Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Drudgery

In the middle of all of my preparations for leaving for Vermont on Sunday, I have had to tackle the part of being a painter (well, the way I paint anyway) that really sucks.

I use cotton rags to wipe off the paint when I do the underpaintings, as well as to wipe off my brushes and to wipe off the color paint, especially if I have put down a color that doesn't work. Mindful of how wasteful this is, I use the rags until they are so saturated and/or stiff from oil paint that they can stand up and walk away on their own. I bought two fifty pound boxes of rages from Rose Brand about two years ago and I am just now using up the last bit of the first box.

Normally I have quite a few on hand, but of course I always get to the bottom of the pile just when I am the busiest-like right now. Plus this time I will need to take a batch along with me to the residency. So the other day I loaded up a laundry basket of rags, which turned out to be two loads in the washer (I wash them first to get rid of as much of the lint as possible). Then I have to go through them and cut the larger pieces into smaller sections. I try to make different sized pieces-large ones to wipe the brush on after I rinse them or to get rid of excess glaze or paint, medium/smaller sized pieces to use during the painting process and also for the underpaintings. Then all of the pieces get sorted, folded up, and stored in their own cabinet.

This is all very tedious, and I usually end up with a blister or two from scissors. I have tried to get the kids to do this job, but I can't even pay them enough to stick with it, they hate it as much as I do. It is slightly more tolerable when I do it over the course of a few days, and if I have music or the TV on. I try to do enough at one time though, so that I won't have go through this torture more than a few times per year.

Super exciting post, huh? Well, that's what I have been doing the last few days-painting, and washing/cutting/folding cotton rags, very fulfilling work that will surely change the world. Heh.

8 comments:

Maddy said...

I think I'd be tempted to use some old rags from the Thrift store and be done with it.
BEst wishes

Tracy said...

Hi Maddy, Yes, I did that at first, but I spent so much time trying to find enough cotton rags that it was easier to buy the box. Plus they still needed to be cut and all that anyway.

Lisa said...

Have you tried using a rotary cutter (like pizza cutter that is sharp enough to cut fabric)instead of scissors?

It would eliminate blisters - and kids love it when you let them touch the rotary cutter - they might do the cutting for free.

Tracy said...

Hi Lisa, I actually have one and every time that I do this with the rags, I keep thinking I should try to find it (haven't seen it since we moved here) and use that. And then I end up being in a rush and it seems easier to just use the stupid scissors. Next time...

Melody said...

That does sound tedious. I'm always trying to pay my kids to do odd job around my studio but so far I've not had any luck either.
You must be getting excited about Vermont.......

Deborah Paris said...

Glad to hear someone else is in "rag hell" along with me...:) I did appreciate the tip about washing them in advance to get the lint out- don't know why I didn't think of that before. It seems like I spend a ridiculous amount of time obsessing over lint these days......

have a great month at VSC!

Natalya said...

rotary cutter definitely! that's the way to go! get a new one if you can't find, it's worth it...

GiselleG said...

Tracy,
Hi! I haven't posted in some time, but wanted to drop you a note and wish you a fabulous time in Vermont. I hope you find it to be inspirational and recharging. Looking forward to your report!