Friday, January 2, 2009

Art Blog: Necessary EVILS

Are you ever busy working and feel anxious because you feel like you need to get something done? In other words, you are getting things done, but you feel like you are wasting time. Am I making sense here? Probably not. Anyway, that happens to me all the time. I will be in full blown work mode and think; I have got to get busy doing what I am supposed to be doing. Then I realize I AM WORKING! Duh. Never mind. You have to be here (in my mind).

I feel like I am all a buzz today with required, but unstimulating activities. I feel like I am dawdling. I am not really. I am getting some boring detail work done. I have to take some work down to a gallery on Sunday. Believe it or not, I actually joined a local artist group. (2009 Goals, you know?) They are having a show in the next few weeks. So I am prepping the work for the show. I made some gallery statements and now I am getting the paintings ready to go. Somehow I feel like this is mindless ado.

This is the part of being an artist I hate. I don’t like the busy work. I remember when I used to stretch my own canvases. OMG! I dreaded that. Then I realized it was worth the extra money to buy prestretched canvas! Now if those canvases only came with hook eyes and wire on the back, I would be delighted. That is what I am doing right now. I don’t like doing this kind of stuff, but it is a necessary evil.
Back to work Sheree………!

15 comments:

namastenancy said...

I hear you on the busy work and especially on the stretching canvas bit. When I went to art school back in the 60's, there was no pre-stretched canvas. Or, if there were, I didn't know about it and I spent many a frustrating hour trying to knock together a decent stretcher and then, even more frustrating hours trying to stretch the damn canvas properly. I never did do decent job (still can't ) so when I "Discovered" pre-stretched canvas, it was a real "Eureka" moment. Artist's statements - I hate that we have to come up with these; they always sound to pompous to me.
But when we are rich and famous, we can hire some art assistant to do all the scutt work.
HA! Well, a woman can dream, can't she?

Sheree Rensel said...

Ha! Yeah, I have an "art assistant". His name is Gizmo. He sits and watches me do the grunt work while he pants. I was thinking about the assistant issue the other day. Back in the late 70's I got to stay at ONE of Ron Gorchov's studio's. I slept on the floor of his assistant's studio. It really looked like an artist worked there. I got to go visit Ron's home studio and you couldn't tell an artist was anywhere in sight.
Oh and I think artist statements are pure B.S. I don't write the pompous kind. Mine are very simple, straightforward, and to the point. No artspeak allowed!

gilda said...

My arms are sore and I have a stitch in my side...not from energetic art making but from energetic Moving Art Stuff Around. I just want to see some clear space on the floor of my studio and free up wall space so I can start some drawings. Good for You, Sheree, for being proactive with the group and the upcoming show. I also dont stretch canvasses much any more. The ones I get are made really well, with splined edges and joints and they are super light-weight so this middle aged girl can tote them around! My time is much too valuable to wear out my knees and smash my thumb putting tacks in canvas. I work for the day, though, when I can hire one of the students around here to be an assistant!

deb said...

I haven't painted in years, not really painted, unfortunately my day job prints on canvas, and I can make a beautiful and almost invisible corner on a gallery wrap so I still get to stretch canvas every now and then!! As to artists statements, well if I could write, I wouldn't make art probably, I hate linear thinking, tooo difficult!

Sheree Rensel said...

Gilda!! You just made me realize I DO have art assistants! I just paid a student to cut about 100 blocks of wood for me! It was so cool because I sat there and looked at this huge box of wood. I needed all of the pieces to be a uniform size for a sculpture I am working on. I asked a kid in the shop class if I could pay him $5 to cut them all for me. He did it and his eyes lit up when I handed him the 5 dollar bill!! LOL LOL I guess I am coming up in the world! LOL LOL
As for the canvas thing, two years ago I switched from making my own cradled masonite canvases to buying gallery wrapped prestretched canvases for the very reason you mentioned. The weight was really getting to me. Now, I can whip one of those gallery wrapped babies around no problem!
BTW, you better be making a movie about the transformation of your studio!! Document, document, document!! :-)

Sheree Rensel said...

Deb,
I didn't know you worked a place likt that. I have been thinking of making some pieces to be printed on canvas. I will have to talk with you about this.
Also, you gave me an idea too! If I needed another day job, I would be a great artist statement writer. Even though I don't like writing my own, I can write a mean streak of ART SPEAK if necessary. In fact, I am so good at it, my statements would be quite verbose and unintelligible just like most of the "good" ones are! LOL LOL

Eva said...

