Intent, After Degas
Pastel & Charcoal
The other day I found Dadaist, Erik Satie, via Sippican Cottage, and I was amused by the story of the state of his studio after he died. No one except Satie had there entered for twenty-seven years, you see. Among the histoire his friends uncovered were love letters and his portrait rendered by his vrai amour, the painter and pastelist Suzanne Valadon. Also they discovered seven velvet suits, many unpublished songs, some drawings and way too many umbrellas. What will be found in your studio when they come to collect your corpus?
Since the studio has been my steady haunt, lately, I can offer you these ten tips for studio practice. Bonus: Here are ten that I published two years ago.
1. Lay out all of your drawing tools, such as charcoal (all sizes), graphite, erasers, stomps, knife and so forth. Once I did this, it increased my tendency to form my paintings around sound drawings.
2. Have lots of surface area. I have a ladder studio organizer, a custom made 2.5 foot by 7 foot by 3 foot table, an extra full size easel that lays down as a table, and several knock down tables of various sizes.
3. Make some room for your art library. I use a surplus bookshelf and some wall shelves that are bracket mounted.
4. Lately I have been mounting my newly finished works on a piece of Fome core or GatorBord and hanging them with a bulldog clip on a nail. I can reference my current direction that way.
5. Peg board. The young 'uns may not remember that funny board with holes and pegs that hardware stores used for all of their displays. Find them at your hardware store - ask the kid there what it is. Here's how to install one.
6. On my pegboards, I hang rulers, tape, architects square, clips and clamps, my field easel and bag, utility knife, and so forth. Everything's handy.
7. My eye doctor has me washing my eyelids with baby shampoo. It treats my lifelong blepharitis, but we all receive a lot of studio contaminates in our eyes. I use Johnson's and apply with my fingers.
8. Speaking of studio environmental hazards, I also use a hand barrier cream rather than gloves when I paint with pastels. Works great. I tried to find the one I use, but Murphy's Law took effect and it is discontinued. This one looks a little more expensive, but not as much as others on the market, either.
9. A pair of studio slippers helps keep you from tracking dirt to the house.
10. You need a few breaks for the mind. I always have a pair of binoculars at hand in order to keep track of the prairie animals. Of course, you never leave them on the windowsill, right?