Studio Time – August

Studio shot artist Andrew ContiImage of painting table

It’s been quite warm in the studio of late. I have the fans going at all times and embracing the particular form of crazy one can go while painting in an 85 degree room. It’s a nice kind of crazy, the kind that gets you quickly into a meditative state of focus, because you really only have the choice of being in said state of meditative focus, or of getting upset that it is so damn hot.

And of course it makes the pools and the showers feel that much better afterward.

At present, I am continuing a series of explorations into the bodies and forms of guardian dogs and koma-inu (狛犬). Finding new ways to fit my conception of them into my visual vocabulary. It is a consuming and wildly fun process. There will be more to show in the coming weeks.

Material wise, I continue my blooming love-affair with Golden’s high-flow acrylics. They are in so many ways the inks I always wanted. That is because they really aren’t inks, even though they seem to want to pretend to be. They are as though the butter-cream acrylics of the tube were thinned down to a lovely kind of milk. I’ve filled quite a few empty markers with their goodness of late, and have been getting quite a bit of mileage out of them.

Suddenly looking at the images I’ve included with this post, I feel the need to point out that I don’t actually paint with any dairy products (or tea for that matter). I do however collect containers from our own and friend’s would be recycling bins in order to hold my latest mixes of color. I have also crafted a fairly decent system for keeping my paints wet for a good period of time – even in a good deal of heat. Perhaps I’ll write about that some time.

Don’t let me confuse you into thinking I’m spending all my time sweltering and sweating myself silly in the studio. I learned quite a bit ago that was a horrible and horribly unhealthy way to spend the summers. We have some big lopping pine trees in our back yard that I have taken to sit under and sketch and read up on things like household gods and guardian creatures. In the shade of a tree, feet in a small pool, a book at hand, and always buy my side a bit of Japanese Barley Tea – perhaps the greatest summer beverage I know.

Everyone likes to talk of planting seeds in spring. It is an easy time to do so. But if your interested in interesting things, I think the hot days of summer are a better time. Summer is when you spend time staring at things that have yet to grow, and you keep trying your best to figure out what they need–water? more sun? less sun? etc., etc. Or perhaps they just need all the time and attention you can offer them.

More to come. Be Well.