Ego Trip

Garibaldi Patterns, 8x8, original acrylic sketch by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


Yep, I am taking a major ego trip these days, one which I have been avoiding for years. I am talking about sifting through the records of one's art journey.

One way of looking at it is that it's "all about me". That's why I titled this post Ego Trip, and that also might be why I steered away from it for too long. Laziness and delusion are also considered.

There is one important and serious aspect to this, which is the artist's responsibility to keep sound records of our art, the very thing we love so much and want to send off into the world. Our darlings deserve to be adequately accompanied by documentation and records of their journeys. 

I really thought I had it covered. I have a bunch of file folders for tax-related paperwork, two big cardboard boxes for catalogs, awards, magazines and what-not, a studio computer for art photos, cupboards and shelving units where I keep sketches and paintings. I even back up my computer data semi-regularly. That sounds quite orderly, right?

However. Papers and electronic files have multiplied, canvases and boards filled every nook and cranny in the studio. Every time I needed to find something, I had to go through a confusing mountain of stuff and wreck my brain to make sense of what I did and didn't find.

I had to face the truth. As my output increased, my loosely organized systems got broken. I found myself drowning in my creations.

So, I bit the bullet. I am going through everything and I won't stop until all my records and storage are clean of clutter and I have an easy way to find things.


studio re-org in progress



The joyful aspect of this project is revisiting almost forgotten work I've done over years and remembering the delights of the creative process. I found some old gems, chuckled over the heartaches some of them gave me and basked in the sheer expanse of love that my artful life gave me. Call it an ego trip, I don't mind. Every once in a while, it should be allowed.

I am posting here some finds which I was happy to dust off and hang in my studio. They talk to me about the early days of the journey. It's true that we need to live in the present moment and know where we want to go. But, there is also a great joy in looking back to see where we came from.





Cobalt Lake, acrylic sketch from a heli-painting trip to the Bugaboos in 2010






Long Beach Study from 2007 made after a trip to Tofino






Acrylic sketch for a portrait of a girl, done in 2003 or thereabouts



Here are a few major sins which I made (mis)organizing my art records. I hope you can learn from my mistakes:

- I renamed paintings when I couldn't remember the original name I gave them, so the same paintings appear in my records under various names. Some ended up having the same name as another painting altogether.

Solution: Write down the titles and dates of creation.

- I created many levels of electronic folders with numerous categories in my art files. Various versions of same photos appear in several places. I have to dive into deep structures of folders searching for photos of my paintings.

Solution: Flat files per year/month are easiest to search.

- I failed to discard the paperwork which doesn't serve as a meaningful record of my art journey.

Solution: Get rid of excess paper.

- I failed to discard the artwork which clearly wasn't meant to be kept.

Solution: Define criteria for keepers and stick with it.

- I failed to discard the art materials and tools which are clearly unusable, under an illusion that they could somehow be re-used (they can't).

Solution: Get rid of junk.


If you can add to this list, please do. I most certainly don't want to find myself in this kind of mess again, and I hope that you don't either.

Happy organizing!

Tatjana

(check out my website to see what else is going on)

an aftermath of quality control - old stretchers and frames waiting to be recycled

Remembering Bugaboos in 12 Steps



Remembering Bugaboos, 11x14, acrylic sketch by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


This sketch took about one hour to paint. Here is what I used:

- 11x14 stretched gessoed canvas

- 3 flat acrylic brushes: 
  • large (#12)
  • medium (#10)
  • small (#8)


- 5 pigments in heavy body acrylic paint medium: 
  • titanium white
  • cadmium yellow light
  • transparent red oxide
  • diox purple
  • pthalo blue


The painting process broken down into 12 steps:




Transparent red oxide underpainting and gestural dark shapes in diox purple with the large brush.


Mix of white and pthalo blue brushed in to suggest a dynamic sky.


Darker mix of blue to suggest distant mountains.


Warm gray mix from all paints on the palette to suggest rocks in the foreground and cloudy sky.


Green mix with pthalo blue, cadmium yellow light, and diox purple, to suggest grassy areas and foliage.


White and light gray into the lightest area of the sky.


Switch from the large brush to the medium-sized one. Reclaim the darks with a mix of diox purple and a touch of cadmium yellow light. Suggest the shapes of trees, rocks, shrubs.


Reclaim the blue areas in the sky and add some reflected blue into the rocks.


Mix some grays to suggest clouds, distant mountains and mid-dark areas in the foreground.


Add cadmium yellow light into the green mix and suggest highlights and patches of wildflowers in the grassy areas.


Add impasto white strokes into the snow-caps of distant mountains.




Switch to the small brush to add the finishing touches. More defined blue strokes into the distant mountains, enhance the shapes of trees, add a few branches of shrubbery in the foreground. Touches of yellow and white here and there to add the feeling of the sunshine sparkle.


Most importantly - stop before I start obsessing and perfecting the thing. It's a sketch. It's done!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. I am so proud of myself for remembering to stop painting and take a photo of each step! This is always a major challenge for me. It's too easy to get carried away by the magic of brush and paint.


Happy sketching!

Tatjana

Anonymous Art Show




I can't say if my paintings are included in this show. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. It's an anonymous show!  In any case, I am looking forward to seeing many of you, my art friends, at the opening.

335 Lonsdale Avenue
North Vancouver

It will be a fun evening!

Tatjana