It is at this easel that I am spending the lion share of my time this winter. Every morning I go out to the carriage house studio and get the fire started in the wood stove. This mornings temperature out side was 9 degrees when I got started at 6AM. It is a hardship that gives me a pleasure kneeling on the cold cement floor splitting up kindling, wadding up pages torn from an old phone book, blowing on the embers to build the flame. Getting the fire going in the wood stove is a great metaphor towards getting the creative process kick started.
When I go into the studio it is to make cool beautiful things. There are several different tasks and direction I may take on any given day. I may be working on drawings or helping Shepherd make a run of new woodblock prints, I may be sitting at my easel for hours adding layers of glaze of putting minute details into the background of a portrait. Returning email on my iPad can be a really important activity. Some times cleaning up and getting rid of clutter is a great way to clear the path to some good new productivity.
I do well when I have a simple routine that I can repeat day after day. I know it is this regular showing up to the easel that carries the paintings forward. Of course routines need the occasional disruption to keep things interesting. Sometimes I think of routines like the rhythm underneath a song, it is that repeating regular pattern gives the song a solid structure to ride on.
I know in an hour the studio will be warm enough to begin to work in and that the new painting on my easel is ready to go on to the next stage and so am I.