Sunday, January 31, 2016

“Fall Around Every Corner” – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

                

“Fall Around Every Corner” – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

“Fall Around Every Corner” is an acrylic painting done from a photo I took along one of the roads in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I took this photo from Maloney Point, which is stop #1 on Little River Road. It is an overlook with a paved parking area and a mountain view.   I have been fortunate enough to paint plen air at this overlook on another occasion; however, this painting was done from my photo rather than on location this time. 

The painting above is an acrylic on canvas.   Let’s get started painting!

Materials needed:

Canvas – I used an 8” x 10” canvas 
Brushes
-        Flat Brush
-        Palette Knife
-        Round brush
 
Acrylic paints:  A basic set of acrylic paints which may include the following colors:
Hookers Green
Sap Green
Brunt Umber
Mars Black
Titanium White
Cadmium Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean Blue
Cobalt Blue
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna
Alizarin Crimson

Note:  The paint list is large; however, this painting can be achieved with a basic set of acrylic paints. 


This painting is predominately green; all shades of green from the background trees to the foreground grasses.   Before we start painting, I wanted to share some tips on painting with green. 

Green Paint Tips:

Vivid greens can be easy to mix, but often need to be toned down or they dominate the painting.  Greens can be adjusted as follows:

·        Add a little red (or pink) to the green mix.

·        Try to mix greens from a mixture of two colors rather than using a premixed green. 

·        When making your green, try not to use a bright yellow and a bright blue. 
 

Here are some paints to mix together to make some excellent greens:

·        Burnt umber & Cadmium yellow light

·        Prussian blue & Yellow ochre

·        Ivory black & Cadmium yellow light

·        Ultramarine blue & Yellow ochre

·        Ultramarine blue & Cadmium yellow light

·        Phthalo blue (Green) & Cadmium yellow light

·        Phthalo blue (Green) & Hansa yellow (sometimes called Lemon yellow)

Play around with these color combinations and different greens before you start your painting to find the colors that you would like to use.

There are some good premixed greens out there can be purchase and used “straight” from the tube.  I especially like Sap Green.  It can be lightened with yellow ochre and deepened with Ultramarine blue. 

Canvas preparation: 

A technique I have found to add warmth to paintings is to lay down a base coat of burnt umber.  I painted the canvas with this base coat and allowed to dry before starting my painting. Sparsely painted areas will allow this base coat to show through; this is extremely useful in the tree area and will add a nice glow to your painting. 

Painting Instructions:

Sketch the drawing on the canvas with minimal details.    My main concern was the perspective of the road as it curved across the canvas.  Once you have the location of the road, everything else will fall into place. 

Background: 

Sky:
Using a mix of Cerulean Blue and white, lay in the sky from the top down to and slightly below the  mountains all the way across the canvas even behind the trees on the right.  Focus your attention on the areas of the sky that will be seen at the top of the painting.    Laying down your sky behind the trees will allow bits of the sky to show threw the leaves of the trees and also give you a base for your greens.   Make your sky interesting by adding a darker Windsor Blue and Purple in the upper section of the sky.  Allow to dry.   

Mountains:
Using the edge of your flat brush or a pallet knife, lay in your mountains with Sap Green and Windsor Blue mixed to create a deep evergreen.  Use various intensities of this color to indicate shadow and light on the mountains. While still wet, work in some colored areas to indicate sections where the leaves have changed. 

Trees:
Paint the trees on the left side of the painting first as the trees on the right side will overlap these in the foreground of the painting. 

Mix a variety of shades of green before you start painting as you will use various shades as you paint the trees putting in light and shadow as well as species’ color differences.    Paint the trees by scrubbing in the paint in circle shapes as well as dabbing in various locations.  Work these until you are pleased with the color and shape.  Deepen the green with Ultramarine blue as well as a touch of black to the deepest area of green in the background. 

Roadside grasses:
Blend in various shades of brown in the sections closest to the road.  Dap this paint on with a bristle brush, allowing your brush strokes to show.  Highlight areas to indicate light and deepen areas for shadows.  Allow to dry.

Road:
Mix gray from black, white and a little Windsor Blue.  Using various intensities of this color, paint the road.  Add more white to highlight areas of the road that are out of the shadows.  Deepen the color in the shadows of the trees and along the side of the road.  Allow to dry.  When dry, add a yellow center line of yellow ochre. 

