I've managed to get some good work done over the last few days. I was out of town most of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday visiting with some good friends who just moved back to Iowa from Kentucky. So glad to have them back!
I also spent a couple of evenings varnishing a piece for a customer. She purchased it last year right off of the easel. The rule of thumb with varnish is to wait at least six months before applying your first coat of any kind of varnish. I've varnished paintings prematurely and I kindof wonder what, if anything, will really happen. The idea is that your dry top coat of paint still sits over layers of wet paint. The top coat is porous and allows the moisture from the lower layers to leach out and evaporate. This is why you don't want to seal an oil painting under glass. A friend of mine had one of my pieces that was under glass and the moisture from the paint has caused mildew to grow on the surface over the years. A situation that will need to be rectified and can be cleaned up with some turp and a slightly different framing situation hopefully.
I've made some progress on both of the pieces I currently have on the easels. I'm just cleaning up the little piece. Refining lines. Correcting colors. On the Chicago piece i'm filling in more specific areas of color, definiing the characters (people, cars), and working on overpainting the sky, street, and building fronts. I'm hoping to get the ISU/Ames piece done this week. I'm spending too much time dicking around with it. Probably a symptom of my current mental state. When there's a lot going on a person can get a little scatterbrianed and/or manic. It's a happy manic tho so... don't worry. The trick with this sort of state of mind is to try and keep focused amidst all of the mental noise. To stay in the moment. Like Ram Dass said, "Be Here Now". It's something I tell my kids regularly. Don't be running in fifty different directions. Be Here Now. Keep your mind on where you are and what you're doing.
Probably a lesson many of us can live and learn. I work on it every day.