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Old 01-30-2012, 11:24 AM
sharkbarf sharkbarf is offline
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

Sossity
There is no external world. Everything you experience is in your head. You don't have an issue with the space itself, you have an issue of how you're interpreting the space. It seems as though you've found some solutions already. Going digital will help. If you decide you want to get back to analog try miniture work. Whenever I saw reproductions in books of one of my favorite artists, Dali, I thought he must of painted large because his work was so detailed and precise. It wasn't until years later I saw his work in person, in his Florida museum, and the work was tiny! It gave me even more of an appreciation. So no you don't need to paint large to sell. I paint on the canvas size that will best help enhance the effect I want. I've painted a landscape on a scrape piece of wood barly 2 inches square, and I've painted a mural over two stories high and 40 feet long. Just depends on the space I have availible, no matter what I find a way to make it work.

As was already suggested, I would look at some of the other issues in your life that may be more pressing than art. Yes art is therapeutic and can be cathartic, but sometimes it can be used as an escape. One of the most powerful things I ever did for my artwork was to actually stop doing it for 6 months when I looked for work, found work, then started a full time job. The reason it helped so much was because with my new sense of pride, being able to take care of myself, it gave me a new confidence I put into my work and I was able to afford a studio giving me a space all to myself.

You'll pull through. You'll look back on this time and laugh about it. Think of it this way "The struggle is the fuel".
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:45 PM
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

I'm still going through my moving/downsizing and related transitional matters, and sometimes I think when an artistic person's going through that kind of stuff, we just need to realize it's not going to happen overnight. I'm beginning to appreciate the small bits of progress and look forward to more. Hopefully it will all "come together" for those of us who struggle with this space-for-art problem.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:38 PM
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catfat
If you do a painting a day, in a month you will have 30 pieces, which is 30 more than you have now. Half of them will be pretty good and a couple will be smashing. See if I am right.
Of course you can solve this, we have all been through it.

this is real smart in fact, I think i'm going to do it too!
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:47 PM
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

To cope with making art in restricted spaces i do watercolour in small sizes. About 8x10 inches is as large as I usually get. I have a box of tubes of paint, a brush roll with my brushes, a portable easel, a small palette and I'm set.

I keep my work in a portfolio, unframed and it takes up minimal space.

You'll find a way to work with instead of against your situation. You're an artist after all!
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:11 AM
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

I almost always paint in miniature. (if you want to, you can see my gallery such as it is in my blog link). Miniatures seem to be very popular lately. They're great for practicing techniques too. And they're fun to boot.

I would keep any receipts for big ticket items (jewelry, computers, cars, furniture) until you dispose of the item.
For bills, you only need to keep the receipt until you see the money paid on the next bill. Once you get the new bill and have checked it for any mistakes you can toss it (unless you need it for taxes, then keep for seven years).
Mortgage, loan or rent receipts should be kept until the mortgage/loan is paid off or you move and have settled any debts at the place you were renting. I keep an electronic record of my mortgage receipts to save space.
Medical receipts and paperwork should be kept.
Paycheck stubs should be kept until you receive your W2, at which point you should check your W2 for errors and if there are none then you can toss the pay stubs.
Taxes should be kept for seven years, you can be audited for up to three years on any return or up to seven if they suspect fraud.
And of course any repair paperwork or anything with warranty info on it should be kept until the warranty expires.
Credit cards should be kept as with bills until you receive a new statement and it is correct. (If you have tax related expenses on your credit bill though it should be kept for seven years as well)

It might be cathartic for you to have a shredding party and go through all your old documents. Sometimes it's hard for people to let go of that stuff, it seems like so much of what we do in life is tied up in those papers. If you do have a hard time letting go maybe you can ask someone you know who can be supportive to help you sort it all out.
I used to keep all sorts of stuff, then my house burned down. So let me tell you from personal experience, nothing terrible happens (other then mild irritation) even if you lose all of your paperwork. Banks, the IRS even, everyone keeps records and you can get copies made of almost anything if you ask for them.
Hope that helps a bit.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:23 AM
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

I've lived in those conditions in the past. It's hard but it can be done. Some mediums are more practical than others. It's possible to work large in mediums like pastels or watercolor where you're working on paper and finished works can be stored in either large plastic under-bed tubs or in the same big cardboard boxes that full sheet papers and boards come in.