Finishing Details:
Using the example above, add highlights and a tree branch or two.  Add a little “smoke” on the tops of the two highest mountains as well as dabbing in some while paint for clouds in the sky. 

Congratulations!  Sign your name; your painting is complete. 

Happy Painting!
Karen

 

 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"Summer at the Bud Ogle Cabin" – Roaring Fork Motor Loop, Great SmokyMountains






"Summer at the Bud Ogle Cabin" – Roaring Fork Motor Loop, Great Smoky Mountains


 I usually do watercolor paintings; however, the painting above is an acrylic.  I enjoy using different medium at times to expand my painting skills.  Plus, often paintings just seem to lend themselves to one medium over the other.

I would have loved to have been able to paint this one plein air, but my schedule does not always allow time for plein air painting.  My husband constantly tells me I plan more things for a 24 hours period than 24 hours allow…even if I did not sleep!  So, I reluctantly took a photo on my cell phone and saved this painting literally for a “rainy” day! 

The painting above is an acrylic on canvas.   Let’s get started painting!

 Materials needed:
Canvas – I used a 16 x 20 stretched canvas. 
Brushes
  • Flat Brush
  • Palette Knife
  • Round brush
Acrylic paints:  A basic set of acrylic paints which may include the following colors:
  • Hookers Green
  • Sap Green
  • Brunt Umber
  • Mars Black
  • Titanium White
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Sienna
  • Alizarin Crimson
Note:  The paint list is large; however, this painting can be achieved with a basic set of acrylic paints. 

 This painting is predominately green; all shades of green from the background trees to the foreground grasses.   Before we start painting, I wanted to share some tips on painting with green. 

Green Paint Tips:
Vivid greens can be easy to mix, but often need to be toned down or they dominate the painting.  Greens can be adjusted as follows:

·        Add a little red (or pink) to the green mix.

·        Try to mix greens from a mixture of two colors rather than using a premixed green. 

·        When making your green, try not to use a bright yellow and a bright blue. 

Here are some paints to mix together to make some excellent greens:

·        Burnt umber & Cadmium yellow light

·        Prussian blue & Yellow ochre

·        Ivory black & Cadmium yellow light

·        Ultramarine blue & Yellow ochre

·        Ultramarine blue & Cadmium yellow light

·        Phthalo blue (Green) & Cadmium yellow light

·        Phthalo blue (Green) & Hansa yellow (sometimes called Lemon yellow)

Play around with these color combinations and different greens before you start your painting to find the colors that you would like to use.

There are some good premixed greens out there can be purchase and used “straight” from the tube.  I especially like Sap Green.  It can be lightened with yellow ochre and deepened with Ultramarine blue. 

 
Brown Paint Tips:
Since the cabin in painted in shades of brown and gray, I wanted to provide some tips on mixing brown paint as well.  The following are color combinations to create a variety of shades of brown:

·        Mix red and yellow to make orange.  Add small amounts of blue to the orange to create brown.

·        Mix yellow and blue to make green.  Add small amounts of red to the green to create brown.

·        Mix red and blue to make purple.  Add small amount of yellow to the purple to create brown.

Trying these different combinations will create various shades of brown. 

Painting Instructions:
Sketch the drawing on the canvas with minimal details.    Finding the placement for the cabin on the canvas and getting the perspective correct for the alignment of the roof, porch, etc.  is the main focus in your sketch.    

Background: 
Sky:
Using a mix of Cerulean Blue and white, lay in the sky from the top all the way down to the horizon even though the majority of the sky will be hidden by the trees.    Focus your attention on the areas of the sky that will be seen at the top of the painting.    Laying down your sky behind the trees will allow bits of the sky to show threw the leaves of the trees and also give you a base for your greens.   Allow this to dry before starting to paint the trees.

Trees:
Mix a variety of shades of green before you start painting as you will use various shades as you paint the trees putting in light and shadow as well as species’ color differences.    Paint the trees by scrubbing in the paint in circle shapes as well as dabbing in various locations.  Work these until you are pleased with the color and shape.  Deepen the green with Ultramarine blue as well as a touch of black to the deepest area of green in the background.  Allow to dry.  Branches and tree trunks will be added later.

Cabin:
I painted the cabin in this order:  roof, sides/front, chimney, porch posts, window/door.  However, the order is not important; work in the order that best suits your painting style. 

