I’m at a loss right now. I’m not sure what art project I should start. What I should make or do. Life is like that sometimes. These are the times I rely on my good habits to get stuff done. A lot of artists have a hard time getting anything done. That’s because when an artist can’t figure out exactly what they want to do they often do nothing. I can understand why but I find doing nothing to be counterproductive in the long run. I try and get a little something done.

My artistic skill set and interests are broad. That helps. I have a long list of different types of art I like to make and I can switch between them as the mood suits me. There is even some stuff that I can do that takes less energy and concentration than usual. I often will grab one of those projects on days where I am at a loss.

Last week I finished a big acrylic on canvas painting and it took a lot out of me. It took more energy than I thought it would. In the days after I finished it my concentration was not at its height. So I worked on some of my faux comic book covers. I have a bunch of them worked up to various stages so I took one that was at the marker coloring stage and worked on it. That one had some complicated color to be done and it took about five hours to do.

After that one was concentration was still not up to snuff so the next time I started something it was some inking. I had another cover pencilled and ready to be inked so I grabbed that one. With just black ink to worry about rather than color I was able to get this one done faster but I still took my time. I didn’t want to rush through. It took four or five hours to ink.

As I was doing this inking and coloring I was also thinking about doing some more paintings over the summer. I got it in my head that I should buy some stretched canvases. In my younger days I used to stretch all my own canvases. I would buy lumber, cut it to length, add molding, put the four pieces of wood together into a rectangle, stretch and staple raw canvas over the wood stretchers, and then prime the canvas with gesso. That’s a lot of work. I used to enjoy it though. Nowadays I buy pre-stretched canvas. It’s more expensive but also more convenient.

The painting I just finished was 26×40 inches. I decided to get some canvases that were 24×36 inches. That’s a standard size. Since the painting I just finished was one I started 20 years ago it was an odd size that I stretched myself. I looked around for the best price I could find which was about $16 a canvas. For some reason I wanted to get ten of them but $160 wasn’t quite in the budget for the month. Plus ten paintings would be a lot to get done over just the summer.

As I was inking, coloring, and contemplating painting I also started contemplating photography. One of the things I like to do is occasionally look at Ebay to try and find old nude negatives to buy. After I buy a negative I scan it in and digitally manipulate it into a new composition that’s my own. Sometimes I draw colorful masks on the models in the photos.

I found and ordered a couple of new negatives but also realized I had bought one a couple of months ago yet had done nothing with it. So I took a day and did something with it. Once again it took me a longer time to make something than I thought it would. I started working on the photo early Saturday morning. I drew a mask on paper, and then scanned it in to put on the face in the photo. After that I made a 10×15 inch photo that took all of Saturday to make. I probably spent twice as much time on it as I thought it would take.

In recent years when I make one of these photos I actually make two of them. I make a 10×15 inch version and an 8×10 inch version. The smaller version has a little of the top and bottom trimmed off so both compositions have to work. I think I developed this method of working because I thought the smaller version would be easier to sell online. Turns out no one buys either version but I still decided to work that way.

I mention the two versions because that brings me to the next thing I got done. As part of getting the photo done I print out test prints on 8.5×11 inch paper until I get it right. After about half a dozen test prints I usually get it correct and then print out an 11×17 inch one. I checked my boxes of inkjet photo paper to print on and didn’t find any. I then looked online to buy some new photo paper but could have sworn I already had the paper I was shopping for. I got offline and searched my studio for half an hour to find the paper I was looking for. There it was, in a cabinet, not with all my other inkjet paper.

One of the things about printing out 11×17 inch photos or prints is that you need a place to put them. Some place convenient. I’ve put them in boxes, mylar sleeves, or sleeves in portfolio books. But I ran out of all of those things. A while ago.

After printing out the new masked photo at 11×17 inches and not having a convenient place to put it I noticed I hadn’t printed out a dozen other masked photos I finished over the years. I printed them at 8.5×11 but I guess with no place to put the 11×17 inch ones I never printed them. So I took a day and printed a dozen of them. It takes a while to make that many prints.

After printing I still had no good place to the photos so I decided to look for some portfolio books. I found some Dick Blick house brand ones that looked good and were only $10. That was a lot cheaper than the name brand $16 ones. That was also where I ws buying the canvases from so I cut the number of canvases down to five and put in the order.

I was going to order some new tubes of paint with the canvas but I didn’t have the money in the budget. That and I have to inventory my acrylic paint. I still have a lot of tubes of paint to use but I not sure what I have and what I need. No sense in ordering more just yet. I’ll save that task to do another day.