Organize ruthlessly. Get a lot of plastic tubs and boxes with lids, some with locking lids. Keep all supplies organized by medium so that if you do more than one medium, it's a matter of opening that box and taking out a canvas to work on it.

Oils are not a good choice for painting in a small space, especially with poor ventilation. Consider switching to mediums that have the least fumes and cleanup from those that involve using thinner. Acrylics at least you're only using water, the same with watersoluble oils. Acrylics dry fast, so what you have are finished dry canvases that can be stacked up against each other without damage.

Living with wet oil paintings may be hazardous to your health and subtly demoralizing. If you're constantly smelling thinner and have a low grade headache you don't notice, every time you paint you could be conditioning yourself to avoid painting and the consequences of living with wet paintings.

Consider working on primed panels and boards rather than on stretched canvas for space even if you're still doing oils or acrylics. While gallery style canvases don't need framing to sell in a gallery, they each occupy 2" deep space when the art's finished and while wet need another inch to dry before the face touches another painting. If you can make or get a wet painting rack you can make those take up less space. I saw an ad on Jerry's Artarama yesterday in my email about an interesting wire rack that starts at about $50 for the smaller wall or table mount one - the big one rolls around on wheels and is more suited to a large space. I'm thinking of getting a small one and wall mounting it so that I can do works on canvas and have a way to store them while they dry or after they've dried and before they sell.

Consider working small. One way to do "large paintings" is sectional - get those packs of four or nine 12" square canvases and divide your planned painting so that it takes all of them to create it, then hang them evenly an inch apart in the display. That's popular. Get creative with things like that. Do tryptichs and diptychs so that separate panels or canvases are smaller and add up to a larger composite work.

Or work on paper. You can get big sheets of glassine and store big works on paper flat under the bed in a cardboard box provided by Blick or Jerry's when ordering the paper online. I use an inexpensive cardboard portfolio for full sheets but I don't actually do full sheet sized paintings, if I did I'd have to create an under-bed storage for them. A lot of them can be stacked flat with glassine between them to protect the painting's face.

Pastels are a good medium to explore. Pastels give instant gratification. They have no drying time and are always reworkable. I'm drifting more and more into pastels over the years, both oil pastels and dry pastels (the chalk texture ones, don't call them chalks unless you're going through an airport). Works on paper store and ship better than canvases, they just take less effort.

One relatively new product may be really helpful to you - Pan Pastels handle more like paint. You use Sofft micropore sponges rather than brushes, but they are cleaner and don't leave as much dust around as stick pastels, which work well with them as accents. Pan Pastels are cheaper in sets than open stock, what I recommend are the Painters 20 color set to start and a mixed bag of tools or if your budget won't handle that, the 10 Painters set because it's a good palette. All 60 of the other colors are very useful convenience colors, gradated value mixtures of white (20 tints) or black (20 Shades or 20 Deep Dark Shades) with the pigments in the 20 Painters Set.

You can find out more about them and see a lot of good paintings at the Pan Pastels site. There are videos on how to use them. I've got the full range because the convenience colors really are very useful, they speed the process for me. Most of all I can use them in close quarters with very little cleanup and no liquids. I don't use fixative with them.

If you want to try stick pastels and want to use fixative, use SpectraFix because all the normal spray can ones have toxic fumes that cause breathing trouble and well, headaches and a nasty odor. SpectraFix smells like you poured yourself a vodka based drink - rather a fresh, pleasant odor that's not distracting or toxic. Really try to avoid toxic materials in small spaces.

Pastels, oil pastels, watercolor, gouache, colored pencils are all mediums that do need framing with glass. That can be a bit frustrating when galleries want you to frame your art for them. However it can be worth the cost to do it when the problem of storage is reduced and also the problem of living with drying paintings. Some sales can help. In your living situation I would do the art, store it unframed, sell some small format works and ship them unframed and save up the money for a gallery arrangement so that when you're ready, you take the art to a framer and have all the work done for you and delivered to your gallery. Don't even bother storing anything framed unless it's returned by a gallery. You don't have the storage space.

