To travel and paint ….. to paint and travel.  To pass along the various methods I’ve learned or discovered to express the life I awaken to each morning …. To make connections, on a daily basis, with new people from all walks of life  and to add, in a positive way, to the rhythm of the Universe …. Those have always been my goals.

On the Road to Asheville, NC

On the Road to Asheville, NC

As those goals become reality, other aspects of daily life require adjusting.  There are only twenty four hours in each day.  I had filled those hours completely before needing to upgrade my online presence, before needing to plan for days lost to airports and cars, travel logistics, packing everything into manageable suitcases.  It’s challenging and totally worth every frustration that crosses my path.

Developing new approaches to teaching the basics drives me along paths I might not have explored.  I discover techniques I had forgotten and I stumble across techniques I haven’t tried before.  My own work grows when I share my painting experiences with others.

Sketchbook travel drawing:  Drawn first with ink using a fountain pen, followed by watercolor using a waterbrush. Drawn from the passenger seat, en route to Asheville, NC where my friend, Pete, filmed the first of a series of online painting demos.

While walking around Chapman Lake, I found a discarded chewing tobacco tin.  The tin functions as mid-size, pocket palette, perfect for painting when traveling and for daily walks.

Chewing Tobacco tin

Now I have three different sizes of tins to choose from.

Small, smaller and smallest watercolor travel tins

I find the regular size Altoid tin to be too large for my pockets.  It is great for transporting a larger selection of half-pan watercolors to choose from when traveling.  Depending on the day, I select from the larger tin, exchanging colors depending on the time of day and the weather.

Plenty of choices

The smallest Altoid tin holds five half-pans of watercolor (or gouache).  The tobacco tin holds eight, the regular size Altoid tin holds fifteen!  If you pack all three in your suitcase you have a total of twenty-eight to switch back and forth, far more than I ever need.  The lids act as mixing trays or water reservoirs.  A thin sponge cut to size, placed on top of the paints before closing the lid and slipping back into your pocket keeps the paint from dripping out into your clothing.  Full-size watercolor pans fit, too.  You can mix and match any way you choose.  Perfect for spontaneous en plein air sketches.

Last night Blues Musicians gathered at Black & Blue in Easton, Pennsylvania.  The Todd Wolfe / Rob Fraser Blues Jam lives on!

Scott Bones Ward and Bill DeHart

The first night at a new venue is always a bit shaky.  Fortunately, there’s a wide ledge for the paintings to dry on (somewhat safely).  The tables are terribly small.  I might switch to working in a large sketchbook instead of dip pen and tube watercolors.

Less than twenty blocks away from Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant, it is a different crowd.  I like variety and new inspiration.  I also like the healthier food and better ales.  I don’t, however, like the higher prices.  There is a trade off in every choice.

It was a great night.  Four lovely ladies crammed around a tiny, round table, laughing and enjoying the music.  What could be better?

Sketch: drawn first with ink using dip pen, followed by washes of watercolor

Landscape on a beautiful October day using full saturation pigments.

Full color and Grayscale

This little sketch evolved as the light changed and I became more fascinated playing with little shapes.  It began as leaves on branches, a second attempt following the painting shown below.  The light had changed drastically.  My goal was to use more of the warm colors in the background than I had in Variation A and Variation B.  In the end, the leaves vanished completely.

For the light value shapes I used yellows and oranges.  For mid-value shapes I used greens and reds.  For dark value shapes I used blues, some viridian and a bit of alizarin crimson.

Autumn Leaves Varition A

Autumn Leaves Variation B

After looking at the grayscale version o Variation A I darkened the entire background.

Color Wheel No. 2 is the eighteen hue color wheel presented in Lesson Two on the Creative Color blog.

Oil Sketches – both paintings above are plein air paintings, oil on 5″ x 5″ gessoed, birch, wood panels.

As I mentioned yesterday, I darkened the value of the sky slightly so the tree shapes would stand out a bit more.

Morning Landscape, acrylic painting sketch

Ten minute acrylic sketch on 5″ x 5″ wood panel.

It is only a slight difference.  However, it is quite noticeable, especially when viewed from a distance.

I posted the original version of this painting in yesterday’s post.

Worrying about my father distracted me from having a focus last night.  In spite of that, it proved to be another amazing evening at the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.

Ray playing harmonica

Painting someone playing a harmonica is always a challenge for me.  Each week I end up with the inspiration being led by one particular musician.  Last night that musician was Ray.

Ray playing harmonica at the Blues Jam

If anyone knows his last name, please let me know.  I should have asked……

Pencil sketches with watercolor washes painted live during Todd Wolfe’s Blues Jam on January 4, 2011.

I often learn more from a small section of a painting than from the painting as a whole.

A small section of the watercolor sketch

I like the handling of the trees.  There is variety of marks and variety of color, both warm and cool greens.

The left side of the painting did not work quite as well.

Landscape watercolor sketch before cropping

Five tries before I loosened up enough to paint the tiny little tendrils.

Sweet Peas watercolor sketch no.5

Sweet Peas watercolor sketch no.4

Sweet Peas watercolor sketch no.3

Sweet Peas watercolor sketch no.2

Sweet Peas watercolor sketch no.1

Cedar Tree watercolor sketch

The variations of color in the cedar tree are subtle.  I used a back-lit subject to play with creating the illusion of form.  My goal was to allow the transparency of watercolor to describe form in a very dark value.

I have committed to the six months of an hour a day required to complete the drawing exercises in John Ruskin’s book “The Elements of Drawing” first published in 1857.

Here are a few samples of my first attempts to complete my assignments.  How much easier it would be to tell myself that I don’t really need to do this.  As strong as the temptation is to quit, the feeling of satisfaction upon completing a task is quite remarkable.

I will have to repeat the exercise shown above several more times until I can make a more delicate transition to light value.

After several days of inking, tiny stroke by tiny stroke I decided to try a pencil drawing with a squiggly line technique rather than the parallel strokes I usually use to render.

I had grown rather weary by the time I tackled the shed in the back.

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