Plein Air by the Stream


This time I sat by the stream at the apartment complex. The stream was pretty full following a big storm the night before. Several small children were enjoying playing in it. Some of them would creep up quietly behind me to see what I was doing and then say shyly, “I like your painting”. One little girl watched me with her eyes shining, obviously wishing she could be painting too.

Cottage experiment


This was another lesson from a library book, painted on Arches Oil Paper. I thought I’d try the same picture on canvas board to examine the differences.



The contrast is not quite as high here, and the overall effect is a little looser. The paint can move about more on ¬†canvas than on paper, so earlier layers are more easily disturbed on canvas. I’m still deciding which one I like better.





This spring a friend told me about the beautiful flowers at a local winery, so I stopped there one Saturday morning to see them. This is from one of the photographs I took there.

Trying Oil Paper


One aspect of plein air painting so far that I wasn’t sure if I liked was the canvas texture, which seems to show through a lot in such a quick painting. Then I thought of this ‘oil paper’ made by Arches. I found some in the excellent art store here in town and bought a piece to try out. This picture is a lesson from a library book I have out at the moment. I was pleased with the result.

Campus Gates


For this painting I sat in the parked van and painted from the driver’s seat with my pochade box on my lap. Katherine read her newly checked out library books in the back seat! I do not like the ‘childishness’ of much of this picture, but it was another try.

Shoebox Pochade Box

One of my goals for this summer is to learn to paint outside–en plein air. I looked into wooden pochade boxes and decided they were too expensive for an experiment, so I thought about making my own, but ran out of time. In the end I more quickly made my own version from an old shoebox. It’s working out pretty well!

I attached a ribbon to the sides and across the outside of the lid, using staples and strong glue. The ribbon stops the lid from flopping backwards (ie in an upright easel position). There is another ribbon attached to the center of the lid that wraps under the box and attaches with velcro to the bottom front of the box, which stops the lid flopping forwards.

I glued in 2 blocks of wood inside to support my palette (disposable gray paper palette taped to a piece of stiff card), leaving room on the floor of the box for brushes, paper towel, and water in a baby food jar (with lid). I could also fit tubes of paint and masking tape in here. I prefer to set up my palette before leaving home, to minimize weight.

The ‘easel’ is an old piece of stiff cardboard glued to the inside of the lid. I attach the canvas to this with masking tape.

The whole thing was made entirely from materials I had on hand and cost me nothing!