Online buyers are perfectly fine with taking it to their own framers. Online markets are always in reach too, by way of post office or UPS or FedEx pickup. Pass on the shipping costs plus a modest fee for your labor packing it and the packaging to your customer. If they're local they can come over to pick it up in person and save that money.

I've lived in small spaces most of my life. Mobility issues and chronic fatigue make painting large impractical for me. But if I wanted to go medium large like 18" x 24" or 16" x 20" there are pads of good archival watercolor and pastel papers that include their own supports. I like watercolor paper on blocks bound on all four sides - it's just easier to avoid the cockling and I don't have to do the labor of stretching and taping it to a drawing board and all that prep. I do not have the body energy for most of the usual prep large painters have to do.

Use short cuts intended for plein air painting. Use easels and boxes and storage solutions intended for plein air. That means it takes up less space too. It folds down much smaller and can be put away completely in an organized way when not in use. I've been doing this for years. I get excited about some sort of plein air kit and have all these fantasies of painting outdoors... and then what really happens is the little kit gets a lot of use sitting right next to my computer where I don't have to get up to get it but it's not in the way when I'm not using it.

Sketch daily. Start the day with your sketchbook. Plan ambitious works when you get ideas for really big paintings. Don't ignore those ideas, you won't be living in your family's house for the rest of your life.

Hang out on WetCanvas and participate in challenges. For me they often result in salable paintings. Sell them online. Nothing encourages like success, especially when it was for something you did because you liked it and you happily discover how many buyers like it too. Do it your way.

A lot of challenges say "try something hard, go outside your comfort zone."

There are times when "Return to your Comfort Zone" is the best advice. Choose a subject you're already good at. Use your best medium. Indulge yourself in appreciating your mastery of that medium and that subject. Stretch in little subtle ways with it. You'll discover those stretches in process, follow your artistic impulses. Most of all do the works that make you happy - somewhere out there in the millions of art buyers there are people who share your tastes and you'll be a happier artist painting for them than trying to follow trends.

Daily Painting is a good direction for working small. Start a Daily Painting blog and maintain it - work small, most of them do so it can be finished in one day. Then make sure the daily paintings are available online at eBay or Etsy or some other marketplace that you will get paid online and ship anywhere in the world at cost. That market never sleeps. It also doesn't run dry because collectors who like small works usually have enough wall space for lots of them and may rotate their collections when it's full.

They also always have another paycheck and are fond of repeat buying when they discover they like your work.

Doing paintings in series of a favorite subject is good. But don't stricture yourself too far. Experimenting and trying new things is good too. Having ten of a particular style and subject is enough for a gallery but try not to sign anything that makes that exclusive - you want to be able to market your other stuff too.

I hear you about house arrest in the suburbs when you don't have a car. I lived with my family for five years in Kansas and Arkansas without a car. That can be maddening. Either save up for a car so that you can get out of the house or save up to move to a city with good transit and a thriving art market. My daughter got her dream house with 20 acres where she could keep her horses (she has three, all adopted, people have more trouble re-homing horses than cats or dogs even if they're an expensive matched pair of white Arabian geldings.)

When she moved there was no longer a spare room for Dad. So I had to move sooner - but I'd been planning to move back to San Francisco and saving up for the move on my Social Security. I moved last August. It was brutal, both physically and financially, but I managed to pack all of my art supplies and ship all the essentials before I got here, found housing online and by phone, got things sorted out. It took longer settling in than if I wasn't disabled but now - now I'm free. I've even got Paratransit since I found out I really can't walk far enough to use the normal bus service.

Save up to get out of that situation, either moving or getting a car or both depending on your lifestyle choices. I chose the city because I don't want a car even if my eyesight is still correctable to legal driving level. It's like supporting another person in expenses - payments, insurance, gas, that's a huge expense on top of living expenses compared to being able to get around in a city by buses and cabs. Sometimes cabs are cost effective, depends how close something is and how much instant convenience matters.

