Sunday, March 25, 2012
Getting Out There to Paint
With the weather so freakishly pleasant, I decided I could not spend the afternoon in my upstairs studio. My in-shape husband was out riding his bicycle, and I wanted to get some natural vitamin D for myself, so I gathered up my small watercolor sketchbook, traveling palette, brushes, portable chair and plastic bucket and drove a few miles outside of town to paint a bit.
I am not always a happy plein air painter, and one reason is the difficulties I often have with wind and sunshine that blow my papers around and dry my paint quick as a wink. So today I decided that I was going to (1) paint quite small, and (2) try out something I saw in a post from another blogger. It was a gizmo made from a legal document-sized clipboard ($2.00) adapted to serve as a holder for small canvases. There is a wooden paint stirrer (free from the hardware store) glued at the bottom that serves as a lip to hold the canvas, or in my case, the little spiral bound watercolor sketchbook. Another wooden paint stirrer gets held snugly in place with butterfly clips (from my junk drawer). This home-made lap desk was perfect for sitting and painting today. The clipboard provided a little more space for waxy crayons and a paintbrush, the metal clip kept my paper towels from being blown across the field, and the sketchbook was held snugly between the wooden paint stirrers. It's adjustable too - all you need do is move the top piece of wood to accommodate the size of your canvas or sketchbook.
I have other quirks that have occasionally made my experience painting outdoors less than joyful, and today I resolved to overcome them. First, child of Depression era parents that I am, my inclination is to be a little stingy with my paint. Today no parsimonious little dabs in the plastic travel palette, each well got a good fresh blob of watercolor paint. My other issue is one of attitude; I want everything I do to be beautiful. Well not everything I try turns out to my satisfaction, and today I decided to concentrate on the process; the results be what they would be. It was much less stressful than other outdoor painting excursions, even though the results will never be shown in public - other than here. I had fun.