I’m trying out this little desk – unobtrusively tucked into the dining room! We have a big dining room table and we entertain a lot of family and friends, so I needed something simple and compact. I made this little “shelf-desk” out of plywood and 1×4″ boards. It just sits on top of an existing table I’d had my plants on this past winter. I still have my desk, HERE, that I love and use mostly in the evenings – but I wanted to utilize this beautiful light that comes in the window! And, it’s nice to be close to everything happening at home during the day ; )
So, I have a daytime desk tucked into life downstairs…on a trial basis – oh, but I love that light!
Here’s what I must have with me anywhere I go – the essentials: wallet, phone, chap stick, lotion, small notebook and pencil – to write the grocery list or sketch an idea for an illustration. The little notebook is a Midori style journal that I made for myself out of leather. I cut down regular paper and fold it for my pages – endless refills ; ) The pencil holder, that I just got from Midori, is perfect for keeping my pencil safe in my bag. The Beekman lip balm was a gift from my mother-in-law and I love it! The hand cream from Crabtree and Evelyn was a gift from a friend (and I got another free sample from a recent trip to their outlet store)! The lotion and chap stick are something I use often in this cold/dry climate!
What do you have to have with you? What are the essentials in your bag?
I got a new little tool this week! It’s a lovely, smooth, brass Midori pencil case. I go it because I thought it would be a great way to use up all our short pencils – The boys use so many pencils for school and I didn’t like throwing away all the pencil stubs!
Two days a week I wait while my oldest son does tutoring at the Dyslexia Center, then I also have half an hour while the boys are at their guitar and piano lessons…so, three afternoons a week I have “enforced productive creative time”. I have a watercolor journal and slim tin for all my pencils/pens – they fit in my purse and go with me everywhere. I can doodle, draw, or sketch while I’m waiting at my appointments. Here’s just a couple pages from this month:
I usually wait till I get home to do the painting – but If I want to I do have a compact little travel set I could bring along ; )
I’m really enjoying this little journal – it’s a great size for travel, it opens nice and flat, good quality paper, and lovely cover – you can get one HERE. The last page I did yesterday and I’ll paint tonight after the family’s in bed for the night.
These are my favorite brushes and paper. I use them the most often – round #1, #3, and #8 brushes with the hot pressed 140lb. paper from Arches. I like how smooth it is and how well it takes the color. I’d tried other cheaper papers before finally getting the Arches – such a difference! The cheaper papers are thinner and pill up or start to peel away with too much brush work…I rarely work my colors on the paper, so that shouldn’t be a problem for me! I get most of my brushes out of a dollar bin at my local art supply store – I check the bristles to make sure they’re in good shape and have a nice tip – expensive or cheap brushes, it all depends on how it feels on the paper, how it holds the color…money doesn’t seem to be the deciding factor for me. I have some cheap brushes I love, and some higher end brushes that I use often. I’m not brand loyal there!
My Aunt is out visiting from California and brought me a surprise gift! The Aqua-mini watercolor set from Sennelier and a little journal to go with it – she knows what I like!
The set comes with a little brush – very fine tip for small lines. I tried the paints out today and painted some happy little pitchers – such beautiful colors and I can mix many new colors perfectly!
I already had this little zippered pouch. It fits the little journal, paints, my water brushes, and a pen, pencil, eraser…all set to go anywhere and paint ; )
Thank you, Auntie, for a lovely little set of paints – they’re a dream to work with!!! Now, I must go out somewhere and paint!
I thought I’d list here (for my own reference in the future) what’s been working for me with my work space and the tools I’ve been using:
Assorted watercolor brushes
– my favorite is a no.4
rinsing water pot (closable to keep out dust)
Micron pens – 005 to 08 sizes
Faber-castell artist pens F and M for thicker lines
Steadtler white eraser
8 inch ruler
Here’s a slightly wonky drawing of my desk where I do all my painting. I love my corner ‘studio’ space – it’s in a corner of my bedroom – HERE. The desk is the perfect size for all my painting, drawers for storing paint supplies, and the little table for journals and blocks of paper.
I decided to devote my lower mixing tray to greens. I mix more greens then anything else because there’s so much foliage in everything I paint! Now I have 10 ready mixed greens that I can easily make more of by referring to my little cheat sheet ; )
Here they are!!! My new set of watercolor paints! Artist grade, 48 colors, nice metal folding palette….isn’t it beautiful!!! Here it is – just pulled out of the box:
I did so much reading online about the different brands of watercolor: Rembrandt, Sennelier, Schmincke, LUKAS, and White Nights. I watched many review videos and blog posts and compared notes…
Finally, I decided it was either going to be Schmincke or LUKAS…and for the much better price, LUKAS won! Schmincke was the most favored by illustrators, but, of the things they said were great about Schmincke, were also be said of LUKAS.
They come wrapped and labeled -48 half pans- it took a while just to get all the papers off and the names written down for reference! I kept the colors arranged just as they came. I liked how they were sorted out in rainbow order.
I’m really excited about all the extra space for mixing colors and making washes! Here’s my picture just for pinterest, since they don’t have a nice one on there yet ; ) With all the wrappings off and the pans back in the tray, it’s easy to see all the pans are filled nice and uniform with paint. I watched a video about how to pop the pans in and out of the tray properly so they fit nice and snug.
And my little color chart! All the colors behaved beautifully – uniform saturation and brilliance. No weak or murky colors. I can’t wait to use them more – so many colors!!!
I made myself a handy little paintbrush rest (why buy something if you make it for free)! It keeps the wet brush tips off the table and it’s easier to pick up the brush I want when I’m painting! I made it from an old Jenga game piece and carved it to make the brush rest ; )
(shown with a recent painting of yellow cowslip)