Heyyyyyyyy, I'm home. I saw a lot of interesting plants and animals and things, though I didn't do a whole lot of artsy stuff. When I am on the move, I usually take my Cotman paints, because it comes in a perfect little travel-sized palette. My Qor are a bit inconvenient in that way, as I'm just using the tin lid as a palette, and I don't really want to carry an uncovered lid anywhere.
Would you believe how tricky it is to find a little travel palette that snaps closed? I fell in love with some rather expensive brass ones. My next step would have been to order a metal palette and spray-paint it, but I don't have as much luck with ordering things from China, unfortunately.
I may still give that a shot, but as a personal back up, I ran into these little (Handmade Charlotte) watercolour sets on clearance at Michaels for $2. It was a great size, it snapped closed, and it had water wells in the lid. It was similar to what I'm used to with the Cotman set. I took the lid off, gessoed the outside of it, and then used the same blue spray paint that I had for my bicycle (which is still holding up, btw).
These cheap little watercolour sets are usually round cakes slipped into the plastic circles and held down with some glue. It wasn't super easy to get them out. I soaked them in a bowl of water for a bit and then pried them out with a tiny knife. Some popped out in a couple of pieces, most of them I ended up destroying though. It was a bit of a melty mess! But now I've got 12 spots for my Qor tube paints and I think I already have enough colours to fill every one. Uh oh! No more fun paint shopping for a while!
I mixed a bit of pink glitter embossing powder with some gloss gel medium, and pushed it through a stencil to add a ginkgo to the front. It will take some time to dry up. The only thing I would have done differently is use a spray on primer instead of the gesso, because I wanted a smoother surface.
My little palette is ready for paints! I'm going to hold off for a little bit because I'm nearly ready to use my gift card and do some self-indulgent art supply shopping. What if I find a perfect palette regardless? The plastic bottom on this one feels really delicate and easily breakable. But sometimes if you can't find the perfect thing, you gotta use what you have and make it yourself!
So I'm surprised about how much of a boost of confidence I got from the outdoor painting challenge last weekend. I sat, with a friend, in a random spot and was able to take a couple of details from my surroundings that struck me as interesting, and turn it into a satisfying piece of art. No photographs needed, I didn't take it home and work on it later, it was done in one sitting and it was a great day.
Maybe it's because I didn't have as good an experience at the beach last week, attempting the same except on my own. Is it the camaraderie that makes a difference? Or were we just lucky to find inspiration around us that day?
Regardless, it's weird to be that surprised because I finish most of my paintings in one go on the regular. I work quickly. Maybe I was just doubtful that morning. The point is, I'm feeling more confident to follow ALL of my ideas, which is great because I'm on a video-making binge right now. Despite the complete lack of planning on behalf of my employer, I'm leaving them very high and dry for a couple of weeks while I do family stuff. Hopefully fun stuff. I'm on a good track to have preloaded enough videos to youtube in advance that you'll hardly realize I'm gone. No laptops are coming with me! I'm going it alone.
Except for a Tuesday vlog (May 23rd) because I won't be able to compile one.
The image above is a peek at one such future video, in which I struggle terribly to paint opals. Dang. My methods and thoughts on them, to come!
In no particular order:
1. Today, I attended the Opus Painting Challenge (for the 2nd year) and it was a perfect weather kind of day. My friend Lindsay came with, and we spent the whole day painting in the sunshine!
2. When I opened the event booklet, I saw that they used a photo of my cousin and I laughing during last year's event! It's a great photo.
3. We made a beeline to the Opus (it's an art supply store) after registration because they had a sale on Qor watercolours for 20% off. Even more exciting, it was Buy Two, get a pack of three 5ml tubes for FREE! :O What's even MORE EXCITING, I got their very last box!! :O :O :O Watch the May 16th vlog to find out which colours I got ;)
4. I found the most beautiful moss I've ever seen. The little stems on this moss were COPPER. Shiny, metallic copper. How can such a thing exist? I am in love.
5. The moss and an old cottage inspired today's painting. I'm so happy and proud of it.
6. I saw a few new bugs and birds that I am unfamiliar with. Oh, and a heron!
7. At the end of the Opus Challenge, there is usually a random prize draw. All sorts of companies donate prizes to this thing, and I'm talking full size bundles of supplies. I'm talking entire sets of prismacolour markers. I'm talking light tables. I'm talking Pan Pastels. Sketchbook sets. Paintbrushes. Last year, my cousin and I, we neither placed in judging nor won a prize draw. But Lindsay won a set of Stabilo markers and a set of Stabilo pastel pencils! :O
8. And then I won a $100 gift card! :O WHAT SHOULD I GET OMG
9. I went home and had ice cream.
10. And the whole day started by waking up a bit too early, in the squishy middle part of the bed, in freshly washed sheets, and flanked on both sides by warm rumbly kitties.
A great day.
Yesterday was the first warm day of the year (it's so late!!) and boy was it ever. I had to dig around for a pair of presentable short pants and quickly discovered that my sandals are significantly less comfortable than I thought they were. Seriously, I have callouses now and plan to never wear them again.
I knew that when the weather warmed up, I wanted to do a sketchbook-to-painting series in which I wander around town and sketch things, the way a tourist would photograph everything. In fact, the photo I used to practice with these Posca pens, I took with a toy camera when I was taking a walk around the neighbourhood one day after pastry class.
(The camera is a plastic Vivitar imitation that lets in less light and exaggerates colours. The vignette is intense!)
I suppose there are plenty of things to notice around a town you spend your whole life in, and it kind of goes with the theme of how much of our childhood wonder is lost. How many things become mundane and unappreciated on our way to work every morning?
So yesterday, it was 20C (right after a rainy day of 12C) and it was uncomfortably warm and humid as hell. So I took a bus down to the beach to give my sketch wandering a little practice. Well, it wasn't great! I forgot to bring a paintbrush, and even then all I did was do a quick sketch of the pier. It was nice to sit in relative silence for a bit (very peaceful), but no real art was done. Was it the bright sun? Was it the slippery metal bench I was sitting on? Was it the constant flow of strangers passing behind me? Was it the open expanse of the ocean with not much in it?
I don't know. But there is a big difference between wandering alone with a camera, and sitting alone in one spot with a sketchbook. Going to the beach alone is not very much fun.
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?