The entire cabin and roof are painted with the same colors of paint, only the intensity varied.  I started with a light muddy shade of a gray/brown in which gray (white and black) was added to brown.  Using my painting as a guide, paint the cabin with various shades of brown/gray using a flat brush and painting the direction of the logs.   Allow this to dry and using  a flat brush, stroke across the logs to give the logs a wood grain.  Deepen the color between the logs for shadows as well as the area under the porch.  A very light tan, almost white, was used to highlight the logs as well as the roof in various places. 

Paint the door and window with a very dark brown with a little black added.  Allow to dry and paint the wood slats around the window in a light tan.  Use this same color on the porch posts. 

Shaky hand?  Straight lines on the window and porch a problem?  First, remember that the lines don’t need to be perfect; however, if you need a little help, try one of these tips:

·        Place a study piece of paper at a 45 degree angle along the edge of where you would like your line, use a small amount of paint and pull your brush across the area.  A ruler can also be used for the straight edge.  Remember to clean the ruler or use a different piece of paper for each new line. 

·        Often a shaky hand is due to the fact that the hand is not supported when painting since you can’t place your hand on the wet paint to stabilize it and you lack control.   If you can support your arm or hand on the outside of your painting, you will gain control and it will easier to paint a straight line.  Artist use what is called a “bridge” or any sort of straight piece of wood, metal or plastic that is raised up so that it does not rest on the painting, but is wide enough on which to rest your hand.  

Chimney:
The rocks in the fireplace are painted using some of the same color paints.  Vary the paint in the shape of the rock painting each one separately.

Foreground grasses:
This photo was taken during the summer when the grasses were tall and had not been cut recently.  They were a variety of shades from a deep green to a light yellow/gold.  I started at the horizon and worked forward.  Check the photo to see where and what color to paint the grass.  I laid down a base coat of paint, then came back in with the edge of a flat brush to pull up tall pieces of grass.  These grass shoots were pulled up on to the sides and front of the cabin in various locations. 

Finishing Details:
I placed a tree branch cross the right side of the cabin to “ground” the cabin to the landscape.  Look over the rest of your painting and add highlight or touches of color here and there as needed.

Congratulations!  Sign your name; your painting is complete. 

Happy Painting!
Karen

 

 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Follow the Sun"


        
      

“Follow the Sun” 


“Follow the Sun” is an acrylic painting done from a photo taken at sunset by the shore of a mountain lake in East Tennessee in late fall.  The painting above is an acrylic on canvas – a very unique canvas. 

 This canvas is actually made of burlap which has been stretched on a wooden frame and primed with gesso.  I loved the look of the burlap and the uneven gesso painting surface.   A friend surprised me with a couple of these canvases for Christmas and I knew I had to find just the right subject for this canvas.  I needed a subject that would work well with the edges fading out, something from nature to compliment the burlap.   This sunset I thought would be the perfect fit.  The canvas worked out great and I love the result.

 Materials needed:
Canvas – I used an 8” x 10” burlap/gesso panel; however, any canvas will work.    
Brushes:  (size of your choice)
-        Flat Brush
-        Palette Knife
-        Round brush

Acrylic paints:  A basic set of acrylic paints which may include the following colors:
-        Hookers Green
-        Sap Green
-        Brunt Umber
-        Mars Black
-        Titanium White
-        Cadmium Yellow
-        Yellow Ochre
-        Ultramarine Blue
-        Cerulean Blue
-        Cobalt Blue
-        Burnt Sienna
-        Raw Sienna
-        Alizarin Crimson

Note:  The paint list is large; however, this painting can be achieved with a basic set of acrylic paints. 
     
          
     
Let’s get started painting!

Painting Instructions:
Sketch the drawing on the canvas with minimal details.    I sketched the following on the canvas:
·        Horizon
·        Basic mountain shape
·        Placement of the tree; i.e. location of the base of the tree on the left side of the canvas.  It is not necessary to draw the shape of the tree as this will be painted in after the sky and water have been put in place. 
Sky:
Starting at the top and working down to the horizon, paint in the sky using a mix of Ultramarine Blue and white, adding more white as you paint down to the horizon.  Touches of purple were added at the top right and where the pink and blue of the sky mingle.

 Paint the sun using white and work up to meet the remainder of the sky, adding light blue, yellow, orange, and pink.  Although the colors circle the sun, do not leave circular brush strokes around the sun, blend the colors horizontally into the sky. 

Mountains:
Using the edge of your flat brush or a pallet knife, lay in your mountains with Sap Green and Windsor Blue mixed to create a deep evergreen.  Add Burnt Sienna and paint toward the center of your painting, working from both sides to the center.  Be certain to add an area of white to indicate the reflected path of the sun down the mountains and then across the lake.  Mix areas of yellow across the horizon and into the mountains in various locations in the center working out to the darker areas on the sides and away from the reflected light. 

Lake:
Adding Windsor Blue to the colors above, paint down and across the lake adding a touch of red to deepen the orange and maintaining the white reflections of the sun across the canvas working in a “V” with the orange and adding blues mixed with green and black on the sides.  Paint a small white reflection of the sun at the lower edge of the lake, slightly off center to the left. 

 Tree:
The tree is painted a deep brown.  Brown paint can be mixed using the following color combinations:
·        orange and blue
·        red and green
·        purple and yellow
·        mix of all primary colors
I used a mix of the paint on my palette to prepare a brown that suited my needs.  I added black to deepen the brown.

Using my deepest shade of brown, I painted my tree from the bottom trunk and working up using slightly lighter shades of brown as it branched out across the lake.  For the smallest branches, I used a palette knife. 

 Add a few fall leaves paint from Burnt Sienna already on your palette.    Only paint a few in random locations on the tree. 

Foreground (grasses and cattails):
As the water was painted, blue was mixed into the orange on the left and right sides of the painting.  I brushed in a touch of the orange on the left side. Using the dark brown and black used on the tree to paint in the cattails across the left and right side of the painting.  I used a palette knife to pull up the tall stalks and added the cattail tops with a flat brush. 

 Details to note:
I did not paint all the way to the edge of the white gesso on the burlap panel.  I preferred to have a rustic faded out look to the edges of the painting. 

Congratulations!  Sign your name; your painting is complete. 

Happy Painting!
Karen

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I love a Snowman!

             
   

Something about a snowman just says "Merry Christmas" to me!  How about you?

So, let's get into the Christmas spirit and paint a snowman to decorate your porch, lean against your fireplace or add a little bit of Christmas cheer anywhere in your home.

Materials:
36 inch long by 6 inch wide - Piece of wood - I used a piece of old fencing that we had replaced over the summer.  Any scrap of wood will do - any size.  Of course, a piece of new wood will work as well.  A lot depends on the finished look you are seeking.  I like the old distressed look.

Acrylic paint:
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
  • Orange
Piece of 2 inch wide wire edged ribbon in a color of your choice for a scarf around his neck.

Instructions:
Since I had planned to make several and I wanted them to be similar, I prepared a template.  I used a piece of paper I had cut to the size I wanted to make the snowman and drew the shape on this paper.

I placed the template on the board and transferred the pattern to the board.  Since my board was dark, I rubbed the back side with white chalk and then traced the pattern with a pencil which transferred the design to the board in white.

I painted in the following order:  white head first, then the black hat, red hat band.    After the face dries, add the eyes, nose and mouth.  I mixed a little bit of red paint with white to make pink and used my finger to rub on his rosy cheeks. 

When the hat is completely dry, brush on a little bit of white accent on the hat and draw on a few random snowflakes.  I also used the end of a round paint brush to add some white drops for tiny snowflakes.    Refer to my photo above for placement.  I mixed a little bit of black paint in the orange and added a few details on his nose.  This is not necessary, but can be done to shape the nose a little bit.

When all the paint is completely dry, tie the ribbon scarf around his neck! 

Merry Christmas and Happy Painting!
Karen


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!



May everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!

We all have so much for which to be thankful.

Happy Painting!
Karen

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Oh Buoy!

                    
      
 
The watercolor above is of a group of old fishing floats or buoys that we saw hanging on the side of an old fishing shack in the Outer Banks outside of a wonderful seafood restaurant on the pier.    They are just so typical of the beach and the fishing community of the area; I knew I wanted to capture them to remember this trip to the beach. Buoys are used to mark a location or suspend a net or bait and are usually painted bright colors to be easily seen.    The side of the fishing shack was a deep blue which made these buoys stand out.

Materials needed:
  • 140 lb. watercolor paper or watercolor journal
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
Paint:
  • Windsor Blue
  • Paynes Gray
  • Yellow Medium
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Yellow ochre
  • Grumbacher Red or red of your choice

Instructions:
Lightly sketch in your buoys.  These buoys were clustered together and to add interest I captured only  half of a buoy on the left side of the paper and let a tip of one of the buoys on the right be off of the page.

