You may have noticed a number of new watercolor paintings lately. Why all of a sudden have I moved to a new medium? Partly, it’s from the portability. Last summer I picked up a great little travel watercolor kit from Windsor Newton’s Cotman line. The kit fit nicely into my travel bag and I brought it with me regularly to the Doll House Baked Goods’ Farmers Markets.
I started painting some of my #spaceshipaday drawings while hanging out at the markets. One of the images was used for the cover of my Coloring Book, Coloring Space 1. I liked the simplicity and speed. And the Windsor Newton Cotman Watercolors were a lot better than I expected.
I have to credit James Gurney’s blog with a great series on Plein Air Painting techniques. He’s got great tips on making your own portable art setup. Definitely worth the time to go through if you have any interest in Plein Air Painting – plus he has great dinosaur paintings.
Once I got the hang of the basics, as with any paint media, I started trying out a few other subjects including some of my favorite lighthouses and scenes. Not only is watercolor a fast media to use, it’s quite unforgiving. That forces you to commit to your painting faster than usual. It’s a good exercise and with the right touch they can look fantastic.
I am by no means a master at this, and I don’t claim to be. This is merely another chance for me to explore color in my artwork. As much as I enjoy the digital experience with my iPad, Procreate, and a stylus, there’s something more visceral and rewarding about working with traditional tools.
Artist Travel Kit
These sketches were fun but I was finding that I wanted a few more options during some of the longer market sessions. Then we packed for a long RV trip to Michigan and I wanted to bring some of my paint supplies with me. I was limited to a few pens, pencils and smaller 4″ x 6″ cut sheets of watercolor paper – my basic drawing package that I bring with me almost everywhere. But back home I had a lot more tools and supplies that I often used in my studio. To get things a bit more portable I started gathering my essentials into a larger kit.
I started with a fine wooden box from Chateau Ste. Michelle, a perfect size for my kit. It would be a bit larger than a sling-bag but it gave me a few more options while on location.
Now I have a bigger container of pens, including my ink-well style pens from ages ago when I drew my cartoons by hand. They still work very well. I also have a small Prismacolor Colored Pencil set, a new box of Pentel watercolors that I’m just starting to try out, my old design pastels, Golden liquid acrylic paints, a jar for water, erasers, and several pencil sharpeners. It all fits nicely in the box and it even leaves enough room for a wider variety of watercolor paper sizes.
Sure it’s a bit more to carry than my sling bag, but it also acts as its own tabletop when I don’t have a lot of flat surfaces. Later I’ll figure out an option for mounting a tripod and maybe re-work the lid into a drawing table with optional angles, who knows. The existing hinges are more decorative and won’t hold up well with repeated heavy usage.
I’m looking forward to doing a lot more of these, especially once we open our new shop. There I’ll have the room to work on paintings in the public full-time.
Now Available In My Store
A number of these are already available for sale in my store. I’m offering the originals right now and will be offering prints once I decide on a proper avenue for producing them. As much as I hate to turn this into a giant sales pitch, the purchases do help me continue making these. Thank you all