Moving my enamel work to my home studio has meant that I've had to revise an already complicated schedule. There's less space now. Instead of an open-plan 'factory', I'm using three rooms of my beachside house and my garden (for preparation work like sanding and undercoating).
I've also reconsidered how I handle the actual painting. Apart from a young assistant who will wash brushes and help me move large, heavy frames, I'll paint alone. I prefer it this way. I get to stay at home by the sea as well as set – and maintain control – over a tight schedule to which I know I can adhere. One of the problems with having an assistant working on a painting unsupervised at a different location was that they didn't stick to my well-proven, strictly ordered process. It dissolved my planning and timings and made delveries unpredictable.I'm spending today devising a new schedule. I break down the production of every enamel painting I'm working on day-by-day. Referring to detailed studied drawings, every colour is listed in order of application and number of coats. Some colours need two coats, others five. I paint large areas of colours – I call them 'blocks' – first, leaving 48 hours between each re-coat. When they're completely finished, I draw on and paint details. As I paint, I record the time each task takes. This highlights any potential time blow-outs early on, so I can make adjustments. I don't need to do so often, not anymore. But I like to know, just in case.As the schedule for each work is finalised, I feel less anxious. The amount of work doesn't phase me. I just need to know when each will be done, so I can give collectors an accurate delivery date – and make space for the rest of my life.