I spent the day scanning and editing all the little birds. Time consuming, boring, but necessary work. The birds are now boxed up, ready to leave my nest and be divided by Lauren and Andrew for the Trenton CSA exchange being held next week. As a result, I didn't paint... yet... I'm not sure I'll get a painting in today but it feels good to know I have documented and packaged all the work that I have to let leave the nest.
I've been painting to fulfill a quota for the CSA but also to try to fill an empty space that's inside my heart. I've met the quota but still feel empty. Every memory is fluttering through my head and my heart physically aches. I just keep painting these pointless little birds. When I look at them I feel like they are parts of my soul that have left me forever. They hurt. I hurt.
When I began this series I had no intention of keeping any of the little birds. The idea of becoming emotionally attached to a still life painting was not on my radar. The longer I live with these paintings, the stronger my bond to them grows. I keep pulling more and declaring them "mine"... Clearly, I have a "whole brush full" of these guys and can reproduce them at will, but the urge to hold on to some is still too much to resist. I'm now keeping 9, tossing 2, and unhappily allowing 27 to fly away from my nest.
After meeting with Lauren and Andrew last week, the guys behind the Trenton CSA, I took a little break from my frenzied painting therapy. I guess it was more of a big break, as I went to San Diego for four days and gave my brain, my heart (and my lungs) some time to heal. The sun and the companionship of my dear friend, Meranda, did me good, but as with everything in life, the shadows always creep back in. I'm back home now, back to work both in my studio and at school. The shadow hasn't left, and as this naturally lit composition proved to me, it's hard to pin down where exactly it's coming from.
Creating oil paintings with a fast approaching deadline is a bit nerve racking. Especially when you do not use any mediums to quicken the dry time of oil paints. I asked googled for some tricks to speed up the process of oxidation and came up with some odd solutions, including the use of my oven and black lights. I don't know if those techniques work, as I didn't try baking my art for fear of fire and fumes. However, what I did, worked. And thus, I now share my success with others who might be struggling to speed up the dry time on an oil painting.
The suggestion I followed involved a warm/hot dry environment and light. This was supposedly the optimal environment for oxidation of oil paints. I turned the heat up in my studio to 74 degrees and left on all the lights. I also turned on the ceiling fan to increase air flow and closed the door to keep the heat in the small space. I left my work in this warm/dry environment for a week. The results are pretty crazy. The paintings are almost completely dry. The areas with high concentrations of Titanium White - a notoriously slow-drying color - are the only areas that remain unhardened. I feel confident that even these areas will be dry by the deadline of April 24.
I do not claim to have the answer, but I can attest that this solution helped a great deal. Good luck to you if you are trying to speed up this process in your own work.
During my undergraduate studies, I spent a great deal of time in the painting studio working with traditional oils. Teaching middle school art for the past 12 years has taken me away from those roots. This "one a day" project is aimed at re-inspiring that creativity and technique.
Other "one a day" painting blogs to check out:
Kellie Marian Hill
The usual Subjects