Friday, August 1, 2008

Canvas or Panel for travel?

"Juniper View (Study)", Jerry Lebo, 2008
Oil on Panel, 6x6 inches


You have probably noticed it has been a while since my last post. Several of my regular readers have sent me personal emails asking if something is wrong. I appreciate everyone’s concern, but I am okay—nothing terminal yet.

As for the reasons behind my silence, the truth is that I have been dealing with some personal issues--and also have been busy at the day job—including two overseas trips. Fortunately, this has not kept me out of the studio for the most part--and I have been continuing to try to move forward with my work. The important thing is that I am still painting—and keeping my “hour a day” minimum discipline.

The main reason I have not been blogging is that I have not really had much to say. I usually need some sort of inspiration or something to share with my readers in order to get me started writing a post. I don't want to bore people with my random thoughts.

To be honest, I have also been struggling with which direction to take my art. The last few large "color space" painting I finished are sitting around my studio and pushing me to make another one. But, to tell the truth, I have been feeling like doing some small paintings. I am also torn a bit about how to balance my normally "painterly" style against the more graphic approach of my most recent paintings. I realize now that my “style” is something that took me many years to develop--and I am not sure I should simply throw it out. On the other hand, I still very interested in the ideas I have been pursuing in my recent work.

So, why am I posting today? Well, I have a perfect excuse to do some small paintings—and share some ideas with you. We are on vacation in Santa Fe, NM for the next three weeks, and am working with my "portable studio", which is made by Open BoxM. I have written about the traveling setup I use for painting in past posts, and it is ideal for small paintings and studies. So I though I would post a few of these small paintings as they come off the easel over the next few weeks, as well as share some of my tips for painting when traveling.

So here is my first travel tip. When traveling, I recommend you try painting on panels—instead of canvas. First, because panels are easy to pack, and you can buy them at most art stores these days. Most airlines are adding baggage charges for weight and second bags these days—and I managed to fit all my clothes and painting supplies for three weeks into one suitcase. You can also make your own panels when you get to your destination from supplies available most places (I did a post that shows you how). In fact, unless you are planning to paint big paintings—panels are the way to go in my mind.

On the other hand, if you are set on canvas, I have found the best approach is to pack a variety of stretcher bars (taped together) and ship a roll of canvas to where you are painting. That way, you only have to bring the bars, staple gun, and pliers on your flight. If you are bringing large stretcher bars, you are probably not going to be able to fit these in a suitcase, so that means some extra costs. When you stretch your canvas upon arrival (I did a post on that too), leave enough edge overlap so as to be able to un-stretch your work. That way you can simply roll it up and take it home in a mailing tube when you leave.

Okay, so there is a few tips for painting when traveling. For my current trip I decided to use Ampersand Gessobord. These panels are a bit more expensive than the ones I make at home, but not as expensive as some of the others out there. I started using these in my studio about 8 months back—and I am totally addicted. The surface is so nice and has just the right tooth for taking paint—and the quality and consistency is high. I am not paid to promote their products, but I can recommend them without hesitation. The panels come in various sizes (and you can cut them to size). These are widely available these days, so you have probably seen them at your local art store.

So there you go, hope you get a chance to paint outdoors during the summer. And, maybe even get a vacation somewhere so you can paint something new. If so, I will be offering a few tips over the next few weeks—so stay tuned.

All the best, sixtyminuteartist.

29 comments:

Sheila Vaughan said...

Jerry, thanks for the info about the gessobord. I have looked for these in the Uk but so far not been successful. Are they made of primed masonite?

sixtyminuteartist said...

Sheila, Ampersand makes their own form of "hard board" which is a thin version of masonite. The board is very light and stiffer than masonite--the priming they use is also particularly hard with a very fine tooth. Keep looking or mail order a few to try them out. You might also contact the company about distributors in UK.

All the best, Jerry

Cindy said...

Jerry,
Glad to see that you are back. Hope everything is going well.

You know when I saw the color space paintings I was surprised that you'd done those. They seemed like quite a departure from your normal style.

Thought you'd want to know that I've hung one fo your cloud studies at work in my new office. When I brought a small painting in I don't think they quite knew what to make of me. :)

But, the cloud study reminds me of New Mexico which makes me endlessly happy. Have a great vacation.

Cindy

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