Sorry I have not been more active posting to my blog. I've gotten very involved with keeping our Fan page on Face Book updated and I keep forgetting about my blog! If you aren't a fan already on Face Book you might want to check it out. You can access it by clicking on the icon on the homepage of my webpage at www.janmartinmcguire.com
I thought you might find it fun and interesting to visit my studio. I'm a detailed acrylic painter so I sit to paint and I use a drafting table. I'm EXTREMELY messy - I don't understand when I see photos in magazines of artists with their pristine studios! I have paint all over (notice the apron in my chair) me, the floor, the painting table - everywhere!!
From the left:
I paint from photo prints - always have - and what works best for me is to have file cabinets with all my photos carefully labeled in color coded files. Now that I have digital I print a few photos from a "scene" and then write the numbers on the back of where I can find them in the computer if I want to look at more. I also have magazine pictures that
I use as back up reference in the files as well.
I have a table to my left that has a variety of things, but mostly it is where I layout all
the reference I will be using for a painting. Notice the file that is open and two books on
lions which is the subject of the painting I'm working on. There are also some manilla
envelopes with some "good ideas" for future paintings
I have a large desk calendar above my painting table. I write paintings on post it notes
that I have to do for exhibitions. I can move the post it notes as needed to adjust the
dates I'm working on them.
Robert Bateman is my muse and mentor. I have some pages from his books of some
of my favorite paintings up to give me inspiration.
CHAIR AND TABLE
Since I sit to paint it's important that I have an ergonomically good chair. I use a drafting
table that has a handle to easily adjust the height. I paint vertically most of the time but
sometimes I will angle it or lay it flat for washes or for applying varnish.
Notice that I have several photos taped to my painting table. I usually have one or two
primary reference that I'm working from, with several secondary as back up. I've gotten
very good at taking a good strong photo with the light and composition that I want so that
I can work pretty closely from them. But photos LIE! They don't show all details and/or
the animal can be in a weird position etc. so I ALWAYS double check everything with
back up photos and reference
I paint on gessoed untempered masonite. I like the smooth surface to create my work on.
I buy it in large 4 x 8 sheets and then cut it to the size I need. This is 11 x 14.
I have an inexpensive shop light over my painting table. There is a warm colored bulb
and a cool colored bulb that equal out to fairly "normal" light. Both these bulbs you can
get from Wal mart etc. I disagree with the "you have to paint from natural north light" ,
people do not view your art outside! They view it in their homes under "normal" lighting
Also, since I'm a detailed artist and I'm getting older, I use a good lighted magnifying lamp.
This one is designed for quilters and has a very long adjustable arm, and, it is on rollers
so I can move it back and forth across the painting as needed.
I paint with a type of acrylic paint called Chromacolours. They are manufactured in Canada. The pigment is suspended in resin rather than polymer which I think gives them a softer finish - more like a gouche. They dry slightly slower and they also dry closer
to the color on the palette without the color shift of many acrylics.
I use a Masterstons StayWet palette for Acrylic paints. It has a sponge that you keep wet
and then special palette paper you also soak. This keeps the acrylics from drying out
so quickly. With the air tight lid you put on when you aren't using the paints, the paint
stays wet usually for the entire length of the painting.
I use a hair dryer to dry the paint even faster so that I can layer quickly.
I hope you've enjoyed you little tour of my studio and find it interesting and helpful!