Mar 30, 2017

Time to Crack Open that Travel Journal - Painting & Drawing Tips


It is pouring outside, I know,  but the weather will improve, and soon!   Time to get organized for travel. 
Getting Ready for my trip adds lots of excitement to even a gray, cold, rainy day.

My big trip this spring is off to Scotland with my two sisters.  This is our first big trip together, a girl trip, can hardly wait.  My Great, Great, Great Grandfather left Scotland around 1856 and after trying his luck in the Gold Fields of California and the Cariboo ended up the Alberni Valley on the west coast of British Columbia in 1860.  He was later followed by more family members.  We want to trace some of our roots.  My one sister has done a great deal of research into their life in and around Edinburgh, Scotland.  And as you know, things are verrrrry old over there.  Some of the original buildings, churches and things are still there from their lifetime.  We want to see them.  The most exciting thing is a posting station that that my grandfather worked at is still standing, it is now a posh restaurant and B & B.  We are going to have lunch there!!  Really neat, eh?!

My goal on this trip is to do a bit of sketching.  The idea of drawing some of those old castles, the streets in the old city, the open highlands; they are just calling to me.  However, the challenge is to keep my material portable, easy to set up and lightweight.  We will be travelling by train, walking and a few tours.  No car with a big back seat to throw supplies in.  Everything must be in my day bag.  See what I mean, a real challenge!!

So, where are you going? How much can you bring/carry?  This requires some thought.  

After lots of trial and error, I have finally put my kit together. Here it is:
Bag, pens, pencil, brush, book, eraser, watercoloured pencils, sharpener (Left to Right)

1.     Book: To celebrate the occasion I bought myself a Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Zeta Series, 8.5 x 5.5 inches.  Softcover.  Pricy but I wanted something special.  My favourite urban sketcher, Liz Steel, always talks about these books. 
Note: Max is an active member of the Art by Wendy Team and has already 'dog-earred' the corners for me. 

2.  Pens/Pencils:  I love ink and watercolour, as many of you know, so that was my first choice.  03 Micron Pigma Pen (2) and a Staedtler pencil.  The pens are great, permanent ink, dry quickly; you can put down a wash almost right away and nothing smears.  I find that with a light hand I can get some thin lively lines and with pressure good dark ones.  I like the Staedtler HB pencil as it has a nice vinyl eraser so one less thing to pack. 

3. Kneaded eraser: can't go anywhere without one

4. Pencil sharpener: a small portable one which I keep in a little plastic bag.  Takes no room and keeps the shavings until I find a place to dump them.

5. Piece of folder paper towel: I usually use my pants to dry my brush but I find it hard to test the color on my brush with my pants.  And laundry will be limited so . . .

6. Water filled brush: This brush is large enough to carry a good supply of water and has a great point for painting with.

7. Container: here I am still stumped.  Right now, it is a ziplock bag but I would like something a little 'nicer'. 

8. Watercolours: This is where everything fell apart.  You definitely want to try things before you leave. 

My plan was to use my Sakura Koi paint set, 12 colours, very compact even comes with a small water filled brush that fits in the case.  I thought it would be great.
I decided to do a map of our trip in my book and try things out.

Big Surprise Here. . . .and not a good one!
Paint works but didn't more around as easily as I would have liked.  

The map turned out okay but I found the watercolours hard to work with on the type of paper in my book. Big disappointment. I took a step back.  Left it for a bit, looked at my other sketchbooks.  Not happy. 

Decided on a new approach.

I have lots of Derwent Watercolour Pencils so I tried them.  Liz talks about using a watercolour pencil for layout rather than a graphite one.  I decided to give it a try.  I also wanted to limit my colours, again, thinking about keeping the kit to minimum.  I choose: 67 Ivory Black, 32 Spectrum Blue & Golden Brown 59 (Layout) and got to work on Dunvegan Castle on Isle of Sky.  One of our stops on our tour. 
Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Sky, - Ink and watercolour pencils
It was awesome!! I loved the way the colours mixed on the paper. They dried quickly allowing a quick application of a second layer to refine my shadows. Best of all, the paper is thick enough it doesn't go through so you can use the back of pages as well. As a side note,  I really enjoyed the format of the page and the way it laid flat for working.  So I am ready to sketch.  (Well except for my carry case, but that will come.)
Pack up into a nice little pack.  Don't forget an elastic to keep it all together. 

Getting materials together is one part of getting that Travel Journal ready but there is more you can do.  Next post, I give you some tips to get that Book fired up and ready for any of your travels this summer.

Do you have some favourite things you like to take when traveling with a Journal?  What do you use for a 'container'? 

Great Opportunity to get some drawing help: 

Come join me at the Expressions Art Gallery, Maple Ridge.  There is only room for 3 people at each session so contact me to register.
     Drop-In and Draw with Wendy Mould,
April 1, 
Tues, April 4, 10-12pm & 1-3pm
       Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Wendy 

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Cyndi in BC said...

Have you thought about using a rollup case for your pencils, pens, brushes etc?

A couple I have bookmarked at amazon are

Hope you have a great trip! :)

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks for the heads up. I like that idea, it means my pencils will be laid out so I can quickly find my colours. I will check this out some more.