Sunday, December 12, 2010
A Deep Low, With Rain
I have half a dozen large paintings under way in the large, well-ventilated, semi-rural space that has been my studio for the past couple of months. My progress on them has slowed to snail's pace. After several days of humid heat and heavy rain, expanses of fragile enamel – the total surface of some of my paintings measure six square metres – have not dried and hardened as they should. Each colour requires several coats and each coat is sanded and cleaned before another's added. In dry weather, I can do two or three a day on each painitng. In the persistent 'wet', I manage – barely – one. I'm three days behind on an already tight schedule.With pre-Christmas delivery deadlines looming, I've been forced to move production to a couple of small but better insulated rooms in Brisbane's inner suburbs. There, drying can be accelerated. But the lack of space will limit the amount of canvasses that can be worked on at the same time and amplify enamel's ill effects. Even in a larger, well ventilated studio, the paints' toxic fumes raise blisters on my skin, redden my eyes, and scour my nose and throat (despite the protection of a filtered mask). This morning, I lost another couple of hours carefully wrapping the works-in-progress so that a specialist art transporter could truck them across Brisbane. With luck, I will be able to make up the time by working late into the night and early morning. With luck, the finished works will have dried in time for the same art transporter to collect them for delivery to Melbourne and Adelaide on Wednesday. With luck, I won't be laid out on the floor, too exhausted and nauseous to do everything else I've planned for this week.