Cities also have more choice of galleries so it'd be easier to find the right one that's a good fit for what you paint.

Save up for that. Sell your art and build your savings. It makes a difference to know you're leaving - it did for all the time I saved. And draw or paint daily, that makes a difference too. What you can't do now will be possible in future.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:25 AM
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

Last thought - WetCanvas Live! is another section here on the site. Check out the classes by Johannes Vloothuis and Larry Seiler. Both are free and in progress. They make a big difference - I've been taking the JV classes for a year and learned so much it's night and day.

I doubled and tripled my prices, then got my most recent buyer telling me that I wasn't charging enough for my small format works. I'm starting to see that rapid growth makes a big difference to what's economically feasible or not. The downloads are inexpensive too if you want the recordings for frequent review. Free classes are as good as the amount of work you put into them and they are a great benefit if you need to improve your earnings by improving your skills. I can tell you - it does. It blew me away the difference.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:06 PM
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Sossity Sossity is offline
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmrs
I almost always paint in miniature. (if you want to, you can see my gallery such as it is in my blog link). Miniatures seem to be very popular lately. They're great for practicing techniques too. And they're fun to boot.

I would keep any receipts for big ticket items (jewelry, computers, cars, furniture) until you dispose of the item.
For bills, you only need to keep the receipt until you see the money paid on the next bill. Once you get the new bill and have checked it for any mistakes you can toss it (unless you need it for taxes, then keep for seven years).
Mortgage, loan or rent receipts should be kept until the mortgage/loan is paid off or you move and have settled any debts at the place you were renting. I keep an electronic record of my mortgage receipts to save space.
Medical receipts and paperwork should be kept.
Paycheck stubs should be kept until you receive your W2, at which point you should check your W2 for errors and if there are none then you can toss the pay stubs.
Taxes should be kept for seven years, you can be audited for up to three years on any return or up to seven if they suspect fraud.
And of course any repair paperwork or anything with warranty info on it should be kept until the warranty expires.
Credit cards should be kept as with bills until you receive a new statement and it is correct. (If you have tax related expenses on your credit bill though it should be kept for seven years as well)

It might be cathartic for you to have a shredding party and go through all your old documents. Sometimes it's hard for people to let go of that stuff, it seems like so much of what we do in life is tied up in those papers. If you do have a hard time letting go maybe you can ask someone you know who can be supportive to help you sort it all out.
I used to keep all sorts of stuff, then my house burned down. So let me tell you from personal experience, nothing terrible happens (other then mild irritation) even if you lose all of your paperwork. Banks, the IRS even, everyone keeps records and you can get copies made of almost anything if you ask for them.
Hope that helps a bit.

thanks for the suggestions, what do I do with financial aid letters I get from my local community college in the mail? & what about financial aid forms I fill out on paper?

so far, I have kept all this sort of stuff in folder I have been getting in the last 2-3 years, & it is starting to bulge.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:13 PM
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

Quote:
thanks for the suggestions, what do I do with financial aid letters I get from my local community college in the mail? & what about financial aid forms I fill out on paper?

I would keep those until you're done school and any loans are paid off. With any financial aid or loan situation, it's best to keep the paper trail just in case. You can throw out the envelopes and general pamphlets though. I used to be bad for keeping envelopes now I lie everything flat in folders. It's amazing how much space just doing that alone saves.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:23 PM
artyczar
 
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Re: adapting to lack of space for painting, & creative block, lack direction

robertsloan2 made wonderful suggestions. like him and you, I too have lived this way too in the past and have made it work, with one difference. You must find some way to not be interrupted. Some kind of privacy, even if it means you have to go into a crowd of people....

When I lived on people's couches and I literally had nowhere to work, I had a small watercolor kit in a backpack that I took to Venice Beach and worked outside on a little grassy area near the boardwalk.

I've also done the tiny corner of a room, but I was able to shut the door and have privacy. I think that is very important. You have to find that time to be in your head by yourself - even in a sea of strangers - as long as you won't be interrupted.

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