My Work Routine

First things first, my typical work day starts with coffee: I wake up, grind the beans, steam the milk, and using my 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 in my stomach.

Once I got enough coffee coursing through my veins I go into the studio space. 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. I arrange the colors in a specific sequence on the palette and mix the gradations I’ll be using first. Everything must be in a specific place. I paint using my muscle memory so 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 as I step into and away from the canvas. Once the motion starts, I am on my way to a productive working day.

When I feel less than excited about working, all it takes is going through the motions of setting up the palette and placing myself in the right position to get me started. 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 takes. Then suddenly it hits me, what needs to happen and off I go.

I don’t go wandering off waiting for inspiration; I get in the right place and wait. For those rare occasions when waiting is not enough, I look at other people’s work. Books and magazines are very handy in what I do. I can look at an art book 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. Although you know the technique of how it was made you don’t know how it was made in fact, all the millions utterly personal things that go into making it, you just see the final product as a mysterious wonder. Looking at the work of artists I admire can be almost overwhelming. 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.