Inside the Artist's Studio: The Process

Q :: What does my typical day look like?

As an artist, I have to pursue different streams of income and that means different ways of being creative. I work for an art gallery, I teach art classes, and I paint. 


I work according to something like a block schedule. Or I guess it's more like having an order of what to tackle first. Like having a routine.


I'll start my day with computer work: checking emails, marketing, updating my website, checking statistics.


Next, I'll "do things": run errands, go to work, teach, get after house chores. It's my active, walking around, doing stuff block of time since it's when I have the most energy.


Before my last time block, I take a quick break. After my midday burst of energy is gone, I need to reboot.


Finally, I paint. I always prefer end of the day to be creative. Now, my mind is cleared of anything needing my attention and I can crank up the music and just go with the flow.

Q :: What is my favorite music to listen to while working?

Part of what dictates my movements as I apply paint to canvas is the music I listen to. The tempo will guide my hand as I push paint or cue when to lift my brush.


My favorite playlist is Oldies from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Lately, I've been creeping more into the 80s but Motown still has my heart. If you wanna put me in a good mood, put on Stevie Wonder.


I also have a playlist that's upbeat, one that's positive, and one that's chill but not too chill. I don't like to paint slow and choose music that fits my natural rhythm of moving.


Whatever I choose at the beginning of a new piece or collection, I tend to stick with until the end. That way my movements and marks are cohesive throughout.

Q :: How do I layer my artwork?

I was notorious for finishing in just one layer when I started painting abstracts. A one layer wonder! Eventually, I became frustrated with this as I saw other artists creating beautiful pieces using many layers. 


The thing is: I didn't know how to do it.


So one day I asked my mentor to help me with this challenge and to not let me stop painting until I have reached six layers. A big stretch for me!


That same day, I had watched a video lesson on limited color palettes and the teacher's creative process forever changed how I make abstracts; draw, paint, draw, paint.


Having grown up drawing, something turned on inside of me and I could clearly see how to start and finish. It was a pivotal moment in my art and I still use this approach today.


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