My Work Routine

First things first, my typical work day starts with coffee: I wake up, grind the beans, steam the milk, and using an espresso machine make an extra strength cappuccino which I enjoy with a slice of banana bread (that I bake myself) so I don’t rip out the lining of my stomach with all that caffeine.

Once I got enough coffee coursing through my veins I go into the studio. When I am working with acrylics there is no “warm up”. The material is already premixed in pots so I just pick up where I left off. The routine is different when I am working with oil colors. Depending on what I’m working on I’ll arrange the colors in a specific sequence on the palette and mix some of the gradations I’ll be using first. I paint in such a way as everything is laid out in such a wise I shouldn’t be having to think where a specific brush is or where to find the color I am looking for.

The whole process resembles a ritual.

When I feel less than excited about working, all it takes is going through the motions of setting up the palette. Starting work with acrylics is a little different. I just put myself in the working position and stand there looking at the work. Anywhere from five minutes to half an hour just standing there looking at the work is all it usually takes. Then it hits me, what needs to happen next and off I go. Discipline using regular hours and repeated steps, it’s damn unromantic when you get right down to it.  On the other hand, I don’t have lists of collectors clamouring for my work yet so maybe I got it all wrong and it needs to be romanticked up a bit with paint on everything and empty wine bottles strewn around, half finished canvases stacked all over and half dressed models sauntering about the place. Oh well.

I don’t go wandering off waiting for inspiration; I get in the right place and wait. The ideas I’ve been developing I got from somewhere when I was a kid and I haven’t really had any new ones but I suppose with enough work completed and those ideas investigated thoroughly one could move on to other ideas, you got to experiment to go there but experimenting sucks because mostly they fail. I do look at art books and go to galleries and museums, I can look at a painting I have seen a million times and yet always find something new in it. Looking at other people’s work confirms the reality of what I am doing. You know everything that went into your own work; that is not the case when it comes to the work of others, their work is the work of sorcery. Although you know the technique of it you don’t know how it was made in fact, all the millions utterly personal things that go into it, you just see the final product as a mysterious wonder. Looking at the work of artists I admire can be almost overwhelming and sometimes downright depressing, how do they do it? I can’t help but ask myself, how did this happen? Seeing the result of another painter’s vision and inspiration makes me want to be part of that, so I pick up my brush and get to work. After coffee and banana bread, that is.