Does this look like Paradise? It's an actual campsite on the banks of the roaring white water McKenzie River, and it is, indeed, Paradise! OK, I know that some of you don't get off on camping in the wilderness, and I understand....but for me, I like nothing better than to load our little Scamp camper with a box of art materials and a basket of books and take off for this lovely place where everything is very simple. Twittering birds, the never-ceasing sound of the river, sunshine, moonlight, blue sky, velvet night with stars, and the rustling of the leaves on the trees when the wind passes by: a recipe for heaven in my personal book of pleasures. This year, when we went there in June to camp for a week, I took my newly made small palettes to see how they would work in this setting.
The great thing about this old-fashioned campground is that there is no electric hook-up--just faucets shared by several campsites and bathrooms. No showers. This, as it turns out, weeds out most of the huge RVs and other hog-type vehicles. I do not enjoy listening to my neighbors' tv for half the night when camping! Our little trailer is only 13' long but contains the essential thing: a queen sized bed. We usually cook out on the picnic table where we can set up a car-camping little kitchen. The other half of the picnic table is reserved for painting, reading, or game playing.
Sometimes I paint on the table and sometimes I like to paint sitting in one of our camping chairs down by the river. Below is a photo of the medium sized art bin that holds all my art supplies, journal, and current book.
Next to my bin is a box into which I can put all of my small palettes, and the box fits into the bin.
I love how they look when they are all together--the small stack in the upper middle are the pocket palettes, a stack of four.
The first morning I was there, I used these two palettes plus some blues to make this:
Above is my Ochres and Yellows palette, which I used to paint these:
After I painted the one above, I switched to a new watercolor journal:
This new size, about 9" by 6", was a more difficult size for me. The designs I made had to be very tall!
When I wanted to go super-light and move to the river with one of the camping chairs, I could take my watercolor kit (expeditionaryart.com) and tiny collapsible water glass.
Here is what it contains, besides two of the pocket palettes:
The square thing on the left is a composition aid, invaluable for odd-shaped journals. Next is a permanent writer (does not blur when wet), aqua brush, ruler, a gadget to insert water in the aqua brush, a tiny sprayer, and tiny paint brush. So much fun being able to go so small and minimal!
The camping chair I was using when I sat by the river had a small tray table on one side. All of my tool-kit painting supplies fit on it easily. With a sunhat and a long-sleeved shirt, I passed a blissful afternoon by the river. I'd say that my camping experiments with small palettes was going splendidly. I decided to add some globs and drips to my next painting after I accidentally dropped a glob of paint onto the top of one of the triangles. What did I tell you in my last post about accidents? They are opportunities!
Then I decided to doodle on it. When in doubt, just keep going! If you don't like it, you can make another one. Notice how that glob disappeared among the doodling?
I liked the relaxed nature of the painting and I loved the little globby circles, but decided it was a bit busy. I wanted to make another one, but twilight was coming on.
Time to go back to our little camp where Mr. Bill had built a campfire. Where we sat in the night with only the light of the camping lantern. Where we laughed and told stories and ate "somemores."