Paint the background first using Windsor Blue and deepen it in areas behind the floats for shadows.  Drop in some Paynes Gray in places to indicate changes in shades of the paint.  Paint around the buoys and the ropes. 

Paint one buoy at a time and moving from one to the next one.  However, do not paint ones that are touching until they dry or the colors will blue into one another.  Using the various colors mentioned above or colors of your choice and this technique, paint all of the buoys in slightly different colors:

To paint the buoy:
Using a lighter shade of the main buoy color, paint the entire buoy except for any different color bands.  Deepen the color on one side letting the paint flow across to indicate light and shadow.  Drop in Paynes Gray to “age” your buoy.  Paint the contrasting band the same way.  Add lines and drops of darker paint to show signs of use.    Paint all buoys in the same method using different colors.

To paint the ropes:
Using a very light wash of yellow ochre paint the ropes;  and while still wet drop in a light wash of Paynes Gray.  After the ropes dry, use a liner brush and a deep wash of Paynes Gray to detail the rope. 

Congratulations – sign your painting!

Happy Painting!
Karen

 

 

Lighthouses

                               
    
 
Lighthouses are one of my favorite subjects when painting along the coast.  I love the waves and beaches, but lighthouses lend that touch of humanity to an often desolate and seemingly uninhabited beach.   Designed to guide sailors or warn them of dangers, they stand as sentinels to inland waterways marking coastline hazards, shoals, reefs and safe entries to harbors.  Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and the popularity of electronic navigational systems.  

One a recent trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I painted several lighthouses that dotted the coastline in the areas in which we traveled.  One of my favorites, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, is shown above.  And, I will share paintings of other lighthouses in this area within this post.

Let’s get started painting!
 
Materials Needed:
  • 140 lb. watercolor paper or watercolor journal  (I used a journal for these paintings, as I painted while on vacation.)
  • Brushes:  Size of your choice - Round brush; ½” flat brush; Liner or detail brush
Paint:
  • Cerulean blue
  • Windsor Blue
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Payne’s Gray
  • Sap Green
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • VanDyke Brown
Pencil

Kneaded Eraser

Small ruler (I usually do not recommend using a rule; however, in this instance the sides of the lighthouse and the structure of the building and the roof need to have straight lines.)

                                

Instructions:
Sketch your lighthouse in lightly using your ruler to make the lines of the sides of the lighthouse straight.  Draw in the remainder of the lighthouse structure using a ruler as necessary.  After the lighthouse has been sketched in, put in your background and foreground. 

Paint in your sky first.  Since watercolor will only flow where the paper is wet, it is not necessary to mask out the lighthouse.  Paint in the sky using a wet on wet technique down to the horizon where the sky meets the water.  I used Windsor Blue and varied the intensity of the color for clouds in the sky.  Using a paper towel, gently lift some of the blue paint to further indicate clouds.  At the horizon line, I dropped in a small amount of red mixed with the blue to add a purple color to the sky at the horizon.  Allow to dry.  Paint in the ocean using a deeper shade of Window Blue with a small amount of sap green leaving small areas of white to indicate waves.  Adding a touch of sap green to the blue helps separate the sky from the water, yet tie together the ocean, sky and background trees.  Allow the ocean to dry.   

Add the background trees using a mix of sap green, lightened in places with yellow ochre and deepened in places with Windsor Blue.  Allow to dry and add a branches and tree trunks with VanDyke  Brown and a liner brush. 

I painted the lighthouse next and the foreground last.  Using Payne’s Gray, paint the dark areas of the lighthouse, working around the windows.  I used a round brush; however, a liner brush might be preferred at the top portion of the lighthouse.  Allow to dry.  Paint the roof of the building section of the lighthouse and the chimneys with crimson mixed with the brown to soften the red and add an older look to the structure.  Deepen sections  of the roof by dropping in some brown.  Allow to dry.  Add shading to the structure by dropping in a very pale wash of Payne’s Gray on the left side of the lighthouse for shadows and under the eaves of the roof.  Allow to dry.

 Paint the foreground using Sap Green and yellow ochre need the tree line and working down into the sap green.  Drop in a little bit of brown at the base of the structure.  Using a wash of crimson and brown, paint the wooden walkway.  Allow to dry.  Using a liner brush, put in the details of the lighthouse tower and building as well as the walkway.  Drop in a touch of yellow ochre in the top of the lighthouse.  Allow to dry. 

