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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Inspired by a Community Garden

Mural painted on the side of the garden shed.

We have a community garden close to where I live that is used to teach students in the local high school about vegetable gardening. The school and a community organization work together to maintain the garden. At this time of year the garden is full of mature plants, vegetables and fruit trees so the edibles are regularly harvested and set out for sale each Friday. I'm sure the money they earn is used to continue the program.

It is wonderful to wander through the rows and see what's growing. Besides vegetables there are also flowers blooming here and there. It would be wonderful just to sit there and sketch and I plan to take that opportunity when I have the time. For today, though, I just took some photographs.

I loved the look of these various gloves
hanging on the inside of the shed door

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Well of Inspiration is Full Again

We had a very damp beginning to our canoeing weekend but that didn't stop us. Eventually the sun came out and we very much enjoyed our surroundings, the fellowship we had with each other, the activities we engaged in, the outdoor smells and sounds and even surviving for four days with minimal luxuries.

My little art kit was just what I needed to document the trip a little bit. I even enlisted my sister and her daughter to sketch. It is really nice to lose yourself in a sketch of your surroundings.

Sitting on a life jacket helps keep your bum from going numb while being perched on a log bench for an extended sketching time.

Our camp site on Booth Lake, Algonquin

A shady spot in the grass is much more comfortable.

Old ranger cabin built in 1939 on Tattler Lake, Algonquin

We saw these inch long catfish in the water where we moored our canoes.

Water bottles of every shape and size can be found all over the campsite in and attempt to keep hydrated in the hot weather. They are regularly filled with water from the lake that we filter and purify with a UV light.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Creativity and Innovation

It is July and that time of year when I take a group of women on a 4 day canoe trip. This year was going to be a trip to Killarney Provincial Park but, it seems, Killarney is a very popular back country destination in summer. We were unable to get sites so we had to adjust our plans. We will be going back to that beautiful Provincial Park, Algonquin again.

Each time we go on this trip, I bring some art gear along and each year I try to streamline it and make it as small as I possibly can but still be able to produce something lovely with it. If you have to portage and carry all your equipment and clothing as well as a canoe, you want to have just enough stuff but not too much and it needs to be fairly light. For example, the stove I bring fits into a 5"X 7" pouch! And we do all our meals on it.

So when I saw a link on Facebook on how to make a paint kit out of an "Altoids" container, I thought this was the perfect solution for my canoe trip.

All my art gear fits into a 7"X 8" zippered freezer bag. It is clear so I can see everything that is in it.

The items include a small sketchbook and another small sketchbook that is long and narrow for landscapes, a uniball pen, a mechanical pencil, a watercolour kit and a waterbrush.

The watercolour kit is a variation on the "Altoids" container kit.

It is a container I found among my stuff and apparently it used to hold "10 sinoritas". I believe those were tiny cigars made for women smokers. They were made in Holland and were called Uiltje D'or or in English Golden Owls. The brown label on the lid is evidence that this little tin was used for something else after the cigars were gone. It says, "veilig hieds spelden" which is Dutch for safety pins. I think this tin may be considered an antique now.

I found some used bubble packaging for pills and glued them to the bottom of the tin then squeezed watercolour paint into them. Seeing as you can make almost any colour out of the primary colours yellow, red and blue, I included those but also added burnt sienna, yellow ochre, paynes grey and viridian green. I put a small piece of white felt in the top to clean off my brush on. The tin is only 2.75" X 3.75" in size.

The last item I included in the kit is a water brush which has a reservoir for water in the handle so you don't need a container of water with you.

I hope to paint many lovely sketches on this canoe trip as well as photographing lots of inspiration for future art.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Artful Decisions

As this Spring and Summer have been busy for me not only with my job but also several circumstances that have happened in my life, I haven't had large spans of time to dedicate to my art. That can be a little frustrating. As I look at what I have produced in the last little while, it doesn't amount to anything grand or substantial. I am satisfied that I have kept up doing art even though it has been mostly sketches which are done quickly and they help to grow my technique and accuracy in drawing. I am itching to get into a larger project such as a painting or another art quilt. I know that because I have this urge, subconsciously, I will be looking for subjects for this larger project. Now I have to patiently wait until I find that perfect subject.

In the meantime, I am involved with World Watercolor Month 2016. July is World Watercolor Month and so I am trying to work my sketches in watercolour. As a matter of fact, after finishing this blog post, I was going to head outside and find some garden flowers to paint with watercolour. It has been stinking hot this whole week so far with not a drop of rain in sight. Wouldn't you know that now it is pouring cats and dogs outside!  Well, the ground is loving it!

This week I also found out that the art quilt I entered into a show called Fibre Content 2016 was rejected. Oddly, I don't feel very disappointed. I have come to realize that often just what appeals to the jurer that gets a piece into a show. This was the show that I was accepted into in 2014 with my piece called "Algonquin Rapids".

Here are a few of my sketches from this week for World Watercolor Month.