Saturday, May 22, 2010

”Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway .” -- Eleanor Roosevelt

It is nice to paint at home, and in many ways is my preference, but as an artist it’s sometimes important to get out of your personal space; it can get isolating and all too consuming.

Point being when my partner said to me; “Honey, isn’t it easier to paint little canvases?” I knew it was time to get a painting space. The paintings were stacking up; the mess was in our home space.

Like many artists, I struggle to keep my studio. It is financially draining. The advantages are many. Should I go through the short list? Well, having a “room of one’s own” (Virginia Woolf) allows for a certain creative advantage.

You have a space that is yours, your creative space, which is what you do there. That is what you go there for. It’s your space and your paints are where you know they are, your canvas is ready. Your routine is waiting. You go when you don’t feel like going because you need to go. So you paint, you doodle, or you find an excuse to hang out at the local café to talk about what you should be painting, but you create.

My studio is on shared floor with other artists in a building located in the Media Gulch section of the Mission. We are lucky as so many of the studio spaces in San Francisco are quite large and crowded. Although we all have private studios, we often gather in the kitchen or each other’s studios to share what we are working on/ what’s going on show wise/ what’s the word on the street and the proverbial artist meltdowns. It’s rewarding to share and sometimes comical to compare what we all go through in the process.

Last week, artist Kirsten Tradowsky ( was hanging out and was kind enough to give me a pretty intensive critique on the painting that I am working on, Bi-Rite Market. Was such a help, she pointed out things that I was aware of, but had not come to the surface for me. I went back to the canvas, made changes and was able to move forward. She gave me some real insight around the difference of my drawings vs. my paintings. (BTW, I love her work, so much that I am proud to say that I bought one of her paintings… it’s of theater chairs and so fits into the space that I live in, being a converted loft movie theater from the 1920’s.) The benefit of working in a community, trading off - helping each other through our meltdowns.

Kirsten’s painting in my home below

Continuing to work on the painting of the Bi-Rite market, taking my time to reflect my love for this oasis. I would say that I am about 70% done… now begins the real work around finishing the painting. I am at the place where I need to back off and just take a look before doing the finishing work (this is where it is a plus to paint from home).

Taking a break, I went back into the Lower Haight Roof View painting. I had said it was done, but it wasn’t. The painting had been layered in with the intention of a fog view. Then that pesky heat wave hit. I just could not get into painting fog. I know it’s not done, so back to it.

Interesting. I have learned and have done a lot of introspective from my conversation with Kirsten. My experimentation and work has been focused on color, and now I think it’s time to pull together color and line and drawing to move forward in my creative goal.

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