Check your painting for any details you may want to add.  When satisfied, sign your painting!

Congratulations and Happy Painting!
Karen



                                   
      
 

 

Wandering Watercolor or How to Keep a Watercolor Journal

                   
  
 
Just like a camera is an excellent way to remember a location when traveling, a watercolor journal can do the same thing for the artist.

If you would like to remember your travels through your “artistic” side, but have not tried a watercolor journal, you are missing out on a lot of fun on your trip.  You probably have questions….such as the ones below:

·        What supplies do I need?
·        How heavy and how big?
·        How messy?
·        How do I get started?

I’ll respond to each of these questions and try to give you some answers.

What supplies do I need?
First off – you won’t need as much as you think you will and all of the supplies can be slipped inside of a tote bag or large purse.   The following is what I have in my travel watercolor kit.

·        Watercolor Paper - Journal:  There are many watercolor journals out there with different types of paper and bindings.  The most forgiving paper is a 140 lb. weight, which will allow you to work the paints.     The bindings can vary from the basic stitched or glued design of a book to a spiral bound notebook.   I have tried both kinds with success.  On my most recent trip, I found a beautiful leather bound book with handmade paper for 40% off at a local hobby store.  I usually try for smaller rather than larger for the journal.  My journal is 6.5” x 9.5.”  I have used 7” x 10” and 9” x 12” in the past.  The paper preference, as well as size, is up to you.  A word of caution:  Handmade paper is not forgiving of mistakes and does not allow for working the watercolor paint or lifting.  Handmade papers absorb the color much faster than a standard watercolor paper.    If you are not familiar with handmade papers, I would suggest a standard 140 lb. watercolor paper for best results.

·        Watercolor paint: 
o   Pan watercolor set:  I have a Winsor & Newton pan watercolor set with 24 colors and a built in palette.  It is not too large and works out great.  Each pan can be replaced when empty to keep this set in great shape for a long time.

OR

o   Watercolor pencils:  I prefer the flow of watercolor paint over watercolor pencils.  However, pencils will work,  if that is your preference.

·        Brushes:  I always carry a #6 round brush and a small liner brush.  I do not like using the “waterbrush”  that contains water in the handle.    I prefer a small plastic contain for my water and my “standard” brush.  However, I know of several people that love the portability of the “waterbrush.”  I usually carry a plastic bottle of drinking water for my watercolors and use the lid for my water container.  The paintings will be small and I find that to be sufficient.    A word of caution:  Let your brush dry before placing it back in your tote bag or watercolor set.  If it gets tossed around in travel, the bristles can dry in an awkward shape and it may or may not be able to be restored to its original shape. 
 
·        Pencil, eraser and waterproof pen:   A mechanical pencil with extra lead is the easiest type of pencil to pack.  A standard pencil will also work as long as you remember to pack a sharpener.  I like a kneaded eraser to erase any lines that I don’t want to remain in my painting.  A “Sharpie” fine point black permanent pen is good to have on hand if you are looking for bold permanent lines in your sketch.

·        Masking tape:  Not all watercolor artists use masking tape in journals.  I like the “framed” look that it gives to my paintings, and it also “saves” me a clean space under the painting to write comments and the location the painting has captured.  I place the masking tape along the outside edges of the paper; giving me the open inside area for my work. 

How heavy, and how big?
How heavy?  Just a couple of pounds – much less than most women’s purses.

How big?  Of course, depending on the size of the journal you have selected, about the size of a hardback book.  A small tote bag to hold all of your supplies and a small school pencil case for the loose items will keep your watercolor travel kit portable and ready for any trip. 

How messy?
Not messy at all!  I am a very messy painter and can almost go through a roll of paper towels every time I paint.  For some reason, I find that there is barely any mess at all with this type of painting.    I do keep a pocket pack of Kleenex handy…..just in case. 

How do I get started?
Grab your watercolor travel kit and go! 

If you have never painted outside your studio, it may take some getting used to the idea.   When we travel, it is usually to relax and most artists find painting relaxing.    So, take the time to sketch your impressions of an area.   If you see a location that you feel would make a great larger painting, do your sketch with a quick watercolor putting down the colors and your feelings.  Then take a photo of the same site and use your watercolor journal and the photo to complete a larger watercolor back in your studio.

So, start wandering and Happy Painting!
Karen