The Multiple Charms of Working in Batches

Work In Batches:

I was painting alongside a friend, and she asked what she should do while waiting for the paint to dry on her current piece. I suggested she start a second piece while waiting for the first piece to dry.

This is a strategy I frequently use in the studio to get as much productivity as I can out of that precious time. I dont just start one piece, I start a group of pieces, usually 3 to 6, at once, all using the same process. While I am waiting for one piece to dry, I can work on the next one.

If it is acrylic I am working with that day (like the sunflower seed paintings), by the time I have brought the last one in the group through to the point where it is unworkable and needs to dry, the first one is ready to go again.

If I am working with oil (such as the Western Series), with its longer dry times, it is even more important to work in multiples. I hardly want to wait three days or better between sessions! With that longer dry time, though, I tend to have more time to find solutions to problems I have come up against in a given piece. I can be working on possible solutions to the previous piece subconciously while physically working on the current piece.

If you are working this way on location, like my friend, don’t forget to bring a way to transport all those wet paintings back to the studio safely!