Tuesday, April 04, 2017

A Day In The Life of A Daily Whip Out

April 5, 2017
   I ran into a budding artist the other day and he said to me, "Admit it, you really don't do those Daily Whip Outs over lunch, do you?" I laughed and said, "As a matter of fact I do, but you need to see the whole process. It's much more involved than just whipping out paintings, from start to finish, at lunchtime."
   With that thought in mind, it's time for:

A Day In The Life of A Daily Whip Out

Daily Whip Out: "We Ride at Dawn"

   I live with my wife Kathy in an old adobe house, which we had built some thirty years ago. We need a new roof and the vigas and scuppers are mostly rotted and falling apart, but then so am I. Our adobe is modest and cozy (about 1,900 feet in the main house with about 900 feet in the studio).

   I usually wake up around 5 or 5:30. Sometimes I go back to sleep until six, but I usually get up by six and go out into the kitchen where I pour a cup of coffee and eat half a banana, while I sit at the kitchen table and write about my dreams (both literally and figuratively) and various ideas I got in the night. One of the benefits of old age is that I seem to work on problems while I sleep and I often get good ideas from this. Of course, sometime they turn out to be stoner-like-dreams where you write them down and look at them a day later and think, "What the hell was that?!" I try to be in my studio by seven.

My cluttered  but cozy studio

My art desk on a typical start of the day.

    Oh, and I also try and write down my goals for the day or write notes from whatever book I'm readying.

Sketchbook notes, April 3, 2017

Whether I'm in the studio, or still at the kitchen table, at seven I try and shift gears and start drawing, anything and everything, like this:

Daily Whip Out Sketches, August 6, 2009

Or, this:

Daily Whip Out Sketches: May 13, 2015

   After I get some quick sketches down, I go for a walk. It's about a half mile walk up the hill to Morning Star and then a half mile back. I heard a heart doctor from the Cleveland Clinic say you need to get your heart rate up to 220 beats a minute, minus your age, for at least one minute. The hill hike does that almost to the second. As I walk down the hill I take in all the scenery and enjoy all the extra oxygen that's been pumped into my brain. Here I have to practice reining in my ideas because I often get hijacked by them and come back wanting to do something else besides the stuff I wrote down for goals. That's why I often do patina paintings (a fancy way of saying starter paintings) before the walk so that I can force myself back to the original premise or goal (as Kathy will tell you, I am easily distracted).

A Typical Patina Painting

   The key to doing these patina paintings is they give me a starting place, or a leg up on finishing something, without having to start with a blank piece of paper or board. I have hundreds of these lying around my studio.

Daily Whip Out: "The Baja Hinny"

This painting, "The Baja Hinny" was started in the morning, but I didn't finish. I typically go into work at the True West World Headquarters around 9 or 9:30 and fight fires for about three hours then head home for lunch. It's about a ten minute drive. I get home, grab the unfinished painting, and place it in the kitchen where I can see it while I eat lunch. Sometimes I sit on the patio and eat an apple, or finish a half-coffee, half-milk concoction made with the leftover coffee from the morning. By about one, I go back to the studio and try and finish the painting before I go back to work around two. So, the idea that I went home for lunch and whipped out something like above is not quite accurate: you'll notice, I often say "went home for lunch and finished a painting. . ." Still, I consider it a daily whip out, but now you know the process, which is a little more complicated.

   Of course, some ideas take longer to develop, like this cover concept I came up with yesterday:

Daily Whip Out: "Mohave Moon"

   The sketch, above, was done in two sittings, one in the morning and one at lunch. I have a couple bigger versions of this already started (today at lunch) but they suck so bad I don't want to share them. Maybe tomorrow.

"An artist must be aware of one's own absurdity but not allow that knowledge to diminish the importance of one's witness."
—paraphrased from Adam Gopnik riffing on Montaigne in The New Yorker, Jan. 16, 2017

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments