Working, Working, Working

Working helps keep my mind off my troubling thoughts for the most part, but not always. I can often get too deep into my crazy brain when making art if I’m not careful, especially while doing repetitive work. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

Doing art the first time is nice and all, but doing it four additional times isn’t exactly what I’d call “fun.” But I’m the one who decided to do this. And when I decide I want to do something (and get going on it), then I most likely have to finish it. Otherwise, I’ll have to beat myself up about it until it’s completed. But, I’d probably beat myself up about it anyway. Ha.

In any case, I’ve been making a ton of progress on Outlander, and I will be at the precipice of finishing it, just as I have to embark upon getting my garage ready for the open studio event. I’m not sure how it will shake out exactly, but I’m sure I’ll be able to get at least one of the books completed soon and before I get things prepared, if not just to satisfy my curiosity. I mean, I think I have to!

This past weekend, I was able to finish all the fold-out maps, which was almost like a miracle or something. That was one of the three bigger jobs of the book—the others being the lino block prints (which wasn’t all that time-consuming after all), and the last task being the two watercolor paintings. I’m working on the paintings now.

I’m just glad the maps are done. They took me a while, and they were pretty repetitive, which was a bit of a double-edged sword. Part of that was therapeutic. It was like being a kid again and coloring in my coloring books. But it also put me in the mindset of being a kid. Sort of feeling hurt and angry and alone, too much in my head. Too many nasty feelings. I kept thinking about my relationships with dead people, or people who are just gone. Why?!

But at least the maps are silly and fun. I think I like how they turned out in the end. It usually takes me a while to like what I do. I never like what I make right when I finish because I’ve been staring at it for far too fucking long.

As soon as I finished all five of these and folded them into maps, I set up to make the watercolors.

I’ve been switching between using watercolor tubes and pans now. Since I got the new pan set, I find myself using it more and more—maybe more than the tubes, but I’m still using both.

I finished the first two watercolor paintings late yesterday, and they took all day. I didn’t even stop to eat. When I started on them, it was still dark outside, so I don’t even know how many hours I worked on them.

I don’t know if the first one is done, as I think I still need to change the coloring of the creek, so it definitely reads as water.

I needed to do both of these over a magnifier light because they’re pretty teeny tiny, about four inches high. Now my neck is stiff from having my nose pressed up against the side of the light for the entire day, and for the thought of another day of doing it again.

Come tomorrow though, my plan is to start on the garage. That’s what’s on the calendar, so that’s what’s going to happen—no dice on finishing these. And if I’m going to do more watercolor painting, it really should be to make some small watercolors for the open studios. I know my work is expensive, so the more affordable work I can sell to people, the better. And I’m pretty sure that’s what the people coming on the tour have come to expect. I’m almost certain of it.

The first thing I have to do when starting on the garage, and I’m not looking forward to it, organize my flat files. They are in complete disarray. I never put any flat work where it was supposed to go when I moved here. I’d previously kept in plastic portfolios, then dumped it all out into the drawers as I need certain things all willy-nilly. Now I don’t even know where to go when I need something. I’m always searching for whatever, plus every drawer is stuffed. I truly need another set of drawers, but they are goddamn expensive. It’s a huge racket!

Anyway, the only drawer that’s organized is the book drawer, which always looks, more or less, like this. This picture is from Rubber Soul. I’ve made a few more books since then, but it’s always pretty meticulous. What can I say, I’m predominately a neat freak.

Once I get the garage set up, I’ll probably take pictures, even though I’m not that proud of how it’s going to look. (Like I said—a neat freak). Ultimately, I wish I could show off an actual “studio space,” and I’m not doing that here. It’s my art storage space, plus our household storage (a regular ole garage). Inviting people into it feels…almost disingenuous because I do not make my art in there. It’s called “open studios,” after all. But trafficking people through the house doesn’t work. It’s hard enough to bring people into the garage. Luckily, it faces the street, and there’s a driveway as well.

I have to hang most of my art from one side of the storage shelving—another thing that bothers me. I figured out a way to use curtain rod hooks. It’s all feels rigged and not studio-like at all. I have to use a few easels to block access to other parts of the garage in hopes that no one sees the rest of the storage mess (boxes, luggage, tools, toilet paper, supplies, etc.). My perfectionist brain is on fire I tell you. But as the kids say, it is what it is. Nothing I can do about it.

Okay, off to work I guess.

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