Starting with stripes

Four new panels in my studio

Do you have a routine? You roll out of bed, pull on a t-shirt and yoga pants and start your sun salutations? Or you need a big cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal before you can even growl g’morn? Or maybe you have to have a cup of herbal tea and a snuggle with your cat before getting ready for bed each night?  Routines are lifesavers for our overworked brains, instead of having to make a dozen decisions, they just follow a familiar, comforting pattern.

Routines are my lifesaver when it comes to beginning a painting. Sometimes a blank canvas can be so daunting, there’s definitely the possibility of a masterpiece but will I be able to achieve it? Rather than face painter’s block, I rely on my familiar process.

First up, I pull out a fresh wood panel.  I use wood panels as the support for my work because it’s more stable for resin and also because I enjoy the easy flow of painting on wood.  Each of my excavation paintings begins in the same way, I apply a couple of coats of gesso, then sand them down for a smooth surface.  Then I mount them on the wall and paint bold stripes on the panel. There’s no specific reason for the stripes, and truthfully, they’re hardly visible by the end.   I think it all began with the very first resin paintings I made back in 2007, they started as a series of horizontal stripes, and then I started added layers of tissue painting on top. The paintings looked dry and unfinished, until I added resin and then they became swirling, sea-like worlds of transparent images. At the time I was using a casting resin that took ages to set and stunk up my garage for months, but the basic process was the same as the one I use today.

where it all began

After the stripes there is no routine.  I paint on layers of tissue, and the layers are always new and different. But there is something comforting about the initial process, when my hands are happily painting stripes and my mind is free to dream about what will come next.