By Linda Lover
No matter how great my intentions are of keeping everything neat and clean, usually the plan goes awry. I’m more focused on my painting than I am in keeping a spotless work environment I guess. My water basin seems to suffer the most as it’s seldom without water as I paint most days. And the plastic cloth covering my painting table is a good reference for colors that I’ve used. It’s where I pre-blend or work paint into the bristle since there doesn’t seem to be a palette big enough for this. Occasionally I will cover the work area with a large sheet of clean paper when I begin a new project and it isn’t long before it becomes a sample of all the colors I’m using.
It’s great to have a studio or an entire room set aside for painting, but if you have a small space, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. Once I saw a man painting on the sidewalk of a harbor and his supplies were in paper coffee cups and he only had 4 brushes. His work was fantastic. When I started out, I had only a small handful of brushes and was able to accomplish much with them. It was only after working with a brush company that I began to acquire many more brushes.
I used to mix my paint more often “back in the day”, too, as there weren’t as many colors, and sometimes I still find myself preferring a bit of a mix. I like to mix blues and browns for more natural looking nature greys. I also like to mix flesh tones. When I need a shade color for reds, I will often mix the red I’m using in a project with the green that’s also being used. Now I use Sharon’s soft scrub brush basin which has been an improvement over the canning jar of water I used to keep on my table. It sure eliminates the work in a final cleaning of brushes as the soft sponge removes most of the paint while I work. When you see the photos, Sharon…sorry for making such a mess of your fine product, however, it still cleans just a good as when it was brand new and the sponge has stayed in tact.
If you enjoy painting or even would love to give it a try, a great amount of space isn’t mandatory and with all the stackables these days, supplies can be stored conveniently and efficiently. I still find myself browsing thrift stores and yard sales for surfaces to paint. Occasionally I run across some really nice frames, too, or ones that can be fixed with a coat of paint.
Used canvas is also a bargain when you can find it, a coat of gesso and it’s a new beginning. Painting is a way to add a personal touch to decor, create gifts from the heart and hand, and even earn a little money by teaching or selling. But most important, I find that it’s a part of me, a reflection of how I see things, what I want to share with others and very often it can rekindle beautiful memories.
It’s about color, ideas, and self expression. This is a great time to try painting if you haven’t already, and you really don’t need a lot of space. With spring and summer, this would be a perfect time to give plein air a try. Or just take a sketch book or use a camera to explore the avenues of inspiration all around us from a village street to a country stream.
Take a really good look at the sky, study the trees and birds, examine a flower from the stem to the detailed centers and don’t forget the wildflowers and weeds. Everything around is just waiting to bring out the artist in us.