Prepping the palettes

Today was the day I sat down with my two “travel” palettes to refill and reorganize. I will be doing a week of plein air over at the Clark at the beginning of October so this will give them a little time to set up and behave. I’m waiting for the Fed Ex guy to arrive with my new tripod, having realized the other night the head on the other one wasn’t working right – it looks like it’s missing a part. It works but doesn’t lock the plate in place. So here’s to v.2.

My goal today is to get it all into a backpack. Come on Fed Ex guy!

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Painter…

I signed up for another weeklong painting class (not just watercolor – do your own medium, but plain air with some bonus stuff from The Clark) through IS183.org. October 1 is too early for real snow, right?

The painter of the future will be a colorist in a way no one has been before. — Vincent van Gogh

August Postcard Poetry Festival 2018

Now that we’re safely within the borders of September, I can talk a little about this year’s August Postcard Poetry Festival. It was the twelfth year of the festival, spearheaded by Paul E. Nelson, and my fifth year of participating. This year, nine groups each with thirty-two plus participants from all over the world spent the month writing poems and sending them to others via a postcard. Some make a point of writing directly and spontaneously on the card, others select special cards to trigger their words or respond to poems sent to them, some spend time making cards to send out.

In the past I have chosen a theme or a poetic form for month-long projects like this. I often use my own photos or scanned images of my watercolors, but also use commercial cards, often funny, never related to the day’s poem. I do make a point of writing every day since to me this, along with the poetry itself, is the point of it – to write a poem every day and to send it out in the world to someone I probably don’t know and who will probably not comment past letting me know it arrived. I like this concept of putting a card/poem in my mailbox-outbox and finding the card/poem of others there. How brave it can seem to show someone a new poem, tempered only by the rough handling of the US Postal Service over a couple of days! This year I did have a theme of “ephemeral” in mind but it wasn’t always the topic. I often make a list of prompt words or ideas before the month begins to help me out on “stuck days”. At least once or twice in a month I have to write a second poem either because what comes out is totally non-postcard-sized or because it’s a little too raw or personal and I’d prefer to let it sit a day or two before sending it out. Sometimes those go out anyway.

My habit is to write the card itself at night and often the poem is written then too. This year I have taken to carry a tiny notebook in my pocket and jotting down the stray phrase which may become a later poem. I find if I don’t capture those either on my phone or in the notebook that they vanish as quickly as they arrive. In past years I’ve written the poem at lunchtime which gave me a sense of having done something productive that day but this year my lunchtimes were more about news and response. I did make a point of thinking about the poem-to-come on my ride home after work. Many nights I walk out to the mailbox very late at night and put in my card for pickup. It’s often a nice break to go out in the cooler night air and a chance to see the stars.

In the end, it’s the dailiness of the writing that is appealing and useful. The prospect of finding mail in my mailbox and being part of this circle of folks who are all doing the same thing is energizing and focusing. I love finding cards in my mail and like going back during the month to read them again.

When I sign up and get my group list, I convert it to a spreadsheet which lets me check off the ones I’ve sent. Being someone who would do that, I allow myself to check off the ones I’ve received too. Not because I worry about what I get or don’t – it’s just a Virgo bean-counter sort of thing. I used to scan my cards but now I take a photo front and back to document the final words and the card I used. If someone doesn’t get a card I send them the digital version. The cards I’m planning to send live in a little ziplock bag with stamps and gradually get replaced by cards that have landed in my mailbox.

In the past few years I’ve created a special August 31st card with its own poem. Last year I did a special eclipse edition instead. I share those with some who aren’t on the APPF list too, like my mail folks. I like the notion of this wave of cards going out in many directions all at once.

Yesterday I went through the two shoeboxes of cards and photos and saw I had more stamps stashed than I remembered. I have enough cards to hold me through a few more festivals! That didn’t stop me from placing an order for new postcard backs because I’d need them to use with the photos already printed and those to come. (it said I’d ordered 300 last year…). There’s another box that is just received cards. Future archivists, have a field day!

Another circle

round the sun yes indeed. There and back again.

Finally today the internet guy came and fixed my pitiful internet connection. And then he called my cell phone from my home phone number – probably from the outside box… ah the wizardry of internet phone guys.

So here’s to another year.

Tonight Mom and I had dinner:

Also the world needs more serene cat photos:

An unexpected bonus of trying to paint the geranium is that it’s still in surprisingly good condition, as are my other two, because frankly I paid more attention to them over the summer. Most of the time that involved dumping out the extra water left by torrential rain but for the hanging one it still involved watering.

