FOUR into Forty — the journey begins

File Nov 03, 6 45 05 PM

My neighbor’s pine. 8″ x 10″ plein air watercolor

Over the past several days I’ve been mulling over the workshop with Michael Riordan.  It was a great amount of information, and I want to get the most out of it, to really make it part of me, part of my artistic practice and skills.

So I decided to create a personal challenge that I’m calling Four into Forty or for short: 4 –>40.    I will spend the next forty days taking skills taught in the four day workshop and blogging about what I’ve discovered, show what I’ve painted, and talk about the process.  That will take me into mid-December and I’ll be “in shape” for January’s 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  Wow, that time flew!

2015-11-03 12.34.16
The last two days I’ve been doing plein air painting in my back yard, and trying out various home made types of easels.  After extensive research, I put in an order for a travel easel, but I’ll tell you about that when it arrives later this week.

So here are photos of my two setups, one using an easel that would be used in a conference room with a big newsprint notepad and markers. The good thing about it is that the cross sections provide a place to put a piece of backing/plywood that I can use as a table.  The bad part is that I have to paint almost or completely vertical.  On top of it is the first green chart I’ve made using viridian and various yellows/oranges/reds.  More on that in another post.

2015-11-03 14.54.50The second is a heavyish and unwieldy music stand which has the great value of being to go from flat to almost vertical, but it has no accompanying table area.  So I dragged over the first easel and used that as a table.  All of this trying to stay in the shadow of a tree or pillar so the dogs across the street don’t constantly bark at me!  but I digress…The background is a bleached out sun view of the pines I used as a reference.

In both I’m using a neat travel palette with 18 wells and a thumb hole.  I’m really liking it and plan on  using it probably even with the coming easel.  but we shall see.

So I hope you’ll come along with me on this journey of discovery.  4–>40, day one completed!

My travel palette with thumbhole

My travel palette with thumbhole


14 thoughts on “FOUR into Forty — the journey begins

    • Thanks so much David. I felt good about it as it was “working” and tried not to overwork it. I believe i will try it again playing with amount of pigment water ratio and timing to make the pine needles. Thx again!


  1. Challenging at this time of year. I like the thumb hole in the palette – it will keep you standing tall and your eye on the subject. Less back aches, I’ll bet! Looking forward to your 40 posts. Fingers crossed you have time for that, too.


    • Really good point, Diane! I watched a youtube video of a plein air painter, and i didn’t think I would appreciate bending down to a shelf as low as he had it…but if it gave me his amazing watercolor skill, perhaps I’d endure the backache! LOL


  2. Hi Rachel, I think a comment went through before I finished typing! Oh well. I am just catching up on some of your latest posts…. very nice work here! Love the tree, and your discoveries are always so interesting to hear about. Thanks for sharing. ~Rita


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