Ready to start painting!
Finally, after 10 weeks, our shipment arrived and although I was excited to see furniture and personal effects I had missed on a daily basis, I got a serious lump in my through when the first boxes of canvas’ were unpacked.
They were last to come out, being in the back of the crate. I guess they were relatively easy to pack being roughly the same shape and packages the same size, so they went in first.
We used Grace Removals for the move and I was really pleased with the job they did of packing the paintings. We have a lot of glassed in framed work which had us concerned, but nothing was damaged! Quite a feat really as there are about 25 of them, some quite large! They were covered in bubble wrap and then packaged in specialized art carry packs. I have saved them for transporting paintings in the future!
The shipment arrived a week before Christmas and we were travelling to Seattle to spend the following week with family, so we worked night and day unpacking and sorting out the house but that meant the studio had to wait until our return. A certain kind of torture, having said that I suspect it may have been harder to have had set it up and not had time left to paint!
As soon as we were home from Seattle, I began unpacking! It was a true extension of Christmas day for me…unwrapping over 80 canvas’ from their boxes and wrappings. I rediscovered all the paintings…sectioning the garage into area’s for finished works, works in production and those that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with yet. Near the end of the unwrapping I came across 6 unprimed, stretched canvas’s, I had totally forgotten about! Thrilling!
The great thing about the fact that they were still raw meant to get them ready for actual painting, I had to prime them. The act of priming, applying white acrylic gesso ground to the raw canvas, in itself feels creative, you have the flow of paint on the brush and the rhythm of application but you get to zone in that creative space with out commitment. All you have to concern yourself with is an even application, starting from the center, working outward,for even tightening on drying, your mind can wander and it is for me, a bit like a warm up for an athlete.
With the canvas’ sorted, there were just the materials to unpack from boxes. Unfortunately, I had to leave behind a lot of art materials due to customs regulations. 4 litre tubs of gesso and about 8 litres of drying mediums as ironically, I had recently started buying in wholesale quantities, all my bottles of acrylic paints (as they had been opened) and any animal product, like shellac flakes, damar crystals (for making my own glazes from scratch, rabbit skin glue, (great for a tight drum like finish on a primed canvas and a raw brown finish unlike the pristine whiteness of gesso!) and anything that was flammable…turps, methylated spirits and brush cleaner!!!!!
There were still materials to unpack believe it or not. Pencils, pigments, texta’s, charcoals, pastels,water colors, guache and oil sticks. I have been collecting for a long time. I don’t buy clothes or jewelery, I buy art supplies!
I didn’t get to bring my big work table, (there was too much residue on it from various paints etc for easy customs clearance) but I did bring a shelf system on casters, thank god! That’s where most things are housed!
Also, two very special meter long wooden boxes that I found separately (would you believe?) on curb side collections! (In Australia you can put your household furniture and certain hard rubbish out on the curb, once a month, for collection by the council! I loved those piles of discovery!) These boxes have become the home for my oil paints. They are rustic and delicious and I love them!
Drop sheets went down next, my favorite painting chair (funny ‘cos I never paint seated!), stool (it is where I place my palette) with the easels standing tall nearby. Ready to go! It only took a weekend and I had the best time! I have since begun painting but those details will have to wait for the next post!
It’s funny, sometimes it is good to have a break from doing what we love doing the most in order to really appreciate being able to do it again! I have a renewed gratitude for my studio and all that has gone in to making it a great place to work!