As a graphic designer, I worked on multiple projects at any given time due to moving deadlines. As an artist, I also do the same. I may work on a watercolor painting in the morning building up glazes then switch to collage or monoprints in the afternoon and end my day working on a blog entry. I find the creative process for each medium spills over into the next and helps me keep a fresh eye. I may discover a process that could apply to another medium and that excitement is rewarding.
I have a great studio but it’s not big enough to include a dedicated area for each medium. I set up and break down each time I move to a different project. I’ve learned to stay organized so I spend my time painting and not setting up and breaking down projects. The key to doing this is preparation, trays and a limited palette. I put all my paints out I need for a particular painting on a tray as well as brushes and can easily move it at will. The same goes for paint and papers for collages. When I work on collages or monoprints I tend to stay in a given palette till I exhaust those colors. Lately I’ve finished approximately 50 monoprints in indigo. Now I’m onto greige (a combination of gray and beige). A limited palette keeps things simple and efficient.
You may think the prep time takes away from creativity but I find just the opposite. Having all my materials ready to go allows me to think about the painting rather than scrambling around the studio looking for a paint color or brush. It’s actually freeing once you get into the habit of preparation.