Wednesday, January 29, 2014


At the beach, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
It is bitterly cold outside. The temperatures have not risen above -5 C for the last  ten days. At night -20 C is the norm. Add the strong winds and it gets dangerous to be outside. So far, this has been arguably one of the coldest winters in the last few decades. No need to explain, why I dream of hot, sunny days at the beach...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Views from Newfoundland

Lately I have been working with photos from my trips, trying to simplify some landscape scenes. Here are several of them, although, I'm still very far from what I'd like to achieve.
York Harbor, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
Bonne Bay, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
At Norris Point, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
Broom Point, watercolor sketch
Trout River Pond, watercolor 38 x 28 cm

Sunday, January 19, 2014

More from the produce counter

Swiss Chard, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
When my husband saw me taking a bunch of Swiss chard at the store, he said "You are buying this to paint it, aren't you?" Yes, he guessed right. I had to complete the series of interesting edible leaves. As a bonus we did end up with a tasty soup.

Pineapple, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
And now everybody knows what's for desert tonight...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Eat your veggies

Radicchio leaf, watercolor 28 x 28 cm
Boc Choy, watercolor 28 x 28 cm
These are a couple of studies of leafy vegetables, which intrigue me with their color patterns.

And a big thank you to Rita Vaselli for giving me this blog award!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Do-it-yourself lightweight watercolor easel

My new do-it-yourself easel.
The support is two pieces of corrugated plastic,
which can be taped on one side to serve
as a folder for the paper.
This post describes how my husband and I turned a small photo tripod into a light and compact watercolor easel.

I have an aluminum easel, which I find very comfortable and use it all the time at home. It, however, is quite bulky. It is long 30" (76 cm) folded and weighs 2 kg. I wouldn't carry such a thing to paint on location, unless I go there by car. Basically, it very successfully serves the purpose of being an excuse for not painting outside. I wanted a lighter and much smaller one. After seeing Alvaro's travel easel that a friend made for him from a tripod, I decided to do the same.

The easel with the new attachment, folded. The pencil is there for scale
My requirements were:
- minimum  size and weight;
- to be able to fit a quarter sheet horizontally and vertically;
- to assemble and dis-assemble easily

First, I picked a tripod. My choice was the Slik Compact II model, as it weighs only 570 g and is 36 cm long when folded. It cost me about $40 CAD (could have done better if I waited for a sale).  There are probably many other good models, I didn't spend too much time researching.

The parts
The other main part was a 4 foot aluminum L-profile, which we cut to make the two rails and the top and bottom supports. A few rivets, bolts and wing nuts finished the kit. The only weird part was an U-shaped piece that had to hold the two rails 5 mm apart and serve to attach to the bolt of the tripod's panhead. We found something that fit the purpose, so it saved us from making one ourselves. All of this, of course, depends on the materials that you find in your store. The important thing is to have 5 mm gap between the two rails, where the top and bottom horizontal supports can move and be adjusted.

There are still a few things to tune up. I need to replace the two bolts with flat-head ones and maybe add a clip to the top support.
Here is how the rail is assembled. The big round hole is for the
panhead bolt to attach to the tripod. The winged nuts allow to
move and adjust the the two pieces that hold the board from top and bottom.
The whole thing weighs 920 g. (about 2 lb) and can fold to 43 cm (17") length. This can fit in a knapsack. The other practical idea from Alvaro is his support board. He uses two pieces of corrugated plastic, cut slightly larger than the size of the paper he uses, to allow enough room to tape the paper to them. The two pieces are taped together on one side with duct-tape, which turns them into a folder to carry the paper and the paintings, once you are done. Now, I'll have no more excuses. I will have to try this easel for real!

I also like the fact that the new rail can easily be detached, and the tripod can be used for its original purpose - photography.