I had penciled some thoughts onto my pochade box but need to find a way to make them readible and permanent:

INTENT • CONFIDENCE • RISK • PATIENCE*

(Standard caveat applies here, Persistence>Patience although in watercolor you do need patience to let things dry or dry some before continuing.)

And then I need to get out and paint more. But I did survive another August Postcard Poetry Fest – thirty-one plus poems written and sent out to people all over the USA and world. It’s a fun group.

I became a member of the Berkshire Botanical Garden (formerly the Berkshire Garden Center) so I can drop in to paint over the course of the year. That’s the plan – add more places to paint.

Palette Report – Mijellio Fusion Airtight

In June while I was getting ready for a week-long watercolor class I posted a photo of a “travel” palette I had set up with the colors suggested by the teacher. Several people asked about it and I thought now, having used it awhile since I’d give a few thoughts about it. Here it is right after I loaded it up with paint.

Here’s a closer look from the other day when I was out painting. I wish I had taken a better view but I was interested more in what was going on in the seal area.

This is after I washed it with just some water and a fingernail brush and a couple paper towels. I thought I would be taking out the gasket that you can see but it didn’t seem to want to come out and I didn’t want to dig it out and then not be able to get it back in.

There are a number of brands of this type of palette out there. I got one that is rather generic and this is a popular brand – Mijellio Fusion Airtight/Leakproof Palette. I honestly don’t see any difference between the two palettes (except someone had nicked the removable inner mixing tray out of the generic one, but since I never take it out of the one that has it, I’m not too worried about it) other than the color of the lid.

I do like the size of the wells and the size of the mixing areas and it is fairly light to carry. I set it on top of my pochade box in its travel bag and it rides flat. I started doing this because it wasn’t really dried when the class started and it was very hot and humid that week so it never really dried then either.

I don’t find that paint beads up, but I don’t worry about that anyway. I don’t remove the clear removable tray to use as another mixing area although I’d be tempted to put additional globs of paint on it for an extended palette sometime. Until then it just sits in the lid as my bigger mixing area.

I DO find that some colors – cerulean blue I’m looking at you dude – will not stick to its well. That one in particular but also the orange (also a stickier, less drying paint) and others have at times slid right out of the well into the mixing areas. I use a bit of broken credit card or plastic knife to scrape them back into the well but it’s messy.

This led to the messy edges but in all honesty nothing seems to escape out of the palette so I am grateful for that. Someone had asked if it kept the paint moister and I’d give it a “sort of” – the paints that are stickier by nature stay stickier and I’d say the rest are perhaps marginally easier to re-wet.

So there you have it yet another palette review for the world.

Beware Women With Tools

The other night a state trooper stopped me to tell me I had a brake light out. At the end I asked – ummm which side? And he told me – driver’s side, ma’am. So the next day I went to my favorite NAPA store and got a couple replacement brake lights. I found instructions online for how to do the task and they said:

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a 10mm socket, a 1/4″ drive ratcheting wrench, a plastic automotive panel pry bar and a Torx T25 star bit screwdriver.

So in the DIY spirit and feeling like I’ll be doing this again I picked up these at Home Depot tonight on the way home. Had a little multi-tool thing in the paint supplies to get the tools out of the packaging. I felt good about it. That little thing is handy.

Got home just in time to replace the burnt out one before it was too dark. Will replace the other side another time when it’s daylight. The only tricky bit was taking the electrical plug out – had to look at it to see where the snap part was so I could get it off.

August Already?

That means it’s time for August Postcard Poetry once more. This year I really feel the struggle between words and painting/visual stuff, but will endeavor on. First a quote via Brain Pickings:

The world is violent and mercurial – it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. — Tennessee Williams

Today on Facebook we kept on keeping on but we put some extra effort into posting some funny stuff and we succeeded! Almost felt like the interwebs of days gone by but in these days having some funny stuff (even obligatory cat photos are good) is super important. I explored the web and the non-news-news awhile and just posted interesting and often pretty things. It’s all good.

In that vein, I have been lax in uploading and sharing photos of recent sunsets and clouds seen locally:

First, July 27, 2018:

27 July 2018 Sunset and Clouds//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

on an evening with a lot of still-coming weather.

The next night I went to a local conservation area after work and arrived just in time to take these photos. I then quickly set up my painting gear, put some cobalt blue onto paper to start the sky and promptly got rained on. (The good news – the next day I brushed the pages of the sketchbook with clear water and was able to remove ALL the blue and use those pages for something else!)

28 July 2018 clouds and approaching storm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

And then tonight, wherein I stopped because of a band of huge towering white clouds which had moved far off by then. There were already a few people snapping away at the setting sun but I took a lot of photos of the rest of the clouds too.

4 Aug 2018 clouds//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js