My local Art Supply store

It sits empty now.  But, a month ago, that large, weathered wooden box served as my local art supply store.

contractor dumpster n storage

It has been almost 4 months since my employer, Texas Design Interests, LLC, moved into its newly constructed  headquarters.  The contractors have completed the finishing touches on the third floor(our office), while the second floor is being prepared for future business tenants.  As the various crews wrap up their work, the remaining construction materials are cast into the contractor’s makeshift dumpster.

For several weeks, my coworkers and I endured disruptive, high-decibel noises and disconcerting vibrations that emanated from the second floor during final construction.  I also watched from the third floor window as workers tossed building scraps into the dumpster until it overflowed.  Eventually, they began carelessly heaping material against the sides which soon created a hazardous pile that wrapped around the entire box.  After a week or so, that huge pile became enough of an eye sore that the property owners would complain.  It would all disappear soon after.

This process repeated week after week until, one day, something in that dumpster caught my attention.  It appeared to be several large, evenly cut wood boards.  Upon closer inspection, I discovered that they were leftover cuts of 3/4 inch, 7-ply maple plywood.  Each was roughly 12 inches wide and varied in lengths from 4 to 8 feet.  Despite being exposed to moisture and fluctuating temperatures, the material was in pretty good shape.  There was some aggressive surface mold on a few pieces, yet they were thick enough to resist warping in the elements.  After getting permission from the head contractor, I gathered my new substrates and hurried them back to my studio.

wood boards on glass desk

some 3/4 inch wood boards cut to size and prepped for artwork.

Once in the studio, I carefully evaluated each piece of wood and decided that every piece would be useful.  I sawed them down to 12″, 24″ and 48″ lengths before giving them a rigorous power-sanding on all sides – including the edges.  On some pieces, the mold was aggressive enough to penetrate the veneer and could not be sanded away.  Those “ugly” pieces will be sealed for longevity then coated with gesso.  The others will be sealed before I apply medium directly to the surface allowing the wood grain to show through the artwork.

Work has already begun on my “found wood” boards.  This will be an intrigueing project.  I look forward to seeing the results.

Stay tuned!


Creative Space and Time

Here we are, 5 months into the year and I have finally been able to offer this… my first post of 2018!  I could spend the next paragraph expressing how disappointed I am with myself for not keeping up with my blog or producing more artwork – for which there would be no blog.  That would be a waste of time and keystrokes.  Besides, I have become much less tolerant of complaints and excuses – including my own.  I have recently undergone a major life transition.  This transition, albeit gradual and costly, has allowed me to eliminate one of my biggest excuses for not making art.

In previous posts, I lamented about not having a dedicated creative space.  This was not entirely true.  I did have a bit of space in which to paint and draw.  I simply didn’t like that space.  I didn’t feel comfortable there.  And if I’m not comfortable, I’m not creative!  So, I decided to invest in my comfort/creativity by renting a small apartment.  Obviously an apartment is far from an investment unless you’re the lessee.  But, the purpose of this apartment is to serve as a quiet space where I can feel comfortable and creative enough to produce wonderful artwork.  In fact, I refer to it as “the studio”.

In it’s current state, it looks more like a storage area than an occupied living space.  Inside, there is nothing but art supplies stacked in the corners and lining the walls.  The only piece of furniture is an old desk that I bought from the Re-Store years ago.  It’s top is a large piece of tempered glass that I grabbed from a roadside pile of junk which was set out for the neighborhood’s bulk pickup.  So, that’s it.  I now have at my disposal, a tiny apartment with a “frankendesk” (no chair), and a few creative implements.  This will do just fine until I paint my way into a larger space.

Now, that I have secured a humble creative environment, I need to find a way to eliminate my next impediment to art-making… lack of time.  Between my day job and the shared responsibility of child-rearing, there isn’t much time left in the day(or the night) for creativity.  So, it’s time to plan and execute my next major transition.  From languishing employee to thriving entrepreneur.  Let’s make this thing happen!