Monday, October 15, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Action Day

Monday is Blog Action Day. A day when many Bloggers will unite to focus their readers on one single issue: The environment. I am still trying to come up with something profound to post in this day, but I am sure it will come to me. Meanwhile here is a quick pen and wash sketch!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving day here in Canada. A North American holiday like no other. Unlike all the regular holidays that have been commercialized over the years, thanksgiving remains a stubborn event focused on the family and on introspective meditation of what we have in our lives. A moment in the year to stop. Take a deep breath and give thanks for our the abundance that we live in.

Who we give thanks to is irrelevant. This is not a religious holiday. It is a spiritual one that we all own. It is a day of humanity taking stock of gifts we are given in our lives. Not packaged gifts. No colour wrapping and glitter here. Just a moment to say we are so lucky to be and have.

The seasonal holiday, as most good ones, comes from an ancient tradition of harvest celebration. It was a time in the past to celebrate the goods the earth had given and the crop of the year. It still is in many ways a moment to ponder the harvest of our year and the many treasures we gather in laughter and friendships and good fortune and love.

Happy thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sketching tools

Before heading out to do our traditional fall apple picking Sunday, I thought I'd share with you what painting tools I take with me on my trips. So here is my tool kit (Top left to bottom right):

Super Deluxe Aquabee Sketchbooks (2). I love these sketch books. They come in different sizes and have 60 pages of paper that can handle watercolour sketching very well. Forget the molskins and the other expensive sketchbooks. You don't want to be counting the papers in your sketch book when you are out there and just want to sketch and play. These are head and shoulders above all others. I have even used a shelf-edging as a tight grip for these. I use a 4"x6", a 6"x9" and (not shown a 9"x9")

Our local art store also sells their own brand of watercolour blocks and pads. I use these all the time when sketching especially if I know I need a heavy wet-in-wet effect. (5"x7")

My trusted glasses (I can't see anymore).

My W&N souped-up metal box with 27 1/2 pans.

Next are my brushes, pens and pencils.
The pens here are Faber-Castell PITT artist pens (S,F and M).
I carry 3 Derwent Sketching water-soluble pencils (HB,4B,8B) along with a white Faber-Castell watercolour pencil.
I also carry a mechanical pencil for quick drawings before I paint.

The brushes are all travel brushes. I carry:
3 Isabey (#4, #6 kolinsky and a #00 squirrel Mop).
A connoisseur #8 Kolinsky Pocket
and a #10 Escoda Kolinsky.
These are more brush than I will ever need for sketching or painting on the road, but I like to have my options.

Next comes a dollar store sprayer. I use that to wet my 1/2 pans before using. If you do that, you will be able to get the same consistency from your dry 1/2 pans as from your tubes. Actually you can get a thicker consistency if you need it.

A white gauche. I almost never use it, but it is still there!

A kneaded eraser. A very handy and needed tool (excuse the pun)!

And my 2 film canisters with magnets at their base. These hold my water and hold well to the W&N box.

I carry all these in a Dollar store pencil pouch and take a water bottle along of course.

Well there you have it. My trusted tools. I carry a larger block if I am painting a full outdoor painting, but I usually don't travel far with these. I really don't have time for anything larger than a 6"x9" when I am away on business trips.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Vancouver Again

I was in Vancouver again this week. The rain was constant and it was damp and cold. I tried to go out for a walk, but got so damp so quickly that I just had to give up and retreat.
Stanley Park and the Sulphur Pile

Back in my room I opened the curtains and decided to sketch the view of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge beyond. The trees are just starting to turn out there and the colours are a deep orange and burnt sienna mix. The flora out there is mostly conifer, but dotted with those lovely oaks and maples.

Lions Gate Bridge

On Wednesday I flew out to Calgary and the plane approached the city in a magnificent storm. The rain/snow was falling over the city but the sunset around the city was a deep golden hew on a rich blue and gray sky. I wish I had my camera with me. It was a symphony of colours and breath-taking shapes. Note to self: Never fly without your camera again.

On the way back home last night I did a small sketch of a picture from the in-flight magazine. All in all not a very exciting sketching week, but nevertheless, my brushes were thankful to get wet again!