I spent some thinking about what might be in my toolkit that I rely on the most. Brushes, paints, panels? Then it occurred to me that what I use the most, and is the basis for creating any work are my eyes. When I began to learn about painting and drawing, I realized I needed to look at the world differently, not just gazing around, but looking carefully, studying light and shape and colour and how it all came together in something that would be interesting to paint.
Now, it has become second nature to be looking for that special combination of light, shape and colour that I want to paint and share with others. And it can be anything, from the jars of marmalade I had just made, sitting on the counter when the January sun came through the window to light them up, to the beautiful giant lotus blossom I came across at Boffin’s gardens on a walk there. I just never know what I’ll see next.
My favourite things in my artist toolkit are my irons. Watercolour batik is all about the wax, and to be useful the wax needs to be melted. First I have a small encaustic iron that folds down to make a small skillet for melting the wax. I then use sponges, brushes or stamps to put the melted was onto my paper. This keeps the colour and allows me to build up layers of wax and watercolour until I finish the piece. Then, I need to get the wax off. To do this I put the piece between layers of newsprint and iron so that the wax comes off onto the newsprint. This is the most exciting part of my process!
I will have an iron at our Open Studio Show & Sale on Monday, November 26th at Grace Westminster Church 505 – 10th Street East. Come see it in action between 11 am and 9 pm!
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.
On Monday November 27, the Artists’ Workshop is going to be holding a one day only Open Studio Show and Sale at our studio space at the Grace Westminster Auditorium. The studio will be open from 11 am to 9 pm. We will also have many of the artists working, so you can see our newest works in progress. Please come by, chat with us, and ask questions.
Spotlight on ~ Lorraine Khachatourians
This year I am looking more and more at colour, that is, how to represent the colours I see in the various objects I enjoy painting, in way that comes closest to how I see them. Over the past few months I have been paying more attention to the characteristics of colour and how to recreate them from the pigments in the paint. It is like solving a puzzle or a mystery, both of which I have always enjoyed. Below are photos of both works in progress of my favourite subjects, fruits and metal reflections, which you will be able to see completed at our open studio, and some finished pieces.
‘Works in progess’
I have never been a painter of local landscapes. While houses and buildings, trees and skies are recurring subjects, they are figments of my imagination, realistic-enough looking, but wonky and whimsical. I hope that my artwork uplifts the spirits, is a source of comfort and tranquility, and reinvigorates a sense of the sacred.
‘Playful Planet’, 10.5 inches square, pen-and-ink, pencil, acrylic
For many years I focused on mandalas, a wonderful vehicle for colour and detail. Several years ago I returned to an earlier love: pen-and-ink, this time in the meditative Zentangle® style using structured patterns. Currently, my work is moving towards more mixed media.
People sometimes comment on one of the witty titles. I think titles are important and I hope never to call a piece “Blue Square #14”. Usually a title pops to mind quite early in the process, which is fine if that’s a direction I want to go!
‘Oakenfall’ 8 x 5 inches, pen-and-ink and pencil on eco-dyed paper
Colours, patterns, visual textures and designs thrill me. I love how a line can change from chubby to hairline and back again. Prairie sunsets, fireworks, and night skies full of stars leave me speechless. I am enchanted by small things and details, and fascinated by how the very large and the very small are so very similar. I love translucence and coloured glass and light in water and sparkly things. Perhaps I would have been a good magpie.