Monday, September 15, 2014

John Seerey-Lester

 Portrait sketch of Sir John Seerey-Lester, fellow instructor at the SKB Workshop in Dubois, Wyoming.



Video of the antique boiler


Here's a short behind the scenes look at the gouache painting of the antique steam boiler at Fairplay, Colorado. (Direct link to video)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rolling Studio



William Sidney Mount (1807-1868) devised an itinerant artists' wagon in 1852. He wrote: "A Design for an Artist waggon to sketch and paint in."

"During windy and rainy weather, no time is lost on account of the hot or cold air. This vehicle with glass windows can by drawn by hand, or behind a waggon if the painter should not wish to keep a horse. I believe the true painter should have no home," but should wander instead in search of subjects to paint.


Here's a more recent equivalent. It's a 1957 delivery van customized as a rolling studio. In bad weather you can paint through the picture window, or you can set up on the spacious back porch. You can pick it up on Ebay

(Thanks, Edward O'Brien.)

New Hat

Got a new hat for Wyoming.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Product Review: Travel Brush Set

Yesterday I did a painting using the Richeson Travel Brush Set, a collection of short handled brushes that come in their own stiff protective case.

The case opens to display the brushes while you're working. Each brush tucks into its own elastic holding strap. I like to drape the case over the left page of the sketchbook while I'm working. Turned inside out, the case can also set up on the ground like the letter A, with the cord holding it open at the desired angle. When it's closed up in travel mode, a magnet clasp secures it.


Here's the painting I did with those brushes, using gouache (opaque watercolor). I thoroughly documented the making of the painting on video, and it will be one segment of the next DVD/download called "Gouache in the Wild."


The brush set includes four rounds (sizes 2, 4, 6, and 8) and three flats (sizes 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4"). The combination of brush sizes gave me everything I needed, even for the fine details of the neon supports and wires. The close-up detail above is about an inch and a half square.

I have used the brushes for several paintings now, and I've tried them with watercolor, gouache, and casein.

They're are all made of synthetic fibers, which is what you want for casein especially (the ammonia in casein is hard on brushes). The flats don't hold as much liquid as an equivalently sized sable brush. These are more chisels than mops. They have just the right amount of spring, and so far, they have held their points and edges.

You can get the Richeson Travel Brush Set from a variety of art suppliers, including Daniel Smith, Cheap Joe's, and Dick Blick. 

The set of seven brushes, complete with their case, retail for $79.95, but on Amazon the set is discounted to $38, which is an amazing deal. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Painting a Mountaintop View


High above Salida, Colorado is a lookout tower with a grand view of the town below, so I went up there to try to cram four square blocks into my little paintbook. (Direct link to YouTube video)


I'm using casein with flat brushes, and diving in directly without an underdrawing. Even though the view is infinitely complex, I try to pin down a few landmarks and view it as a set of basic shapes in perspective.


The time lapse sequence of the early stages of the painting uses a GoPro camera set to two-second intervals attached to a slowly rotating kitchen timer.

The easel is a new super-light pochade system that I built. When it's folded up, it's small enough to fit in my belt pouch, and it uses magnets to hold the water cup and mixing tray. The wind was so strong that I had to ballast the tripod with my backpack.