I am not in my studio this week. My husband is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. We elected to use the Cyberknife technology for his treatment and it is not offered in the Tucson area. Fortunately, they have an office in Phoenix and his treatment schedule worked out perfect with other activities we had previously planned in the area. He will need five days straight of targeted radiation and then, hopefully, the cancer will be eradicated.
I packed a small selection of art supplies, and I will share the art on the road I created and hope to inspire you to take up a creative hobby.
Playing with Sketches
I always keep a small (4” x 6”) sketchbook in my purse. This way, I have no excuse to not sketch. It’s as easy to pull out the sketchbook as it is to pull out my phone and mindlessly scroll. These are small pieces, intended to capture moments or focus on basics.
I had the opportunity to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West UNESCO World Heritage Site in Scottsdale, Arizona. I had always wanted to go, but it took the urging of my daughter to buy the tickets for the tour. I learned so much about Taliesin west (especially how to pronounce it)! This was a winter camp for Wright and his students as well as where he entertained notable guests. I was impressed with his organic architecture and his novel use of natural materials to create the structure.
I did a little on-site sketching and later tried to add a little color. Architecture students need not fear my perspective expertise. The structure was a perspective nightmare, but highlights Wright’s simplicity of design and use of glass.
One thing I didn’t realize was his penchant for artifacts. The site is strewn with many Asian statues and vignettes. This particular niche was located adjacent to the room he called his cabaret, designed for entertaining.
Playing with Watercolor
I have an old cigar box packed with watercolor pencils, a travel watercolor kit, Tombow pens, a few pencils, and erasers. This makes it easy to grab and go and have a minimal set of art supplies available while travelling. I also packed a small notebook with 140 lb. watercolor paper. This one is a Vision Journal made by Strathmore. I set up on the hotel room table.
Watercolor is not my medium of choice, so this limited set of art supplies forced me to play with it more and experience the mercurial attributes. I’ve always been drawn to the transparency of watercolor, but afraid of how to use it.
The first attempt started with a watercolor wash with darker streaks that seemed to resemble trees in the midst. I ran with that theme and added more trees. Watercolor is not my medium of choice, so this limited set of art supplies forced me to play with it more. You can see the result above.
My second painting was a portrait, of course. I am familiar with facial structure and shading, so this was an easier painting for me, but not without its challenges. I sketched the basic shape with a pale pink watercolor pencil and used another watercolor pencil in yellow ochre to create the shape of the hair.
Watercolor Still Life
Lastly, I tried my hand at a small floral. This time, I used the Tombow pens in addition to the watercolor pencils for help with the detail.
So far, my husband’s treatment hasn’t fatigued him – the most common side effect. We are praying for his full recovery but won’t know for sure until he can have another PSA test in about three months. My creative practices help me keep sane through all the unknowns.
Next, I plan a tutorial on the next phase of creating a self-portrait, building on skills learned in my previous tutorials.
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