29 July, 2018. I’ve been pretty busy this past week getting the Art Department ready for the start of classes in a couple of weeks. Long story short: Not a lot of time to paint or sketch – but plenty of opportunity to be pondering ideas.
Occupying my thoughts has been gouache and limited color palettes. Gouache continues to intrigue me as a media, and I love how a minimalist approach to color results in harmonious combinations. A surprising number of people have asked me about using gouache as a plein air media, so just to prove to the more incredulous I made this 6 x 9 inch sketch. The colors on my palette are Perylene Violet, Ultramarine, Yellow Ochre, and white – the jury is still out for me on this particular triad, by the way.
I tried as best I could to make a photo from the same point-of-view as my painting position, but the wide angle lens of the iPhone tends to exaggerate reality somewhat. I wanted something to look at to later compare the location color to what results from the use of the limited palette. Sketchers can’t get hung up, however, on making a “photographic” color match. In fact, I think a successful sketch relies more on value contrasts, color massing, and a certain degree of loose invention.
One other thing that’s occupied my thoughts has been field kit. I make no secret that I try to keep my kit as minimal as possible. I’ve got a wonderful plein air pochade box that I once used when I still painted in oils, but it – pretty much like every other similar set up – just feels cumbersome to me. I want something that I can either carry under my arm or, even better, in my hip pocket. It’s why I prefer a sketchbook and a few pocket tools.
But I want to be able to supplement that effort with kit that allow me to work a little larger from time to time, or to use for demonstration purposes. This is why I decided to just build my own, relying on a sturdy light weight tripod that I already own and a lightweight platform constructed from high grade wood. A tripod socket was installed on the underside of the platform.
The platform – I don’t have a name for this thing! – works really well and is very sturdy. It’s light enough that I can carry it along as a drawing board. I plan to add a thin lip along the bottom edge so my brush doesn’t roll off!
These acts of experimentation is fun and I like that I was able to “field test” my invention while also continuing to experiment with gouache and color.