Jul 28, 2017

Are you a Swimmer or a Diver?


The weather is warm and swimming and beaches are on everyone's mind.  We are just back from a Painting/Camping trip on the SouthWest Coast of British Columbia so certainly part of my thinking.

Myself, I tend to be a swimmer.  Diving head first into the water has never been my favourite thing.  In fact when I was taking my swimming test, as a teenager, and had to dive off the 3 Meter board it took me quite a bit of time to get up the nerve to do it.  I think most adults, particularly women tend to be a swimmer.  Not because we can't dive in but more because we don't want to look like a drowned rat for the rest of the day.  You know, the hair thing.

Painting can be very similar.  We tend to stay safe and swim around in familiar settings, not getting 'our hair wet'.  Sometimes it is good to say to heck with it and just dive in.

My Painting Trip this year was filled with new things; I painted a lot and I really challenged myself with new colours, mixing subjects, different mediums and more.  Sometimes it was really exciting to see the changes and sometimes I felt like a drowned rat.

So here we go:
First goal:  Get wildlife in every picture. 
I found that I like seascapes and landscapes but wildlife is what I really want to paint and draw. But  I like to set up and paint what I see on the beach.  

My Problem: the wildlife wont hold still.

SOFT LANDING - 5 x 7, watercolour
Where we camp on Texada Island there is a pair of resident Bald Eagles very close by.  So throughout the day you will see them flying past, sitting on a rock or being chased by crows. I really want to paint the eagles in their setting.

My solution: a modified plein air painting. 
Max and I spent hours walking the beach and trails; he enjoyed the new scents and I took tons of pictures.  Of course the eagles were some of my regulars.  

That sounds easy but now what do you do with the pictures, we were a long way from my studio and for that matter; a long way from internet, printers and all that stuff.  Even electricity is at a premium. I picked up this great gadget for  my iPad that really was wonderful.  It is part of what is called "a camera kit".  
The camera kit piece for my ipad.  There are 2 different attachments, one for this size disk and one for a USB connection.  Not expensive but very handy.

What it means is,  I can take my card from my camera, plug it into my iPad and download the pictures I want. Once they are there I now have a decent size image to use for drawing.  I could then set up my picture on the beach for my eagle. 

 I would find a spot, set up my painting for my wildlife by leaving a space for him.  Later. back at camp,  I could use my iPad to draw him in. I found that most pictures required two sittings to complete so that worked out great. (Max will only sit for 1-2 hours then he says it is time for both of us to get up and stretch.  And by then the light has changed so much that it is a different picture anyway.)
FRESH SALMON - 5 x 7 watercolour
When Max and I were out in the kayak we got some great pictures for the painting, FRESH SALMON. (Yes, Max was getting pretty good in the kayak this summer.) 

Max and I in the kayak off Shelter Point, Texada Island

The eagle would sit on the trees by the small bay, swoop down, catch a fish, then take it up on the rocks to eat.  I decided to paint him on the logs by that little bay.

Photograph: My eagle feeding on his catch.  I think this would make a great painting too.  Don't you just love the tree and grasses in the background? 
Do you have any tricks or gadgets that help you paint in the field?  I would love to hear about them.

There is way too many things to tell you about my painting trip in one post; I was gone for 4 weeks.  So next post I will continue my report:  My Awesome New Field Painting Kit - small, very portable and with great paints.

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Special Upcoming Event: Plein Air Painting Festival - August 25-27 - Kilby Historical Site, Harrison Mills, BC
Great Opportunity to Paint on a Historic Site with costume models, farm animals, farm scenery,  old store and more.  Great Prizes for all levels - Beginners to Advanced Welcome - $15 Register events@kilby.ca by August 15, 2017.  Painting Friday and Saturday, Prizes, Luncheon, and Sales on Sunday.

See you there!!

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