Sunday, May 17, 2015

Winsor & Newton Bristol Watercolour Easel

I've been wanting a lightweight painting easel for a while now. Most of what I've seen are the heavy wooden ones. I wanted a small tripod style easel that I can fit into my backpack, easy to set up and take apart. I looked up on the Internet and found a lot of do-it-yourself ones. Love the Internet. Then Opus had the Winsor & Newton Bristol watercolour easel on sale. $60 instead of $100. I can't make one for that price. I read up on the reviews for this easel and for the most part, it's been favourable. People don't seem to like that one of the bars holding the paper needed to be screwed on and it was awkward.  People were saying the screw can easily pop out of your hand and easily lost out in the field.

My solution was to fill the top of the screw with super strong crazy glue and a small jump ring. I used a hook from an old lanyard with a swivel clip and tied it to the hole at top of the bar.

I would recommend sanding the top of the screw lightly with steel wool first and let the glue dry for a couple of days just to be sure. I didn't do that the first time and the ring fell off.  After sanding and letting it sit two days to completely dry, it's working great.
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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Days 2-5 of the 100 Day Project

Here are the Days 2-5 of the 100 Day Project.  Overall, I'm happy with the outcome. 

Details of my 100 Day Project here.

Day 2/100 - Spooky frog skeleton

The skeleton was drawn on watercolour paper with ink and my little applewood stick.  This was for Reddit's Sketch Daily Spooky Skeleton.  2.5"x3.5" ATC.

Day 3/100 - watercolour landscape

ATC 3.5"x2.5" - watercolour landscape.  This was one of the ones I wasn't sure about until I finished it.  It was a quick colour study of a photo I took in the summer.

Day 4/100 - window

ATC 2.5"x3.5" - Watercolour window of an old building at the defunct Riverside Hospital.  It's the kind of place they use for horror film shoots.  I wasn't sure if this was working in such a small format.  I would like to paint this on a larger sheet next.

Day 5/100 - colour pencil landscape
ATC 3.5"x2.5" - Colour pencil landscape of the same photo as Day 3.  I bought the set of colour pencil and used them only once.  Still need to work on blending the colours better.  I almost didn't post this one but decided good or bad, here it is. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

The 100 Day Project

Day 1 of 100 - Silver Spoon

Day 1 of 100 - Silver Spoon - watercolour on 3.5"x2.5" watercolour paper for the 100 Day Project.

The 100 Day Project is a commitment to do something for 100 days, starting on Monday, April 6/15 and finishing on Tuesday, July 14/15.  The basic premise is to encourage people to do 100 days of making or doing something for the duration and posting it on Instagram or other social media sites.  I'll be posting the finished cards on Instagram and Tumblr.

For me, I picked 100 Artist Trading Cards.  I've always wanted to do them but never got around to it.  I even bought pre-cut cards.  So, I will make 100 Artist Trading Cards - 1 each day for the next 100 days and will give them all away.  I like that it's not about the finished product but rather the process itself. 

Considering my current creative leanings, most of these cards will be watercolour of some sort but no promises.  I'm not vain enough to think that people will fight over them or even want them...there's 100 and I really doubt I'll get a 100 takers.  I'm not even sure if I'll get 5 takers.  What you do with the card is up to you.  Use them as a book marker or a coaster if you want.  I always love the idea of Free Art Fridays so if you don't like your card, leave it in the juice aisle of your local supermarket.  I would think that's pretty cool.  

If you would like a card, email me your address.  I can promise you I won't use your address for anything other than mail you a card.  I'm not a psychotic axe'll have to take my word for it.  I won't show up at your house expecting dinner or anything like that. 

Oh, I should also add that this isn't an exchange so you're not expected to send me anything in return.  The cards will be given out randomly.  If you have a preference what card you would like, let me know but no promises. It's going to be nothing fancy - put the card in an envelope and slap a stamp on it.  If you really want to do something, you can pay it forward by doing a random act of kindness in your home town.  There's no obligation on either end...I put a card in the mail and hopefully it won't get lost in the mail and you get a card.  That's it.

Right now, I'm thinking of mailing out the cards after July 14th so there's lots of time if you want to think about it. 

Oh, it helps if I give my email address:

Thursday, April 02, 2015

2015 April Desktop Calendar

April 2015 Desktop calendar

April 2015 desktop calendar - watercolour tulips, scanned into iPad to add calendar. To use as desktop, right click and save as desktop. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Colour blobs and squiggly lines.

When I started watercolour paintings, the brushes I bought are a mix of synthetic and hair, decent brushes without spending great wads of money for sable. I've also tried sable brushes and they are really worth the money but so expensive. I didn't buy them right off the bat because, knowing me, I didn't know if I was going to stick with painting. Then Opus put their Winsor & Newton sable brushes on sale - 25% off. 

I told myself that when I retire, I'm going to treat myself to a set of sable brushes. I couldn't wait that long...they were on SALE!  The practice for the last few days have been just mark making with new paint brushes. The other brushes were good but these ones are glorious! 

