Sunday, May 25, 2008

Organizing and Absorbing

Unlike many U.S. citizens this Memorial Day weekend, I’m not going to the beach or outside to bar-b-que but will be snug inside with the air conditioning going. It’s been beasty hot here with highs in the upper 90°s and heat indexes hovering at 104°! This city usually doesn’t reach those temperatures until at least July or August.

Today, I don’t know whether to create or re-organize in my studio. Already, I’ve made a list of unfinished projects littering the floor under my desk. What a bother unfinished works are! You had all this enthusiasm for it initially then you ran out of time, or had to go back to work, or pushed it aside for some other idea and it sits there languishing in a box or a folder with the materials you envisioned for it. I have old paintings, incomplete journals, and bulky unfinished assemblages. The latter are mostly wooden box assemblages or shrines with design problems. Maybe I’m not in love with my original idea and hope to have a strike of inspiration to complete them. One is still too painful to work on even though I have most ingredients; it is a shrine to my friend and supervisor who died over eight years ago.

And canvases! I have many paintings dating back to the very beginnings of my interest in painting, over 5 years ago. Some I cringe looking at and will definitely gesso over for brand new paintings.

But, what a bother. With organization, you make space--physically and mentally. But cleaning, sorting, and tossing takes a lot of time and with stuff spilling everywhere, you cannot create anything new.

While I decide, I’ll tell you about the free demonstration I attended last week at a local art supply store. It was for Golden acrylic paints and I was curious since I am mainly a Liquitex Gal. There was a generous folder packet with fliers and newsletters, hand-painted samples charts, color mixing tips, as well as paint and medium samples in mini-jars. For two hours, a local artist passed around samples of different paints and mediums, discussing their viscosities and uses. Some examples were previously painted on light weight boards. Others were plopped out of a jar with a plastic palette knife with an invitation for us to swirl around. I was intrigued to see sample color charts for interference colors as well a big blob on a board. Having only seen them previously in books, I loved the way they changed colors when you tilted either your neck or the board.

Before the demo, I had only bought a few Golden mediums and some small fluid acrylic bottles. I regarded the brand as rather expensive compared to Liquitex. Once I read their brochures I realized why. They work closely with artists and try to respond to their needs, using their labs to test new products. They allow their employees stock options. They train artists to use and teach their product line. They have a separate foundation contributing to art community.
At the demo, exciting new products called Digital Grounds and Gel Topcoats with UVLS were mentioned for artists working with computers and printers. Digital Ground White is meant for conventional ink jet printers and can be applied to all kinds of porous and non-porous surfaces, including acrylic skins! The teacher promised to hold another demo soon about those. Go here to see more information from Golden:

Holy Cow--When I went to find that link, I discovered another new product: Open Acrylics. Are these people busy, or what?

Will I be switching over to Golden? Probably not soon since I have a lot of paint on hand and still love my favorite Liquitex thick body paint palette.

But, it’s always good for an artist to be open to new ideas and new techniques as well as new products. And it’s always good to get your studio organized!


  1. I use both Golden and Liquitex artist quality acrylics, and find that they work fine together. So you don't have to be an either/or painter.

  2. i am a big fan of Golden products. I went to a demo and I was lucky enough to win their raffle and won a bunch of sample sized mediums and gels to play with. so much fun! They are busy over there!

  3. That's good news, Angela. I'll be doing more experimenting with both kinds.

    Congrads on winning the samples, Bridgette. Nothing more fun than playing with free stuff!

    Thank you to both of you, two of my favorite art bloggers, for visiting.