One day I'll get the hang of actually writing these posts before they need to be posted, because right now I tend to remember on Sunday night and type away until it's basically too late. Never you mind though, as I've just about finished posting old sketches and doodles, so the thrill of new material will hopefully get these words down on time in future posts.
Yes, the last few posts have all been full of some old drawings I found in some old notebooks. I know the idea is to make something new each week, but most of the stuff I've been working on has been work related, so I've kind of dropped the ball recently.
However, the old doodles are kind of appropriate in a meta sense, as I've been organising and tidying up my little world and sorting through shelves and old notebooks as I go. A while ago I wrote something about having a creative environment to work in, and I've been thinking about that a lot lately, so I figured I'd take it to the next step and actually get cleaning.
I love a good notebook and have collected a bunch over the years, but I rarely fill them up from front to back. Thus, I've gone through my notebooks and put them back in rotation, which opens up the possibilities of a new batch of blank pages. Additionally, I've been sourcing art supplies online and finally have a few wish lists built up for future orders. It's not a revelation, but it's nice to be ready to refill stocks when finances allow.
The rest is pretty banal, but I'm getting spaces in order to nurture creativity. My office is a little more welcoming to traditional media, but the real improvement will be space in another room to set up an easel. Designating a space for painting on canvas is an exciting prospect for me as I tend to just plop down wherever I can fit, which isn't always practical. This way there will always be a space to paint something, even if it's an inconvenient time.
Although, the main reason for taking ages to get it together is money, as we all should know all too well. Paints and tools can be super expensive and prohibitive, but it dawned on me to go back to my roots a little and get some cheap paints.
Most of the time I paint with acrylics, because they're generally cheaper than oils and I haven't really experimented with oils enough to make the investment worthwhile. When I started painting on canvas, I used house paint bought from the local hardware store. It's basically acrylic, but it's a lot runnier and probably doesn't mix very well. I've never really found out about the mixing thing because I've always just asked for whatever colour I want and had it mixed for me.
So I'm going back to sample pots of house paint because it's dirt cheap and I often want my paint to be a lot runnier than regular acrylics. You can get a sample pot of house paint for under ten bucks in whatever colour you want, so it's a really good budget option that I'd kind of forgotten about until now.
It might be a bit strange, but just remembering that this was an option really sparked that fire inside and has me keen to start throwing it at the canvas again. Part of the problem I have with regular acrylics (even the cheap/crap ones) is that I feel like I have an obligation to make it last and make it count. When I spend more money than I'd like, I feel like everything that gets made with that paint has to be excellent and worth it, otherwise it's a total waste. Of course, that never happens, so it's always a bit of a downer.
Never mind though, as cheap house paint is abundant and does the job fine. Maybe I'd hesitate if I were painting a piece for some snooty gallery, but even then I think I'd happily use house paint if it worked for whatever that piece should be. I've sold paintings made with house paint before, so I don't think it's too much of a problem… is it?
It gets me thinking about the false value that we put on things because it's fashionable or impressive in some way. Many of us fall into the trap of paying extra for something because it conveys status, but is ultimately no different to a cheaper model.
It's classic consumerism and when we're the victims of advertising and marketing we start to believe that some brands are superior to others. The same goes for paint as part of me feels like you can't be a "real" artist if you're using the cheapest and shittiest materials. Then another part of me remembers that art is punk and anything goes without question.
Now, I don't want to discount the value in things that are better made or ethically sourced, as these things do carry value and are possible better in every way. However, is it really worth it all the time, and is it necessary to always consume the top tier available? Sure that massive television might objectively be better than the smaller, cheaper one; but does it really matter? Especially when the difference in money could mean a difference in lifestyle.
For me the difference between buying expensive art supplies and cheap ones, is the difference between being ready to create anything at all on a whim, and being tied to performance anxiety and limited resources. I don't care if I experiment with some cheap paint on a cheap canvas, because I haven't lost a lot if it turns into a steaming turd in the end. I have plenty of canvases stored away that have terrible attempts at ideas on them, but they're more valuable than if they had never been created.
Thus, the acquisition of materials must serve the purpose of their intent, which should always be creativity and growth without restriction. Without a well-stocked tool kit, it's hard to find some wiggle room and really stretch out.
So basically, the point is that I'll justify my use of house paint as much as I need to even though it doesn't really matter anyway. The cool thing is that I hope to be sharing some paintings soon, as well as writing these posts a little earlier so they actually have some time to live on a Sunday for a change.