I don’t know about you, but for me March and (most of) April have whizzed by. I have no idea where they went! Anyway, I haven’t really painted anything lately because I’ve been so busy…and when I haven’t been busy, I’ve been tired…and when I haven’t been tired, I’ve been too lazy to set up my watercolor workspace.
However, in recent days I’ve lit a fire under myself because I’d hate to go to Iowa and take a session from Stan and feel totally rusty with my paints and a brush! So, I set up shop on Tuesday, cut some calla lilies from the planters in front of my apartment, and painted a small, but nice piece, which I will post as soon as I scan it in.
Until then, I thought I’d give you a “tour” of my studio!
I work at my dining room table. This is probably the number one reason why I don’t paint more — no dedicated space…I can only leave my workspace up for so long before that table needs to be used as an eating space! I guess in an ideal world I’d have my own dedicated studio space, but in an ideal world I’d also have it be such that the studio space would feel like it’s in the heart of the action, and not totally out of the way.
When I set up to paint, I put down a piece of heavy craft paper so that I don’t mess up my table. I also lay out my palette, brushes, paints, pencil, etc. I also have my computer nearby…sometimes I paint from a picture (that I have saved on my computer), and other times I paint from life (like on Tuesday). However, even if I’m not painting something on my computer, I like to have it there so that I can listen to podcasts or music. Something to keep me company!
Here is a close-up of my palette. A couple of years ago I got fancy and bought a porcelain palette, which is supposed to help with maintaining the wetness of the paints. It may or may not do that, but I do like the palette (except that it weighs about 7,000 pounds). I arrange my colors in loosely “rainbow” order, and dab misc. colors at the bottom that I don’t use as much. Nearby my palette, I also keep a scrap piece of watercolor paper so that I can test the colors that I am mixing. If I have time to paint tomorrow, I might take out my travel watercolor kit and practice from that, since that is what I will bring to Iowa (my 7,000 pound palette can stay at home!).
A couple of Christmases ago, my mother-in-law Bonnie (a true patron of the arts!) decided that I needed a beautiful piece of pottery to use as the cup I wash my brushes in when I’m painting. She bought me the cup you can see above, and it is truly beautiful! (So beautiful that one time when I was painting in a class, a person came up to me and remarked not about my painting, but the water dish!) When I first got it, I really did not want to use it to paint, since I did not want to stain it. However, she talked me into it, saying that I needed to have beautiful things around me if I wanted to paint beautiful things. So, I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and I just adore it. It’s a perfect size and, she is right, it is nice to have beautiful things around for inspiration. I have stained the inside of the cup, but that just shows that I use it frequently!
I was so inspired by Bonnie’s idea that I decided to get myself a small dish to hold my sponge in. (I find that drying my brushes on a natural sea sponge is way better and more eco-friendly than blotting on paper towels.) At an art fair, I found a small dish (it’s pretty, but holds nothing to the piece Bonnie found) that I use to hold the sponge as it gets wet. It works perfectly!
In this last shot, you can see the lilies I collected (put in a glass, since none of my vases held the lilies like I had wanted). You can also see a sneak peak of my painting — I really am so pleased with how it is coming out. The colors are blending how I want them to and I am not feeling as rusty as I thought I would! Next step, a little bit of finishing detail and then scanning it into the computer!