I mentioned in the last post that I recently returned from a week of travel, and I took watercolors on the trip. The little study above was painted on the plane on the way home. Five hours goes by much faster when you’re painting & listening to an audio book (I’m listening to and *loving* this one – I don’t want it to end). And after making art on airplanes for a few years now (see this post, this one and this one) I can confirm that knowing you’re stuck in that seat for the duration of the flight forces your art-making mind to S.L.O.W. down and get into a school-room-ish mindset; you can’t get up from your work till the seat-belt-sign bell rings. 🙂 Compartmentalized time slots like being on a plane can be an opportunity to really look at your reference photo and compare your drawn & painted shapes & values & composition to your source. I like working on small studies for larger work like this. I keep a selection of photos to sketch & paint in the end-paper of my moleskine. (Note: It’s a lot easier to get into an art-making Flow State with headphones or earbuds to block out the plane noise, and you can listen to music or a podcast or book while you work.)
I’m not a “location painter” – one that paints outside on a regular basis, but when I do pull out my gear and paint what’s in front of me, it’s FULL of lessons about seeing, line, shape, color, hue, values, light & shadow, curves & dimensions; it’s a completely different animal compared to painting from photographs. It’s not in my comfort zone, and for that alone, it’s worth the adventure. You know how they say habits can lull your brain into flabbiness? Not literally, of course, but your brain stays sharper and quicker when you try new things. Brain aerobics is a real thing, so we should do things like take alternate routes to work, fish for keys in a purse without looking, step away from routines to build stronger synapse in our brain functions, etc. Every time I try something that shakes me up artistically – a method I’m not sure of, a style I’m unfamiliar with, an approach that makes me uncomfortable, I think about brain aerobics. If it’s a little squirmy, it’s good for my brain, because I am a creature of habit & a craver of comfort. How about you? Do you gravitate towards cozy & familiar in your art practice, or do you love to be challenged and pushed beyond your comfort zone?
There are so many inspiring posts by artists who paint watercolors when they travel, and you might brew yourself a cup of tea, and grab a pen and paper to make a list of supplies to collect, along with some location ideas in your area, while you peruse some of these lovely posts:
Call a friend, make a date, and give outdoor painting & sketching a try. Sometimes, you don’t need to go farther than your backyard, or your own neighborhood. 🙂 Let us know how it goes, or tell us your tips and tricks in the comments if you paint on location regularly. What do you do to shake up your art-making routines?
Thanks for visiting, and I’ll see you in the next post!
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Think about it – a detour is where you have to leave your current path and go around obstacles that block the way. On a detour you are still moving forward, just taking a lengthier route. Here is where you have choices. You can grouse about the circuitous route, fuss about the delay, and remind yourself of how this will make you late to your destination. However, you can also enjoy the discoveries along the new route: the scenery, the businesses that you hadn’t seen before, and even opportunities that you had been missing along the more direct path. The detour is a detour, but how you look at it is your choice. ~Eugenie B. Fein