Be it knitting or painting, use the best tools and materials you can. It really does make a difference. So true. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Week 3 of Daily Practices

Week 3 of daily practices. 
Just the highlights of the practices. I'm not sure if I'm getting better but I'm certainly learning lots.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Checking in with the Opus Daily Practice Challenge.

I found it really helpful that I have an area in my workroom all set up.  There's a lot of waiting for things to dry with watercolour painting.  I just leave everything set up. 

I look at the stuff other people are posting on Instagram and Tumblr and I'm blown away that these are their "practice" work.  Yikes!  I try not to be intimidated by that and just keep going.  Some days I sit in front of the TV and just do a page of line drawings (badly) of whoever's on TV.  Some days I paint. 

Sometimes I'm happy with the results, sometimes not so much but it's all practice.  I've been posting each day on Tumblr if you're interested in seeing the full size photos. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Day 1 of the 28 Daily Practice

Back of Hon's Restaurant.
I had a lot of ideas what I could do for the 28 Daily Practice Challenge but in the end I decided to do an urban sketch each day.  This is something that I always wanted to do but not comfortable sketching in public.  I may hate it at the end of the month or I could love it and get over my shyness.  I'm hoping it's like knitting in public, you get over the reluctance and stop worrying that what you're doing is not good enough and if someone looks over your shoulder, they'll laugh at you for attempting to draw.

The quick pencil sketch was done while waiting for the bus, across the street.  Ink and watercolour was added later.  I wasn't that comfortable painting at the bus stop.  Baby steps. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015 February Desktop calendars

2015 February desktop - Flowers
The Flowers desktop is a watercolour painting, calendar format was done on the iPad using Procreate.

Sad Panda - 2015 February desktop
Sad Panda is for those soggy wet February days.  Inspired by me standing at the bus stop one day after work and the bus was delayed for over an hour.   The reason given by the bus supervisor was that they lost the bus.  Seriously.

Knitting is like second nature to me.  I can almost knit in my sleep because I've been knitting for a very long time.  I've had a LOT of practice knitting.  You need to do something a lot in order to not suck at it.  I know that about my painting and drawing.  Opus has issued a challenge...28 Days of Practice challenge and I'm going to do it!

I'm so excited about this I started yesterday.  I mean, if I'm serious about this, why wait?  :)

Sunflower - watercolour and ink 5"x7"

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A stapler

Jan 9 - stapler 
In everything I know about any craft form, It's always practice makes perfect.  The hardest thing for me is to put my pen on the paper and start.

I've been following the blog of France Belleville-Van Stone - Wagonized and read her book, Sketch! a few times over now. One thing that stuck with me is that you don't need a lot of time, a few minutes here and there. Blocks of time so tiny that it's not worthwhile for me to pull my knitting out of my bag.

So, instead of eating at my desk and working through lunch, I still eat at my desk but use the time to draw what's in front of me. And according to France, if I draw the same thing over and over again, that's ok. If I don't finish the drawing in the time, that's ok too.  I've drawn a lot of staplers this week. They're still not great but at least the last drawing looks like a stapler.

Sunday, January 04, 2015 year, 52 weeks, 365 new possibilities.

365 new possibilities
I've never been a big fan of New Year's resolutions having broken many within the first week.  I do like looking back on the old year and reflect back and think about what I would like to do differently for the new year.  It feels like the past five years have been transition years for me. The latter part of 2014 has been more so with son finishing school and husband retiring. It feels like it's time to look at the next stage of my life.

Top 10 highlights and game changers for me:
  • Husband retired in September 2014.  His job was so hard on him physically.  He went back and forth on this but it was the best thing for him and us.  
  • Son finished university this December.  Convocation ceremonies will be in June 2015 but he's all done!
  • Son got a job right away in his chosen field with his first application!  The interview process was tough but he got the job just right before Christmas.  He starts in January.
  • Taking the Watercolour painting class. I was nervous about it but I'm glad I did it. It was a small class (3 of us) and we all became friends. Although the classes are over now, we will still get together to paint. 
  • A close coworker passed away end of January 2014.  She was 46.  She was was having stomach pains but she came in on the weekend to finish up something to meet a deadline.  She pretty much left the office, drove herself to the hospital and passed away a week later.  She had pre-existing medical issues that she neglected because she didn't have time.  That was a wake-up call for me.
  • Another coworker whom I've known for 27 years passed away two weeks before his 60th birthday.  He was going to retire and spend more time with his family.  
  • My boss telling me that although I'm a valued member of the team, the important ones are the ones who are flight risk.  On the bright side, at least he was honest about it. I don't feel bad about planning my early retirement. People leave because it's not worth it, not because the work is hard. 
  • I was told I'm pre-diabetic. It's not serious but it made me take a hard look at my habits and lifestyle.  
  • My crafts and hobbies are really important to me.  I stuck to my plan to create something everyday. 
  • I can draw!  After 50+ years of thinking I can't draw and one needs talent to do so, I learned that it comes with practice. I'm never going to be Michelangelo but I'm ok with that.  
Looking at a new year is like looking at a bag of raw fleece...think of the possibilities.