Listening While You Work

Photo on 1-3-16 at 6.38 PM

I am one of those painters who likes to listen to something while they work. It may have started when I worked at a clothing printing business. All day we stood on our feet and hand-printed beautiful organic garments. When people saw us at work they always said “It looks like so much fun to work here.” While it was great to be paid for my creative efforts, the job was actually a lot of work… and at times it was a little tedious. Standing on one’s feet all day is not entirely easy, as you may well know.

While I stood there, it seemed like the literary part of my mind was atrophying, while the other part was dealing with shape and color. In order to stay focused and entertained, I listened to  books on CD. We were allowed to listen to music on headphones, so why not a book? I got all my audiobooks from the local library, which was great because they were free. I listened to almost the entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and every other audiobook I found slightly interesting. Too bad I didn’t really know about interlibrary loan at that time (downloading wasn’t really a thing yet). It wasn’t long before I had exhausted the audiobook collection.

When I started working at a library and discovered downloadable audiobooks. I  was able to listen to Janet Evanovich’s wonderful Stephanie Plum series, which features a retired hooker sidekick named Lula! Those books are worth it. Also, I love Alexander McCall Smith. His books make you chuckle softly. “Oh, I recognize that person,” you might say to yourself while listening to one of his books.

Recently, a friend of mine recommended I listen to The Saavy Painter podcast created by Antrese Wood. It has been one of the most wonderful things to listen to while I paint. I think it might be changing my life and my attitudes about making art. I have even been recommending it to people who don’t make art. I highly recommend it, and I am not a secret agent working for The Saavy Painter. If you run out of Saavy Painter podcasts, you can see what your library has to offer. There are so many options out there in this digital age.

Here are some other great things to listen to:

7 Essential Podcasts for Artists

What are your favorite things to listen to while you create?


Clamping Corners: The Mitre Vise

Clamping corners is something that you may find yourself doing, if you are making your own frames. When I was in grad school we had this wood shop with everything you needed to make really fantastic frames. Ever since, I have been aiming to replicate that awesome wood shop, without really having the space or finances to actually create a replica. One of the things that was helpful was a set of industrial clamps from United Manufacturing. The correct name for this clamp is actually “mitre vise.” I have recently purchased my first vise and it is great. No, I do not work for United Manufacturing, they do not pay me.
I have tried many different gizmos for clamping corners, but nothing has really clamped correctly or held the wood well. I have also recently switched from using a nail gun to hammering in finish nails after I have glued and clamped the wood. The vise holds the wood well enough that I can hammer on it, thus saving me the trouble of hooking up the compressor (which lives outside). With this new system, I can put together frames even when it is below freezing… like it is today 🙂

How have you dealt with framing issues?

Do you think art should be framed if it is displayed in a gallery setting?

What are your favorite types of frames?

Do you think gold frames are elegant or tacky?