This summer, I was able to have a long visit—six weeks!—with my family and friends in Canada. The reunion was fantastic especially given the length of time between this visit and our last (pre-pandemic). Because of the length of this stay, I tried to balance visiting and traveling with a little working. My parents generously made a bright room in their home available to me for my painting practice during the summer.
Since I only took my brushes with me across the pond, I visited The Art Shack in Moncton. At the art supply store, I stocked up on some paints, canvases, and other tools for the commission project that I was working on. I used to buy art supplies at The Art Shack years ago, while still living at home. On this visit, I was surprised to learn that they had moved to a new location and even more so to learn that this move had happened seven years ago! I appreciated the great customer service as the employees took their time answering my questions about some new-to-me products.
The room in which I was painting has minimal furniture to begin with, making the transformation into studio pretty easy. I brought up a large extendable table (more often used to accommodate large family holiday dinners) from the basement and covered it with plastic. I secured the edges of the plastic with tape to keep it in place. Here, I worked on my latest painting entitled, “Sunny Birches.” This 91 x 76 cm/36 x 30 in. painting was inspired by the many trails I hiked during this period in the Canadian Maritimes.
It took a few sessions to establish a regular routine and develop the muscle memory of knowing which paint or brush I had placed where in the workspace. I was working with a small set of GOLDEN acrylic paints, including the primary colours I needed for mixing. I added a few extra colours from Winsor & Newton, which were important for the success of this painting (Sap Green, Hooker’s Green, Burn Umber, and Raw Umber).
In an earlier post, I wrote about my temporary move to the United States. Packing up my Brussels studio was bitter-sweet. The studio space that I used daily is flooded with light and was organised (or disorganised) in my own way, to which I have grown accustomed. I am, however, looking forward to a year in a new place—Ann Arbor, Michigan—and very grateful to have had an exceptionally long stay recently in my hometown.
Now, back in Ann Arbor, I will set up a new studio space in my temporary home. My first steps are to visit an art store and stock up here. I will be working on a few commission pieces and taking a couple art classes at the Ann Arbor Art Center. I look forward to making this space my own for the year and following my inspiration in my new surroundings.
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