I think it's good to learn how to stretch your own canvas and learn how to do it well. I have a friend who teaches now and students are just shocked that she requires them to do it!

But once you know how, Baby, nothing beats a canvas just waiting for the paint with no sweat involved!

Happy new year Sheree...

Sheree Rensel said...

Eva,
I ABSOLUTELY agree with you! In fact, I have seen YouTube videos about beginners trying to figure out how to stretch a canvas. I would sit here and think "Don't you know how to do that when you are born?" LOL I have forgotten all the things I had to LEARN a long time ago.
Also, you are right. The KNOWING how is so important. I was just working on some signage for this show. I was busily working and thinking "I am so glad I know how to do all this stuff now!" I thought this because I remember back in the day having to struggle with all the "how-tos". Things are so much easier now! Chalk up one for experience!

gilda said...

I agree! Students should learn how to stretch canvases, make medium, mix paint, all that stuff. It angers me when they just go to the store and buy canvasses. Then they complain about not having any money. Well, if you would buy yards of cotton duck and make your own stretcher bars you would save googobs of money that can be spent on paint! We require our fine art students to take a woodshop class in freshman year in order to get acclimated to the tools. Now, once you learn all this you can choose whether or not you are going to use them. I can still stretch a mean canvas, big ones too, but now I measure my time more carefully!

Sheree, thanks for the prod to video. I am going to my studio today to shoot some vid of all of the new "stuff" that was brought down yesterday. I am in the process of shuffling stuff around, trying to identify space for tool storage, art storage, which walls to do my drawings on, etc. I will talk as I walk and hopefully this process will help me settle some issues. I am thoroughly overwhelmed right now, and isnt that wonderful!

Sheree Rensel said...

Gilda,
I wish it would have been MANDATORY for us to take shop back when we were at Wayne State! I still struggle with tools. Since I didn't have a dad around all my life, there were no "men" to teach me. I learned everything I know by teaching myself. (However, that one boyfriend Paul Webb taught me a whole lot too...cough,cough...I mean about tools!!) LOL LOL LOL

Hey, make a LOT of video about your new studio. I want to see your studio transform. I really do!! Also, it will be a great document for you to look back on in the future. :-)

Sheree Rensel said...

P.S. Gilda,
I was thinking about your "save googobs" of money statement today. I get that. I remember when I was a student I didn't have a pot to piss in.
However, one thing that is great about being older, wiser, and having credit cards......I can afford pre-stretched canvas now.
Who-HAAAAA!
LOL

namastenancy said...

I always think of the stretching vs pre- stretched canvas as a trade off. Sure, stretching it yourself might save money - if you are a good carpenter/workperson. But if you are not, as I am not in that area, what I save in smashed thumbs, wrecked back, twisted neck and tendinitis flare-ups more than covers any savings in the do-it- myself category. I love being able to go to my local art store and bring home a dozen canvas, well made and ready to paint on. If I want to splurge, I can buy linen although I haven't quite got up the courage to paint on it yet. If I want to support a local student, I know somebody who can stretch canvas to any size I want. If I want blocks of wood, I go to the local city builders supply where they will have me have as many as I can carry for about .10 each. My local community thrift store has tons and tons of great frames which I repaint and attach to my pieces - all done on the cheap but you'd never know it to look at them. And I didn't have to lift much of a finger, much less break out the tool box.
But each his own.

Sheree Rensel said...

Nancy, I agree with you. I am in the "If you don't like it, don't do it" phase of my life. I monitor every thing I do. If I don't like it or feel there is an easier way, I go for it! I don't care if it costs money. I figure my stress level is worth keeping in check regardless of the cost. To me, canvases ready to go are worth every penny! :-)

Eva said...

You can save money if you're getting everything cheap a la Pearl Paint. But once I moved here to PDX I had a tough time finding cheap AND straight bars, so I switched over. Another factor was wanting canvases which could line up side to side against each other like as I did in my last show ... and you can't do that with canvases which don't have perfect corners (and mine rarely did!)....

Sheree Rensel said...

Eva,
This is an entirely new subject. Oh my goodness! When I made canvases, they were stretched well, but geesh, they were kind of stilted! LOL LOL Also, I had a continual problem with warping. I am not a carpenter. I buy store bought deep gallery wrapped canvas now. I am not really sure if they would line up side to side (I will have to try that!). However, they are built much better than anything I could make.
:-)