Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Morning Train, Update

I'm not making fast progress here on purpose.  I want to be sure I've thought each part out before I start painting in that area.  The pictures look a bit skewed as the paper is buckling.  I should have stretched it first, but figured 300 lb. paper would hold up better.  No worries, though, I can press it later.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Morning Train

Well, here we go on another landscape try.  This is on 300 pound paper, 18" x 24" in size.  I'm taking this slow, hopefully not going to mess this up!

I started with an underpainting of madder lake deep and used it for the base of the sky as well.

The far mountains are a mix of madder lake deep, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow and vermillion.

Shadows on the mountain area are ultramarine.  I think I'll quit for the night and sleep on the next steps.  So far, so good!  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Craftech Sienna Pochade Box Review

I have been wanting a new field easel forever.  I bought Cheap Joe's Watercolor Field Easel several years ago, thinking it'd be the answer to my needs, but it just wasn't the thing.  In it's favor, it had several slide-out shelves to hold tools and paint while I worked, had four legs to give it good balance and a compartment on top to hold supplies.  Sadly, it was flimsy and not as well thought out as the price would have indicated, I felt.  The top compartment would hold paints and brushes, but there was a wooden block inside the lid to keep it from sliding clear out which supplies got caught behind when the lid was opened and jam the whole thing up.  I paid nearly $170.00 for it and was very disappointed over the months I used it.  Here is a stock photo of it.  I do hear that Cheap Joe's is working on an improvement, however, so maybe they'll work the problems out.

Cheap Joe's old watercolor field easel

I have had my eye on the Craftech Sienna Plein Air All-in-One pochade box for a very long time.  I could only find one review for it when I bought the Cheap Joe's easel, and because it was negative and called the easel shabbily made, I passed on it.  My mistake!  

Today my Sienna easel was delivered UPS and am I thrilled!  I have taken quite a few photos of it, because there are only a few stock photos out there on the internet and they didn't answer all of my questions.  If someone else is trying to decide whether to spend the money for it, I hope this review and accompanying photos will help.  

Very well packaged, styrofoam, a box within a box..

Within a box..

The two knobs on top secure the easel, which is inside the lid.

The palette for oils or acrylics slides out to my right, either to remove and put paint on or to leave in and use as a shelf.

Three dividers inside, holding two accessories..

One of the questions I had before I purchased it was whether the magnetic shelf that is designed to attach with magnets to either the left side or the palette when closed, would also sit on the edge with the palette removed.  It does, although there are no magnets in that spot.  No matter, it sits securely on the edge anyway.  

The three dividers easily slide out to allow me to customize the storage.  This will be convenient, as my 9"x12" covered watercolor palette will fit in that space if I want to take it along.  

The two accessories are a paper towel holder which attaches with wooden blocks over the edge of the box, and a screwdriver which fits the screws in the box and fittings.

The easel extends upward enough to hold an 18" sheet of watercolor paper or painting support.  The bottom edge of the easel slides upwards to raise the painting surface or lower it, although not any lower than is shown in the photo.  

Inside the lid is a hole which corresponds with a brass post in the side to keep the lid fitting tightly.

Sienna claims that two sizes of painting boards will fit into the back compartment, 8"x10" and 9"x12".  I wondered how, and there is the answer.  An extra piece of wood with a groove cut into it slides into it, or is easy to slide back out for the larger size.  I tried to put my watercolor palette in there and while it would fit width and depth, it was too thick for the space.  Alas! 

With the extra support out of it, ready for a 9"x12" panel.

The tripod mount on the bottom and the piece to my tripod.  I already had a heavy duty tripod, so this helped out on cost.  A LOT.  If you are getting a tripod, go with a heavy duty one.

The tripod mounting thingy, screwed into place and ready to attach to the tripod.

Mounted.  That is the tough part.  Next time, I will have the tripod swivel joint head thing all tight and secure before I click the mount into place.  It's too awkward to mount then adjust.  


Set up and ready to use.  This is no cheap box.  It is sturdy, versatile and well designed.  I'm so glad I finally bought the thing!  (Besides, it's beautiful and that's important, too!)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Aerial Perspective, Landscape Practice…. Again

I'm still trying to understand landscapes.  Still have a ways to go, but I think I'm making progress.

Dropping in the sky, this is the fun part!

The distant hills here are a lovely pink/violet.  I will need to visually "push" them into the distance.

As the mountains are a darker value than the foreground, they actually move forward in space instead of the foreground.  

Adding fence posts and darkening the very front helps, but there still isn't much contrast between the middle ground and the foreground.  It'll need to be darkened a bit, still.

Still darker values of yellow with a bit of sepia added in washed over the front grasses area is beginning to push the mountains back.  Now we're getting somewhere. 

Adding a bit of brown/darker value still to the foreground really helps set the mountains back in the distance where they should be.  A simple study, but it works.  I enjoyed this one.  

Stein's Pass, Watercolor, 18" x 24" on paper