Dizzy Swallows

Behind the Paint

Behind the Paint

July 9th, 2010 6 Comments

This week has flown by in a blissful state of temporal suspension. I have been painting. Finally. I can’t even begin to explain the simple, unadulterated joy this brings me. I will have paintings to share with you very soon (fingers crossed for next week), but in the meantime I wanted to give you a glimpse of what the preparation has been like.

As you may remember, I mentioned early on that we were finishing out the studio space upstairs. Well at long last, and through many trials and tribulations, it is done.

This is what it looked like in the early stages, after Jacob and I had taped, mudded, sanded and begun to prime.


And this is the beautiful sanctuary I now enjoy. Thanks Dad and Kris!


I take pride in the fact that my paintings are my own creation from start to finish. This means I assemble the stretcher boards from scratch, stretch, gesso, and sand the canvas myself. Over the years I have found that this is not only cheaper in the long run, but allows a greater connection with my materials and consequently the finished work. Jacob (as ever) was the very model of helpfulness, volunteering for sawing and drilling duty.

brick molding

We began with 7 and 10 foot lengths of brick molding…


Typically, I prefer to use a chop saw to get the 45 degree corner cuts. Since room was scarce on our move down, Jacob woefully had to leave most of his tools in Seattle. We made do with an old and trusty miter saw temporarily donated to the cause by my father.


Once the lengths are measured, cut and assembled, we use clamps, wood glue, and screws to secure the frame.

cutting canvas

The next step is to measure (and measure again) and cut the canvas from my giant bulk roll.


sita helps

Sita wanted to help of course.


Stretching the measure canvas is a painstaking and exhausting process. To get the canvas stretched evenly, you must mirror each pull and staple.

finished front

Finally, after applying and sanding a minimum of three layers of gesso, I am rewarded with a pristine, soft ground just begging to be filled by my imagination.

And now it is back to the studio! Happy Friday everyone!

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6 Responses to “Behind the Paint”

  1. amanda says:

    You’re little studio is beautiful, Danielle! I hope to have something like this for myself someday. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying your posts. Keep up the good work. 🙂


  2. Dad says:

    You’re welcome. Have fun.

  3. Mercia says:

    What a lovely studio! I am going to be moving back to Seattle soon and need to set up one myself – yours looks like a perfect little, light, tranquil space.
    Enjoy painting, can’t wait to see what you paint xoxox

  4. Mercia says:

    Oh and I am SO impressed that you make your own canvases! Now that is dedication! You’ll have to teach me one day.

    • danielle says:

      Thanks Merc! I’m glad to hear you’re moving back to Seattle and I’d be more than happy teach you whenever we’re all back together again. It’s always sooner than we think, right? Big hugs!