“Be Prepared”

As I mentioned in my spring blog post, we were planning a holiday, and it was wonderful.  Summer, as a whole has been marvelous.  Though the good weather was late in coming, once it hit in late June it decided to take up residence.  Now we are about to enter September and we still are having predominantly sunshine and warm days.  That’s not always the case after Regatta Day in St. John’s.

Planning a holiday also meant planning what art supplies I wanted to take along.  I knew I wouldn’t be making “serious art”, but I did want to take materials for sketching, and for maintaining my travel journal.  You also know, from previous posts, that I am a bit of a supply and diy geek, so the first thing I considered was a small watercolour palette.  cotmanI have W&N Cotman travel set, which I was planning to take, but I had seen the Pocket Palette business card size kit on Pinterest, and elsewhere, and thought I might be crafty enough to make something similar.  So let the games begin.

Small Metal Notepad

Many years ago, my husband gave me a tiny metal notepad with a pen that kept it closed.  While I loved it, I hadn’t used it often, so it was ready for a reincarnation.

20170502_221651

I found little metal pans online at a cosmetic supply firm (TKB Trading) and I had an old sheet magnet from a calendar, and some small magnet dots from the Dollarama.  I glued the magnet to the inside of the notepad base with E6000, and as the metal pans stuck nicely to the magnet I didn’t need to use the magnet dots.  I used white adhesive contact paper to make the mixing space under the cover.

I had purchased some lovely Shinhan Watercolours from Amazon, so my next task was to fill the pans I wanted.

20170502_222050

It was just a matter of filling the pan, and then spreading the paint out with a toothpick.  I included Mission Gold Crimson Lake, and W&N Cotman Payne’s Gray, because they are favourites.  You can see the rest of my palette selections on the sample card above.  Once the pans had dried (2 days) I just slipped them into the case and now I have a lovely little kit that I can slip in my pocket with a waterbrush and a pencil.

My Pocket Palette

But for journaling on the trip I wanted a little more.  I like a selection of pens, and prefer normal brushes to waterbrushes.  The ephemera one collects on a trip needs to be taped or glued in and scissors and rulers are helpful.  When I was growing up I had pencil cases for school that held all sorts of art supplies, so while I was in the Thrift Store, I came across a more modern version of this with an inner divider and decided it had potential.

I grant you I am a fan of all things Disney, but this was not the vision I had for my art supplies.  Acrylic paint to the rescue.  I think the result is much more appropriate.

The kit holds pencils, art eraser, ruler, fountain pens, a white pen and glue pens, along with an assortment of waterbrushes and travel brushes alongside my Cotman paints.  There is a plastic card cut from packaging wrapped with washi tape, and there are watercolour paper pieces, binderclips and elastics; water container, colour wheel, spray bottle, paper towel and cloth cuff.

20170601_104843

And of course, one must have a matching sketchbook.  This was a book of quite sturdy watercolour paper (no weight given) that I picked up at a yard sale.  The cover is heavy chipboard.

 

The truth of the trip was that it was so busy there was little time to sketch anything, and I will leave the details of our travels to a future post.  But here is a little tidbit to whet your appetite.

AzuraJournal14-page-001

Advertisements

Happenstance 

I am a teacher. 3rd generation.  If you were to ask me why I did it my stock answer would be, “for the light-bulbs.”  What I meant by that was the moment you could see understanding dawn in a student’s eyes. Or the moment when passion or love of a subject took over.  I’m retired now and that is why I have the time to indulge myself in my own learning. Last summer someone turned on a light bulb for me. It wasn’t a quick flick of a switch, but a slow charging of a battery.

Laura, from Create Art Every Day, liked one of my posts and so I went to visit her at a time when she was posting a small watercolour every day, and I was impressed. No I didn’t hop right to it. I’m more comfortable with acrylics and watercolour intimidates me. But I did use my Crayola watercolour pencils to capture the visit of a colourful arachnid to my peony. See Inspired By A Visitor.  And that was all. For about 6 months.

After Christmas I took on two goals:  

  1. Continue writing a journal.  I do a good job of a travel journal, but usually not of a more continuous variety.
  2. Learn to draw; at least a little.

I can paint, but I have never considered myself able to draw. So I bought a couple of books at a second hand store, and started following Shoo Rayner and Cathy Johnson on Youtube.  Cathy had this lovely tutorial on making folded sketchbooks from single sheets of paper-much less intimidating than a fancy new sketchbook. 20170404_204040Each night I would sit and write in my journal, and then try to sketch one small thing. Not every night, mind you, but most nights.

And black and white is pretty dull, but I had an old Prang kid’s watercolour set. Well, the rest is history.

 

 

 

 

I now have quite a collection. All small, about double ATC size, but I’ve so enjoyed it. I’m learning every day; watercolour no longer intimidates me.

Here’s a little selection of the progression

Back Deck Visitor

Back Deck Visitor – One of the first

Sketch 2

Snow Day – Under Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

More recent sketches are definitely cleaner looking.

We have a holiday coming up, and I look forward to taking a little kit with me and adding some visuals to my travel journal. Thank You to, Danny Gregory, Liz Steel,  Koosje Koene and so many more for all the many hours of free instruction they have provided.  And thank you, Laura, for your advice and encouragement.  It may have only been a moment but we never know what little thing we do that influences someone else.  Be well.

Monika