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I’m often asked, “How do I start?” The very first thing I do after walking to my Studio is to prepare the place to be productive. Anything that does not serve me for “the day’s painting assignments” is put away out of sight. I prefera clean, uncluttered studio when I create. The tables are covered with polyethylene and taped down. Next, Sirius Radio or Pandora sets the atmosphere. And furthermore, I have an old habit left over from the 60s I light incense. Again, itsets the tone, calms me and helps me focus on the task at hand.

Always with me is my sketchbook with notes and any painting assignments that Kate and I have determined from our earlier morning meeting. And some mornings I play my electric drum set I have in the corner. I play for an hour – it’s my stretching exercise. Now I’m ready to paint. It’s 8:30am… like a real job!

Usually, every morning I start with small 6×9 inch warmup paint sketching consisting of a series. The Painting of the Month Club starts with this excersise. After an hour or so, I’m ready to get into my major purpose of the day – the body of work I’ve been painting for awhile, such as my exhibit series, a museum show or the Sausalito Art Festival. By this time I’m usually in the groove, which will last all day, uninterrupted.

Before painting, I journal. This becomes my “job description” and includes my daily four Cs. What’s the CONCEPT? The big idea. What’s the COLOR COMBINATION? I place on the table only those tubes of predetermined colors, plus black and white. What’s the COMPOSITION? I have twelve to choose from. The next C is a no-brainer – COMMITMENT to the concept. I’m a painter and I’m committed to the task at hand. And the last C is CONTINUE THE SERIES.

Some of my studio tables hold pre-gessoed and precut paper taped down. Others tables have a stack of small canvases; and on the wall hangs larger canvases. The stage is set for my typical studio day. Once all this is in place, I paint all day without stopping the flow of “creative automatism.” Once I start painting, I am all about production and flow. I can trace all that back to my earlier life to product design and manufacturing… and that’s how I start!

Robert Burridge, 2013