25 Aug Newsletter: August 2020
August has been a time for catching up with family and also having a major, and very much needed sort out in the studio! It is hard to believe how much work it takes, just to maintain a studio set up; re-ordering paints and supports, sorting out and discarding empty paint pots, bringing brushes back to life, when they’ve had a hard time, and not forgetting just clearing out, tidying and cleaning. I find I can’t work when things get too chaotic, so every couple of months, I need a really good spring clean- I don’t look forward to it, but actually quite enjoy the process, once I get going and commit to it, and I find the clean fresh studio really energising!
I’ve also spent a lot of time adding the final finishes to work…as in the photo below. When a piece is finished, it’s important to let it dry out properly and settle. Acrylics dry much faster than oils but even so they should be allowed to dry out and cure throughly before you apply any final finishes.
I have to admit to a bit of a ‘thing’ about edges! I always have bespoke frames made for each painting, and they are often very pared back, ‘floater frames’. Because these have a tiny shadow gap, you can just about see the edges, so it is all the more important for me to paint the edges of my canvases, and make sure they are neat and clean….stray bits of contrasting paint can be very distracting! There is no set way of painting edges, but I tend to go for a colour from within the painting, and often choose a very dark shade, as that disappears nicely in the shadow gap I mentioned.
When the edges are done, it’s time to make some decisions about how matt or glossy you want the final finish to be….this varies from painting to painting, and is partly driven by how textured the surface is. In this case on my ‘Seams of Jasper” painting, I’ve used a couple of coats of a rich gloss sealant which allows the colours really to sing. Finally I will moderate the shine with a top coat of cold wax, which I apply with a soft lint-free cloth, allow to dry and then burnish. This is quite a lot of extra work, but for me it really is worth it, as it adds a wonderful rich glow.
When I get my canvases back from the framer, I sign the reverse of the canvas, add a label with my contact details and finish by marking the title of the piece on the wooden stretcher bars. A long time ago, I bought a painting on behalf of a client to go in a large corporate space…it was an abstract piece, loaded with vibrant colour. When I saw it hung for the first time, I noticed that they had installed the painting upside down- ever since I have also marked the reverse of each piece with two clear arrows showing which way up it should go!
As well as getting this whole batch of work ready for framing, I’ve also been working a new canvas which is part of an ongoing series; inspired by the views from high up on Sutton Bank, looking out across the fields and landscape below. In the photo above you can see some of the stages in building this piece…blocks of colour, linear detail and translucent glazes which enrich and develop colour and can moderate dark or light tonal values.
The version above is probably finished, although I might make a couple of tweaks… It’s so hot off the easel, it doesn’t even have a name yet! I’m excited by the richness of colour, and there’s a huge amount of detail and surface variation to see and explore, which is absolutely what I’m always aiming for- just got to come up with the right title now!
*My work, including ‘Seams of Jasper’, and much more will be available from Bils and Rye from around the 3rd October-final details tbc in my September Newsletter.
Anyway, I think that’s all for this time…
Take care until next time,
*All text and images copyright Jo York Art 2020