Over this winter my husband built me a new and improved pochade box! We just finished it last week. It is modeled on the shoebox pochade box that I made last summer. The sides are pine, with a plywood base and lid.
The lid has an overhang at the back, which was a happy accident. He made the lid too large on purpose, intending to trim it to the size of the box. While we were trying to decide on a mechanism to hold the lid open at the right angle for painting, I opened it one day and found that the remaining overhang rested on the back of the box and supported it at just the right angle! Like this…
Inside, he put a small ledge on 3 sides, to support a palette (actually I’m resting my Masterson Sta-Wet Handy Palette on it).
The water container is a baby food jar.
Under the palette support I can fit all my supplies!
I took it on a weekend trip last weekend. Here’s what it looks like in use:
It rests on my lap very securely (we experimented quite a bit with the size and weight to achieve this). Here’s the first painting I did using it, of the Mississippi River from my hotel room. (I felt too self-conscious just yet to venture out to paint in a busy city, although I did take my watercolor supplies and sit out by a nearby lake and paint).
I’m hoping for lots more outdoor adventures with the new box this summer!
I’m continuing to work through the 50 lessons in Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings by Mark Daniel Nelson. I’m working on #32, and sometimes itching to branch off and do ‘my own thing’, but also wanting to complete all the exercises and learn as much as I can. I’m really enjoying the immediacy of the paint, and the way it forces me to be bold and unfussy. Each painting takes me about 30-60 minutes.
I’ve been experimenting with different brands and types of paint, but think I’d better stick to one for now and learn its characteristics, so I’m using Winsor & Newton Artist Acrylics. The consistency is between soft and heavy body, the colors are bright, and they claim that there is no color shift on drying and that they stay wet just a little longer on the canvas. I cannot see a color shift, but I’m not sure about the drying time, as I re-use my paints from a Masterson Sta-Wet palette, so they may already be slightly changed by the time I use them.
I’m also keeping up with my daily Art Journal in watercolor. Maybe that’s why my progress in the 50 acrylic paintings seems slower than I’d like.
I have been having great fun painting these 5 x 5 inch panels in acrylic, using the excellent instruction in this book, Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings, by Mark Daniel Nelson. I found the book at a local library, but have now bought my own copy.
I started out using small squares of canvas paper, but wanted something more solid, so I bought a 2 x 4 ft sheet of hardboard and Jim cut it into 5 inch squares for me. Then I coated 8 at a time with 2 coats of white gesso. The colors are so much fun to work with. I’m experimenting with different types and brands of paint, and even trying out a few mediums.
I’ve done the first 22 small squares in the book, each of which has it’s own ‘lesson’ featured. I’m excited about the possibilities!
I bought a lined, spiral bound journal for this year made by the same publisher as my 2016 journal. However, there was some small change to the paper making it more absorbent, and giving a more grainy finish.
I wasn’t happy with it, so I decided to make my own. I figured out how to print this grid onto watercolor paper. After a lot of fruitless effort trying to get the pages spiral bound, I took the simpler route and put them all in a 3-ring binder. It’s working really well!
The paper is Arches 90lb cold-pressed watercolor paper. It’s great for watercolor, but does not take colored pencil very well, and pen and ink is more difficult to use on it.
I even have a storage pocket in the back, where I keep the wonderful paint dots from Daniel Smith. It’s like having a complete palette on the go!
I started keeping an art journal in August of 2015, after reading Daily Painting by Carol Marine, and No Excuses Art Journaling by Gina Rossi Armfield. I bought a standard journal at Books A Million, and I kept this one all the way through 2016. On most days I painted in watercolor, or drew in Prismacolor pencils. On some days I stuck in found objects that were related to that day. week or time of year.
I have loved keeping the journal! Sometimes it was therapeutic-expressing an emotion, sometimes it was relaxing, and sometimes just plain fun and enjoyable. I love seeing the week’s page develop. I saw patterns in my life that were encouraging.
My children seem to enjoy looking through it, enjoying the pictures and remembering the events. My oldest daughter has asked me to leave it to her in my will!
Acrylic 9 x 12
This painting was from a photo I took last summer on our camping trip. It is on the southern shore of Lake Erie in NY state. We had just arrived and were scouting the site to decide on a tent construction site and the sun was just sinking over the lake. I loved how the sun hit the edge of the tree and cast long shadows over the grass. We later ate dinner at this picnic table.
Acrylic, 6 x 6 inches
I recently tried these two pictures of baby hands with an orange using two different colored grounds. One was burnt sienna; the other was ultramarine blue. Can you tell which was which?
It’s not difficult to tell–the orange is more vibrant on the burnt sienna, and the rest of the painting is more exciting on the blue background. I found the flesh colors difficult to get correct. I like the top hand on the right the best, as it has the most luminosity.
I think hands are fascinating for their complexity of positions and expressions. I need more practice at painting them though!