenge myself and do things that make me uncomfortable.

What would really take me out of my comfort zone? Probably getting messy or painting with my fingers. OMG, I’d hate that! Getting one little smear of paint on my hands drives me nuts. If you knew how anal and meticulous I was, you’d think I was a non-artist. Maybe you think that anyway.

I use disinfectant wipes throughout my painting process as to not get paint on my hands. I guess it’s pretty OCD, but my intention is always to loosen up. It’s hard. It’s taken me a lifetime to loosen up as much as I have, even if it doesn’t look that way. I try to go left when my gut tells me to go right. I push myself to make opposite decisions, but it’s not easy to do because I’m also a total control freak. It’s an ongoing, inner battle. Although painting is very therapeutic, it’s not a “relaxing” endeavor at all.

When I went to my gallery the other day, Craig wanted me to bring in a few of the desert paintings. He specifically asked for Desert Matrix and Sequestered.

He took me in the back and we pulled out Off the Grid and he told me how much he loved that one.

While I’ve never exhibited the first two pieces as of yet, I’ve also never shown pieces like Turtle House, or Marci’s Trailer with Ice Creams, which I feel are quite a bit different. They’re a lot looser.

Am I the only one who sees a big difference between these works stylistically? Or am I high? I mean, I’m high, but am I mistaken?

I’d like to take pieces like this last one and go even more abstract. Even more sloppy if you will, but still addressing the landscape.

In the meantime, I have two larger watercolors drawn out already. I put them on paper before my surgery and they are ready to go. They are more along the lines of Off the Grid and Sequestered.

The top one is 16 x 20 inches and the bottom one is 23 x 30 inches, and they will both take some time.

With that, there will be those two, two small 7 x 10s, plus Sequestered that will all need to be framed in the same way that Off the Grid is, which is floating in a very nice maple frame. That’s a bit of an expense, and that’s the issue with watercolors.

It’s pretty interesting how works on paper are always expected to cost less than an oil painting. It’s not that I’m about to change my pricing or anything, but I think this is pure bullshit. Watercolor paintings take just as long to make. Then, once you frame them, they cost just as much in materials as oil paintings. A 24 x 30-inch canvas can cost somewhere about fifty bucks. Oil paint can be about the same–per tube. But you don’t typically don’t use a whole tube on one painting.

Watercolor paper is a lot cheaper for the same size. Maybe five bucks. A whole set of good watercolors is nearly a hundred bucks. A good frame for a watercolor for that size can run you close to $300, depending on the frame job. You’ve probably just spent more money on materials on exhibiting the watercolor than the oil painting. Yet, you ask around half the price. Tell me, how is that right?

As I said, I’m not going to adjust my prices because it’s not right, but it really is some bullshit. And if one wants to bring up how oil paintings are more archival, that is some bullshit too. If you use good paper, high-quality watercolor paint, and frame it behind UV glass, watercolors can last hundreds of years too. It is up to the collector to take good care of their art (and their own possessions) for Christ’s sake. And how long should art last anyway? If it should last forever, maybe all artists need to raise their prices. Cars certainly don’t last forever.

That’s my opinion, and I know I’ve ranted about this before. But I’m a living, breathing windbag.

Speaking of watercolors, this morning I’ve been working on the third sheet of the last pages of Outlander.

These watercolors are taking forever because they have a lot of little details and because I’m not working on them consistently either. I think I can finish this one up today. The left-side one is done. Then I’ll only have two more sheets (four more watercolor paintings) to go before I can start binding them together. Exciting!

I mentioned before that I was going to be doing a variation of a simple pamphlet stitch binding, which goes like this:

Seems simple enough. Though, I can’t find a picture of the little cross-over idea I have. I’m not even sure it can be done, but I’m going to attempt it. It looks like a Coptic stitch, but it’s not, of course, as there aren’t any signatures. They will be faux stitches with a different colored thread (natural) to contrast the rust-colored one I’m using for the pamphlet stitch part. I’ll try a dummy one today and try to take a picture. That is, if it works.

Fingers crossed.

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