One of the things I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with is that my paintings are hand made. That sounds ridiculous because of course they are hand made. That’s the whole point. No one would argue with that. But that leaves open a lot of grey. In our digital mass produced world, I think sometimes we say we want hand made but then can get upset if say, there’s a brush hair in the painting or a thumbprint or an edge that’s not totally 100% smooth. But in truth, those are all a part of something being hand made.
This truth is something I know I have to accept intellectually (or else I literally can’t ever put out a painting into the world) but I’m still horribly uncomfortable by the fact. The way I counteract that discomfort is to use the most durable products and process I can. I need to know that I’ve done everything in my power to make a lasting piece of art.
Here’s what that looks like: Before I start painting, I seal my boards and canvas with polymer sealers and gesso. I use materials that are lightfast when I’m creating the actual painting. When I’m finished, I’ve started using varnish to protect a bit more from the sun and the annoyingness of dust. (Seriously, side tangent: dust is my mortal studio enemy. I thought it would be cat hair but cat hair is a problem of zero while dust is a problem of 10 billion. You leave a painting alone for 2 days and suddenly there is all this dust on it.)
These extra steps will make the paintings more sturdy and also help my own brain know that I have literally done everything chemically possible to make the painting durable for the big bad world. Because hopefully, someone will bring one of my pieces into their home and onto their wall because they love it. And I want them to be able to enjoy that painting for a long long time.