Being ready by Design

Whenever I am in the notion to work I do not want to have to struggle with tools, find things I need, clear off messy work surfaces and do double work type work to make something. I am a one person shop-studio- en plein air Artist. It is up to me to give myself every advantage I am able.

Junk in Plastic Boxes

Containers on a shelf. Like things with like things. 

On the bus I have my tools in a neat vintage Lands End™. One zipper and a snap I am ready to read or sketch. The other places I create are fairly organized, but just. I can wander between projects and return to the easel over many days. Tools line the drawers and parts and pieces fill bins, containers, and the occasional peanut butter jar.

I make it a rule to finish projects– they may not be perfect, that doesn’t matter, I complete my work. Work I’ve promised by a deadline gets to the person before the deadline. If something is needed by Thursday and I get it Monday the piece is ready on Wednesday before 5 p.m.

Because I’m cool? Nope. Because I don’t like things hanging over my head. Besides it’s my word that is worth more than the project I’m working on. If I lose my good name, even if it’s not my fault, then I cannot buy it back.

Brushes cleaned and ready

A process of brush care at the end of a session.

So I keep tools, materials, and work spaces ready for work. I won’t win any awards from minimalist decor folks. I can find anything and I can usually remember where I have filed most of my stuff. That’s my test. Keep like things with like things; label the drawers; use clear containers with labels; put up things as I go and simple processes like that. This keeps something like a mess from hanging over my head.

As I typed before, I admit I won’t win at perfection, zero mess, just a bit of wisdom in the seeming madness. I have a shop-vac, several brooms and dust pants, even a magnet on a rope when needed.

Note I didn’t say “rules”. When things are ‘supposed to be’ done a certain way, or controlled this way, or filled with judgment I usually baulk, or “buck-up” as the Aunties used to say.

Rules are fine but if I make a process that functions well, it will not be perfect. I might leave my acrylic paints all out, in trays that go into a cabinet when I’m finished, but I want to see my materials. It’s like when I get new color pencils–that excites me. I can’t wait to use the new pencil. I’ll even start a new page just to incorporate it into the composition or just go crazy mono-chrome.

Leaving an organized neat area dedicated to acrylics, or oils, or wood-block, or just my easels helps me organize my day-week-month. It’s like my “visual-control” for my project management. I can manage what I see and I “go-and-see” continuously as “walk-around-management” of myself. Big job.

Raygun Build Parts

Selected items ready for  a project.

I know by working with materials on a daily basis, seeing them regularly, and monitoring my progress what I need to replenish. I don’t have duplicated materials, nor do I run out of 20% gray pencils at 3:00 am Sunday morning. I don’t waste time looking for materials and resources; I don’t have waste in duplicated items–6 pounds of “sinker” nails is more than I need for this project–and I keep a re-order list and make a time to order as needed. I also keep a list of items to trade, give away, or sell.

These concepts help me keep my spaces ready to work. Organized for production is what I like to call it. It’s also a fun way to engage with the materials, to bring an idea or inspiration to the front and spring-board into the work.

I have to make the most of every opportunity I make or every time I get the chance to make something that I think is cool. When I’m ready to get busy I am more motivated to do just that.

Going to the shop or to the studio not a struggle, it’s a pleasure.  By design.

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Seeing the Potential

Not to drop names, I love the dense writing and intense pictures I find in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Audubon.  I read, stack, and re-read issues for months.

When the stack grows I donate the magazines to libraries and education programs in order to get them into the hands of another person. Then so do a lot of people, to that extent there is a glut and I am sent packing my “donations” back home.

Medieval graphics, bas relief, and acrylic paint

Not deterred I plug into some sweet Jazz for the next act: selecting graphics, then cutting, tearing, most gently excising the pictures from the publications– a grapho-ectomy operation.

It’s a great-circle of graphics re-born from magazines to shoe-boxes to collage to someone’s home, back in the hands of another person.

Potential takes work and going all the way with an idea. Seeing the potential is to transform the ephemeral into ephemera.

What can be Will Be

My usual method to assemblage starts with some kind of “ground” or what receives all the pieces. Then comes the parts arrangement. Take a picture; then, re-arrange the components, and finally take another picture.

Flow of the Cosmos2

“Star Fountain”, wood, metal, acrylic paint, varnish, April 2016

I’ve  mixed it up a bit.  I take a picture of the parts and cut them out, then arrange those cut-outs on a backdrop.

I thought, “Forget the pictures.”

Designs?

Where am I?

I’m stuck is where I am.

I have to do better. Don’t give up.

Opportunity to re-start.

 

I was jammed. Run hard a-ground.

What I used to make this project was one word: altered.

I altered the plan.

It worked. Same parts different approach. New concept.

I got un-stuck.

New tool for my tool box.

What can be will be.

Eventually.

Stay in the hunt.

Parts Make a Whole

Fuel Filter Lamp 1

I walked passed the collection of automotive parts everyday for several months.  The 1960 Willys Jeep fuel pump was near the top of the heap. I liked the “AC” glass bowl.

I disassembled and cleaned the fuel pump. Then, the un-necessary bits were removed.

 

Then my curiosity was growing. What else was lurking in that scrap?

I found more parts–outside house lights. I began to get a sense of what “the fuel pump” could become.

The assembly process was trial and error. Error gets me going with more determination.

I needed some bits to enhance “the fuel pump”.

I was given a cord coupler. Nice threads.

Bartered for a brass plate for a base. Scrap brass sheet and couplings for contrasting color.

I bought a toggle switch.

 

I call it a “Lamp” from a 1960 Willys Jeep fuel pump.

 

Fuel Filter Lamp 2