Overcoming Challenges in a Tiny Apartment Studio

Since September 2013, I have been living in a 420 square-foot apartment [with a loft] with my girlfriend. As you can imagine, this has been quite challenging for me to create paintings, store all my materials in roughly a 7×7 foot corner of the living space, and still not encroach upon my girlfriend’s space or the rest of the living area. And if that isn’t bad enough, the only windows available to me are the glass front doors which are South-facing, a.k.a. the worst possible scenario when living in the Northern hemisphere. I thought I’d have to paint miniature paintings my whole life while living here but I’ve been painting as large as 24″ x 36″ recently.
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How I Package and Ship Small Paintings

shipping-box

For the past few years now I’ve been selling small paintings on Etsy and shipping them out myself and I’ve had to figure out the best way to pack them safely so they don’t arrive damaged in any way. I use the USPS free flat rate boxes – usually the Medium size – as these allow for extra room around the painting for padding, in case the box gets stepped on or dropped the painting won’t be touched.
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Varnishing Oil Paintings with Gamblin Gamvar

varnishing-surface-quality

In the last few days I’ve been varnishing all of the paintings I’ve done in the last one and half years since I began using oil paints. Most of the paintings are small in size, 6x8s or 5x7s but I also have some 12x16s – and just recently within the past month or two I’ve begun painting larger – 18×24, 20×20, and 24×36. But I started out only varnishing the smaller paintings because I wasn’t sure how to go about it.. and the reason is because if you search “varnishing oil paintings” online, you will come across so many different explanations and solutions and problems that you will cry and never want to ever varnish your paintings.
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Oil Painting Clean Up – My Process

In a recent post, I mentioned one of the differences I’ve noticed between using oils and using acrylics is a “lazier cleanup”. I didn’t have a chance to elaborate on what exactly that meant, so I’d like to do it here. My process of cleaning up with oils is quite similar to acrylics [you can view a video of that here] – after a painting session, I simply clean my brushes with soap and water. My full process is down below:

 

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