New painting tools

22 March, 2015. I’ve (temporarily) added a couple of Sakura water brushes to my travel kit. So far, the jury is out for me on these. In principal they sound great – carry a brush, carry water in the handle…neat system! Well, not so much, it turns out. For me, at any rate, I find that I still need a cup of water to rinse the brush out. Without that necessity I am discovering that the Sakura water brushes limit me by discouraging the mixing of pigment. (Dirty brushes result in dirty color.) I don’t like applying “pure” color – it feels too much like a kids coloring book.

One person sent me the following suggestion: “Here is how to clean the brush so you can pick up a new color without contaminating it… Have a paper towel in your non dominant hand… hold the brush over the towel and qently squeeze so one drop comes out, and then wipe the brush back and forth on the towel to clean. Now you can go to the next color. Easy peasy.” I tend to believe the simplest solutions really are the best ones, so I’ll give this suggestion a try over the next couple of days to see how it works for me. I’ve a watercolor workshop beginning soon, so the timing is excellent to introduce something new to my students. (Sakura Water Brush and various brands of half pan watercolors)

It’s really tough to beat great weather that arrives so early in the year! People are out and about, walking kids and babies and dogs – I even saw a weird, long legged cat of some sort on a leash. Shorts and t-shirts hold promise of even nicer days to come. What a day!

I quickly scribbled numerous gestural drawings of people, then got about two minutes to capture this mom and baby, when she paused on her walk to take in the fountains. (Lamy Safari medium nib)

Travel sketching

21 March, 2015. One of the best places to visit when traveling is the local farmers market. I love the colors and shapes, the smells, the hustle and bustle, the esoteric people that populate these places. I never realized there were so many varieties of mushrooms in the world until I saw them all neatly laid out in rows, displayed for customers at a similar such market as this one. (Lamy Safari medium nib)

Once out of Seattle, we drove to Olympic National Forest, stopping to explore Ruby Beach along the way. (Lamy Safari medium nib)

The rock formations along the beach are both fascinating and a lot of fun to draw. (Lamy Safari medium nib)

One thing I enjoy doing from time to time is quick drawing figures in action. I spend less than ten seconds on each figure, and just fill a couple of pages as people stroll by. (Lamy Safari medium nib)


Friday the 13th

13 Friday, 2015. It’s Friday the 13th, I’m sitting in the bar of the Hotel Frederik in Boonville, Missouri enjoying a chocolate ale and a dozen excellent oysters on the half shell and waiting on what is purported to be an excellent burger. Friday the 13th, and Spring Break has begun. Friday the 13th and nothing has gone amiss, no black cats have crossed my path, no spilled salt ruining my day. I’m in Boonville, because on the morrow we’ll be leisurely riding a section of the KATY Trail. And tonight, the burger meets all expectations. (Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen in Canson sketchbook.)

Creek Bed

7 March, 2015. Yesterday brought a welcome respite from the dreariness of winter. I rode out about 30km into the less developed areas of Clay County, Missouri just to see what Mother Nature had wrought upon the roads and bridges. I stopped for about five minutes to sketch this creek bed from the top of one such bridge; to the north, trees and melting ice; to the south, refugee washers, broken chairs, and scattered detritus dumped and forgotten. (Lamy medium nib fountain pen, Clay County, Missouri.)

My mind is somewhere else at the moment…

1 March, 2015. Yes, my mind is anywhere but here, where we’ve had another round of cruddy weather this morning. This meant I only spent a short time outdoors with my sketchbook. Coming back indoors I began to thumb through my old sketchbooks and came across this one of an old market some darned place in New Hampshire. For some reason it got penciled out but never inked last September. “Fine,” I thought to myself. “It’s time to apply a pen to this sketch.”

As I said, I did manage to get out for a short time to sketch on location. My notes pretty much sum up how I feel this morning. Bring me some Spring-like weather! (Lamy Safari medium nib in Canson Sketchbook.)