New Zealand week 3: Painting on the go

Many years ago when I was a Zoology student I went on a field trip to Kenya. It was epic. The wildlife was incredible. When we would spot a lion or elephant cameras would start clicking away, and there was me doing super rough sketches.

I was known doodler of funny characters and fantasy animals, nothing serious, and I would get high marks for my illustrations of dissections but this was the first time I forced myself to draw in the field. In a random journal with whatever I had to hand. In fact one of my elephant drawings I coloured in with a clump of red dirt. I still think it’s prety cool.

I always take a sketch pad with me everywhere, and the last few years a small box of water colours to. I love pocket sized books (as long as the paper is good enough) and limiting my paints has helped me find the range I like working in best, and the limited colours help unite my paintings.
When I get them out!

I was drawing last week and a lady came up to me saying she loved to paint but it’s so difficult to do it outside.

I totally understand her! So for her and all others who want to paint more here are my tips:

1) Go outside

Simple, but wherever you are, get out of the house and find something that sparks in you and try and capture it.

2) Find somewhere in the shade where you can sit.

Portable parasols and camping chairs are defiently in my shopping list! But sometimes you get lucky with a handy bench under a tree with a great view. Sometimes you put uo with pins and needles and horrible smells to get the picture you want. That’s just the way it goes!

3) Get your kit out

For this trip I have a tiny moleskine for sketches, a slightly bigger watercolour book and an a3 watercolour pad. Paper quality matters a lot to me. Nice paper makes me gooey inside 🙂

I have a limited amount of paints which makes me use them more creatively and also helps untie my different paintings. I try and have a warm and cold colour of red, blue, green and yellow. I use a lot of brown so they got in to and a ‘clean’ black and white for when I definetly need them and ‘dirty’ black and white for mixing.

There is a tiny brush that goes with my paint set which is perfect for quickly blobbing on colour. I like a long brush that can take a lot of paint and some fine ones to get some detail in. Broad brushes are usefull for blocking colour but I don’t tend to use them as much.

Water I just pop in the tiny tray with my tiny paints. The splatters I do on some of my work actually helps keep my water clean so I can use it longer! Necessity breeds invention they say. A little jar would be perfect though!

And pens I have a selection of sizes depending on how I’m feeling 🙂 and I love my black wing pencils.

When everything is out there’s no turning back… Paint!
And that’s what I tell myself every time. But every time it’s getting easier. And I’m still and will always be learning.

2 sulphur bay

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