14 February 2018

Starting and stopping

It being half term at Morley College as well as at schools throughout the land, instead of printing woodblocks I am stuck at home with The Footballers. The piece has been lying on the floor for a week, and six scenes are still to be painted, plus there's the tricky matter of laying out the fabric in between the scenes, after which it will be quilted in parallel, narrowly-spaced straight lines, avoiding the figures. So, it's a long way from being finished, at the moment.

The quilting will lead to a lot of loose threads on the back, like in this sample -
I intend to darn them all in. And I'll keep checking that the backing fabrics behave themselves. Adding the backing as a facing, with just a bit of stitch to hold it in place, is getting to be an ever more attractive possibility, though.

As the morning slides past and lunchtime approaches, everything is ready for the painting - but here I am at the computer, pursuing other objectives: booking tickets for talks, answering overdue emails, doing a few "lessons" in the current online courses (music notation has been started, palaeography awaits). I wonder why I'm so avidly "filling the time" - to have an interesting life, right! - and am concerned that still, in the wisdom of age, I'm not able to do the important things until they become urgent. Deadline? oh, it's more than a week away ... no need to panic just yet - even though one of the delights of not having a day job is that tasks can take as long as they need ... panic is supposed to be a thing of the past. (As for emotional panic, that's another matter, and mentioned only in passing.)
So there it all is - several tubes of useful new paint, and lots of brushes, and three images off to a good start. 

The great insight that hit me is this - having it lying there is a disincentive. The ritual of getting the materials out, and putting them away after the session, is so important. Going into the studio to collect the paints, brushes, palette-plate, etc takes only a minute - and that action is the start of the actual work, it's like starting the flywheel turning. One thing will lead to another - the paint will be squeezed out, the brush will be chosen, the first mark will be made, and another and another.

Then there's the difficulty of stopping. I like to have a time in mind, even though this harks back to the day job and subverts the dream of having allllll dayyy in the studio. "Little and often"? And the putting away of materials - good studio practice! - is part of the stopping; time has to be allowed for cleanup. 

Stopping in the middle of a sentence, as it were, has its advocates - it's easy to pick up the thread, they say. Tidy people, though, might want to finish the task, and have in mind what needs doing next.

These are on my list for today. You can see from the pixelation, and the rough cutting, that they are quite small - about 2" high, if that. 

No comments: