Barbara at work on “Schemer,” Soft Pastel on Sandpaper, 26” x 20”
A: I’ll describe a typical day at the studio. When I first arrive in the morning, I read for 30 minutes. Reading focuses and quiets my mind and gets me ready to begin the day’s work. While I read, I look at the pastel painting that’s on my easel to see where to begin. Then I close the book, turn on some music, plug in the Halogen lamps I use while working, apply a barrier cream to my hands, put on a surgical mask (to avoid breathing pastel dust), pick up a pastel, and start.
I never sit while working. I enjoy the physicality of art-making and prefer to stand at my easel so I can back up to see how the pastel painting looks from a distance. I like being on my feet all day and getting some exercise. I work for a couple of hours, break for lunch, and then work the rest of the afternoon.
I believe artists need to be disciplined. I work five days a week, taking Wednesdays and Sundays off, and spend seven hours or more per day in the studio. Daylight is essential so I work more hours in summer, fewer in winter. I like to think of art-making as independent of time tables, but I tend to work in roughly two-hour blocks before taking a break. I typically work until 5:00 or so.
Studio hours are sacrosanct and exclusively for creative work. I do not have WiFi at my studio and prefer to keep my computer and mobile devices elsewhere (they devour time). Art business activities – answering email, keeping up with social media, sending jpegs, writing blog posts, doing interviews, etc. – are accomplished at home in the mornings, in the evenings, and on days off from the studio.
Comments are welcome!
Barbara at work, Photo: Marianne Barcellona
A: No, I never sit while working. I enjoy the physicality of art-making and prefer to stand at my easel so I can back up to see how a painting looks from a distance. I like being on my feet all day and getting some exercise.
In order to accomplish anything, artists need to be disciplined. I work five days a week, taking Wednesdays and Sundays off, and spend seven hours or more in the studio. Daylight is necessary so I work more hours in summer, fewer in winter. I deliberately don’t have a clock on the wall – art-making is independent of timetables – but I tend to work in roughly two-hour blocks before taking a break.
Studio hours are sacrosanct and exclusively for creative work. I keep my computer and mobile devices out of the studio. Art business activities – answering email, keeping up with social media, sending jpegs, writing blog posts, doing interviews, etc. – are mostly accomplished at home in the evenings and on days off.
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2016, An Artist's Life, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Creative Process, New York, NY, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Working methods
Tags: accomplish, accomplished, activities, answering, anything, art-making, artists, backing, before, business, computer, creative, deliberately, devices, disciplined, distance, easel, evenings, exclusively, exercise, fewer, getting, habits, important, independent, interviews, keeping, mobile, mostly, necessary, painting, physicality, prefer, roughly, sacrosanct, sending, social media, Studio, summer, Sundays, taking, timetables, Wednesdays, winter, Writing
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Two facts differentiate Daybook from my work in visual art.
The first is the simple safety of numbers. There are 6500 Daybooks in the world. My contribution to them was entirely mental, emotional. I never put my hand on a single copy of these objects until I picked up a printed book. I made no physical effort; no blood, no bone marrow moved from me to them. I do not mean that I made no effort. On the contrary, the effort was excruciating because it was so without physical involvement, so entirely hard-wrought out of nothing physical at all; no matter how little of the material world goes into visual art, something of it always does, and that something keeps you company as you work. There seems to me no essential difference in psychic cost between visual and literary effort, The difference is in what emerges as result. A work of visual art is painfully liable to accident; months of concentration and can be destroyed by a careless shove. Not so 6500 objects. This fact gives me a feeling of security like that of living in a large, flourishing, and prosperous family.
Ancillary to this aspect is the commonplaceness of a book. People do not have to go much out of their way to get hold of it, and they can carry it around with them and mark it up, and even drop it in a tub while reading in a bath. It is a relief to have my work an ordinary part of life, released from the sacrosanct precincts of galleries and museums. A book is also cheap. Its cost is roughly equivalent to its material value as an object, per se. This seems to me more healthy than the price of art, which bears no relation to its quality and fluctuates in the marketplace in ways that leave it open to exploitation. An artist who sells widely has only to mark a piece of paper for it to become worth an amount way out of proportion to its original cost. This aspect of art has always bothered me, and is one reason why I like teaching; an artist can exchange knowledge and experience for money in an economy as honest as that of a bricklayer.
Anne Truitt in Turn: The Journal of an Artist
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2015, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Creative Process, Inspiration, New York, NY, Pastel Painting, Pearls from Artists, Photography, Quotes, Studio, Working methods
Tags: "Daybook", "From Pilot to Painter", "Turn: The Journal of an Artist", accident, accustomed, amout, ancillary, Anne Truitt, around, art, artist, aspect, bath, bears, become, blood, bone, book, bothered, bricklayer, careless, carry, cheap, commonplaceness, company, concentration, contrary, contribution, cost, cover, destroyed, difference, differentiate, drop, ebook, economy, effort, emerges, emotional, entirely, equivalent, essential, exchange, excruciating, experience, facts, family, feeling, flourishing, fluctuates, galleries, gives, hand, hard-wrought, healthy, hold, honest, involvement, knowledge, large, liable, life, literary, little, living, long, mark, marketplace, marrow, material, matter, mean, mental, money, months, moved, museums, never, nothing, numbers, object, ordinary, original, painfully, paper, part, people, physical, picked, piece, precincts, price, printed, producing, proportion, prosperous, psychic, quality, reading, reason, relation, released, relief, result, roughly, sacrosanct, safety, security, sells, shove, simple, single, something, teaching, tub, value, visual, widely, without, work, world, worth