I am so fortunate to have a studio with a window of a big Saskatchewan sky. This lighting is crucial for enriching the process of my watercolour paintings. The natural light not only makes me feel healthy and happy but inspired. It allows me to “read the paper” when it’s time to drop, splash or brush the paint on. There’s a tiny window just before the water is absorbed as it momentarily sits on the surface. A sheen that can only be really seen using natural light. For the upcoming show I have changed up my pallet using reds, blacks and blues against the ultimate contrast of crisp white. Just like a bright and sunny day of winter casting dark shadows on the snow. Mark your calendar for Monday November 26th at Grace Westminster United Church 11am – 9pm.
I am a fickle artist. If you asked me what my favourite item in my art toolkit was last week, it would have been raw canvas. This week I am on the alcohol ink band wagon. The colours are vibrant and luminous but I find myself quite often toning them down. It is interesting to just dab the ink on a ceramic tile or yupo paper and watch them move but to manipulate the ink is wonderful. I do this by cutting into the ink on the paper or tile with a brush dipped in alcohol. To protect my art, I spray it with a vanish. I find Kamar by Krylon to work best. Many vanishes will make the ink bleed and discolour. Come and see me dabbing on Monday, November 26, 2018.
What I listen to while I work is as important as any of my painting tools; it sets the tone for the work at hand. I remember how easily a set of landscape paintings came together while listening to Ian Tyson songs about the northern plains. Hearing author Stephen Jenkinson’s musings on heritage makes me think about a scene I’m painting and what it might have looked like generations ago. Creating art alongside an audiobook or podcast, learning while painting, killing two birds with one stone as they say, makes for productive days.
The Winsor Newton Watercolour Field Kit
I love to travel, and I love to sketch. So I always take my watercolour paints and a sketchbook with me when I am on the move.
Although I have several different travel palettes, one of my favorites is the Field Kit sold by Winsor Newton.
I love how compact it is; and for something so small, it sure packs in a lot of features. When unfolded, you end up with three mixing surfaces, and a water reservoir attached to one end of the kit. The finger loop on the back allows you to securely rest the entire paint box in the palm of your hand.
The Field Kit also contains a small flask for carrying water, and a small paint brush nestled in the box. I personally find that paint brush too small for my purposes, and I often carry extra water in another bottle. However, for small sketches and quick adventures, the flask and brush will get you going.
The kit comes pre-loaded with pans of Winsor Newton pigments. However, I usually pop those out, and refill the pans with colour from my own tube paints. That way, I can be assured that I am carrying the colours I most like to use. Once set, the tube colours travel well, and are readily reactivated with a spritz of water.
One of my favourite art making tools that I wouldn’t be able to make my art without is the copper, silver and gold foil that I use to gild my paintings. Since I started using foil it has taken over as one of my favourite mediums. I love the different effects that it creates and it inspires me to experiment. I use birds in most of my paintings and the foil seems to capture the lightness and fun that I see in birds.