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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ahhh, the good feeling of finishing things!

"Autumn Sage" 9 x 12 oil
The following were plein air paintings that were very close to being finished.  Today I did the finishing touches on all three!!!!  I love that feeling.

"Light Through the Cottonwoods" 8 x 10 oil
"Shimmering Light" 9 x 12 oil

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Plein Air Watercolor Sketches - My Solution To Traveling By Air

We recently went to Florida.  I find that traveling by air with limited luggage has encouraged me to use watercolor as my medium for plein air painting.  I have a 5x7 sketchbook that takes a little bit of watercolor, and I have an Arches watercolor block cut in half - 5x7 size - which can take a lot of watercolor without warping.

These two above were done on the Arches block.  I start with Sakura fine tip micron 05 ink pens.  I can get a light whispy line as well as go over it more to get it darker.  I lightly draw in my shapes and then use watercolor.  If it needs a little more texture or definition, I use the pen some more after the paint is dry.  I have a mini pocket knife (that travels in the check-in bag) that trims the painting off the block when done.
This one was done in the sketch book.  the same method - with pen first, then a few swipes with watercolor to suggest color.  I stopped using pencil because it smudges so bad and I don't want to bring any spray fixative.
Same here - I left white paper as much as possible.  Even though I have fancy tubes of watercolor paint I put in a travel watercolor palette, if I am limited on space, I take an 8-color student grade watercolor box (looks like the kind in grammar school).  Amazingly, I can get some rich colors from this $6.00 box!  All of these paintings were done with this box!

I take an empty plastic snapple juice bottle with me on the plane, along with an empty mini craft sprayer bottle.  Somewhere along the way I grab a plastic disposable drink cup that is just large enough to clean the brush.  I fill the bottles with water when I'm ready to paint and take a small tote bag and a mini camera.

I don't use a cheap brush.  I take only one brush along - a medium size one - a Daniel Smith sable mix #6 round.  It has a little bit of a point for finer lines, and broad enough for large coverage areas on a 5x7 paper.  I like to store my brush and pens in one of those zippered cases to prevent the brush tip from getting bent.

Because everything is so small, you don't need too much furniture.  You can do the sketching part standing up if you have to, and paint on your lap with the palette on your knee and the water nearby.  Very easy, very quick since you are working 5x7 and not messy and easy to transport.  Makes a fun momento of your trip too!