A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lessons learned from St Augustine 12 '13

While my  travel kit worked well for a road trip, it did have some weaknesses that I will need to correct before I  pack to travel again..Here's what worked and what did not:

1.)  The value range for the mid range of my pastel set worked out well, but I really need to pack  a greater range of darkest dark  and very light  pastel colors.  Many of my dark pastels  are very large rolls which take too much space to travel with and don't break apart into smaller chunks easily.  I thought I could compensate by using dark watercolor under-paintings.  I was wrong. Nor could I use just a fine water color wash for the lightest lights.  I really needed some very a light pastels for the highlights.  Before I travel again  I really need to add  five or six small  very dark  sticks in each of the primary and secondary colors.

I really could have used a deep blue green, a  purples and  a deep reds

2)  My choice of  color selection based upon the web cams was fine for most of the local scenes I painted on the trip, but I really needed to have some medium perm green pastels on hand.  This is especially important for my travel set because I tend to stay at resorts on golf course.  No matter what time of year it is, or what color the native foliage is, golf course greens are always the medium to  lite perm green of early summer.   Three out of the eight paintings I did on this past trip were of scenes on golf courses which required these hues.  Since I did not have with me,. I wound up touching up all three paintings when I got home to make them feel like a real golf course.
 I was also woefully under-supplied on the red/brown earth tones range .

3)  I had gessoed 300 lb  5" x  7" ;" watercolor paper for my support.  While it is strong and durable, and the size worked well for the pure landscapes, I felt the deep dimples of the paper detracted from the paintings with architectural subjects.  In the future I will want to have some smoother textured  paper available as well
Dimples are clearly visible on the plain paper

became equally obvious on this architectural study.
My  Raphael watercolor set is only 4" in diameter

4)  My miniature Raphael watercolor set was the perfect size for this trip. I found that putting down pastel over a watercolor under-painting is much faster  than attempting to work directly on a pure white support.  While my husband loves my painting of the St Augustine Basilica, I found it took me twice as long to paint as the ones which had a water color  under wash.  This is especially important to remember when time is of the essence.

5)  I need to add an alligator clip to hold the pastel paper to the foam core.  The blue tape kept coming loose from the foam core and I would wind up holding the paper with one hand while trying to paint with the other.

6)  I want a more organized travel pack and  lightweight compact easel if I am to do much plein air work.  The set-up I thew together for this trip worked well for a car trip and for painting at the kitchen table, but was awkward to work with on site.  There were just too many separate containers to try to balance on my lap.  I would really like to get a small easel  with a  built in padded pastel case for the road.

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