This past week I took over the Elliott Fouts Gallery Instagram (@efgallery) as their featured artist for the month of July, 2015.
If you happen to have Instagram on your phone, you can find me there as @xmarksthestott
On July 11, I was at the reception for my latest solo exhibition at the EFG. I talked to many collectors about how I work, my studio space and life as a painter.
For a decade I worked out of a bedroom converted to a studio at my home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Recently my wife and I took a huge leap and decided to relocate our family to the West Coast, on Vancouver Island. Initially we thought the process would take about six months, but in reality it has been an 18 month journey of living out of boxes and chaos as we prepared our home for sale, found temporary living space and hunted for a new home. I think it’s a miracle that I was able to make any paintings at all during that time, but I did.
Eventually the pieces all came together and now, here I am in my new studio in my home in Victoria, British Columbia. It’s bright, spacious and comfortable and I’m surrounded by the objects that inspire me. I plan on being her for a long, long time.
The view from my easel. The shelves house potential. I can play around with ideas for paintings and keep some favourite pieces near by. I like to keep things tidy – I think that comes through loud and clear in my paintings.
One of the perks of having an in-home studio is the 10 second commute from the breakfast table to the office. The one draw back would be that I spend a great deal of time in self-imposed solitary confinement. When I’m in the groove, I can easily spend 7 days a week in the studio. I keep myself entertained with a steady stream of podcasts and audiobooks.
Although my studio can look orderly, there are days when it all comes apart as I figure out what I’m going to paint next.
General thoughts are sketched out, and I move the objects around until the narrative becomes clear. This is when the ideas come together, when I think about what it is I want to portray, and the story I want to tell.
My paintings are simple and straight forward, but it takes consideration and thoughtfulness to break things down to their clearest representations. This is why I’m drawn to the unembellished white backgrounds in my paintings.
This painting is just at the beginning stages where I start to build up color and eventually add details and depth.
I use an indirect technique, adding layers of paint. My work is realistic, but what I don’t think is so obvious is when viewed in person, it’s more painterly than expected.
Being able to spend my days painting is an absolute privilege, but it doesn’t come without some self-doubt and frustration. I have learned the key to getting paintings where you want them is patience and time.