Tuesday, January 5, 2016

73 Works (And Counting)

oil sketch of the "other bend" at the Big Bend shuttle stop (in Zion NP 
you can look at one breathtaking view -- then turn to each of the other 
compass quadrants to discover 3 more), 12"x9", Gamblin oils on Gessobord 

Since returning home from my Zion-SoCal adventure there have been any number of important priority items vying for my attention -- friends and family to catch up with (after missing Thanksgiving with my family, being home for Christmas was doubly special this year), a veggie garden in serious need of attention (the carrots, kale, and chives are thriving), my studio to put in order, and the last of the local fall color to capture. (Fall color comes late to north Texas.)

day or night (well, at least on the nights with a full moon) there was 
always something to catch the eye, comp sketches, graphite on paper

But, as the trees shed their leaves and the local landscape finally takes on its drab winter mantle, I'm also slipping into my "winter studio production mode" -- catching up on the backlog of works that need to be digitized, and producing new works from the sketches and color studies brought back from my month-long sojourn in Mukuntuweap. (I have until mid-May to deliver my finished and framed donation artwork for the Zion NP permanent collection and I want the selection committee to have a large group of works to choose from.) 

Angels Landing & the Organ in Morning Shadow, 
color sketch, 6"x8", Gamblin oils on Gessobord

Thus far I've posted 73 works to the new Zion NP gallery on my website -- 68 works on paper and 5 oil panels. I have a few more sketches and watercolors (and maybe a video or two) to add to the works on paper group over the next week or so. But, generally speaking, my focus can turn to the oil panels. (Of course, should we get snow this year, my day bag is always packed and ready -- but that would only be a brief day-break from the studio -- and snow in north Texas is always a big "if.") 

So, I hope you'll stay tuned. (And, please, drop me a line from time to time and let me know what you think of the new work.)

New Tools --

You may recall that part way through my residency my pocket-sized Rhodia sketchbooks (the ones with the gridded paper) became a little unwieldy. (Specifically, the binding works best if pages are removed as they are completed. But, since I prefer to leave them bound, the sketchbooks became very thick as the pages were folded back -- necessitating the use of a thick rubber band to keep things in order.) 

the No. 18 Rhodia (A4/8.3"c11.7") pad offers ample room for comp sketches of all sizes and shapes, and the 
slip cover (with tits stitched edge and embossed logo) provide both elegance and added protection in the field 

Fortunately, partway in to my residency the folks at Rhodia offered a near-perfect solution -- a day bag-sized pad with its own embossed cover (which adds both style and excellent protection while working in the field.)

in addition to being non-toxic Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel is amazingly light weight 
(very important if you're "packing it in/packing it out") and has a very mild scent

When I had to change my travel plans (flying from Utah to SoCal) I had to abandon my mineral spirits and stainless steel brush washer (both of which were added to the Grotto House's art cache for next year's residents.) Now I've added a backpack-sized brush washer to my kit, replaced the mineral spirits, and (for those times when traveling with flammable and/or hazardous materials is not an option) added Gamblin's Solvent-Free Gel to my paints box.

the adjustable Smart Lamp is daylight balanced with 3 brightness settings and is powered 
by a rechargeable battery, USB cable, or AC power plug (all included) -- it's also very 
lightweight and, when folded, is shorter than a standard size paint brush

And, for those times when Mother Nature provides less than ideal lighting (and for all future residencies) I've added a portable Smart Lamp R10 from Naturalight. It's compact, daylight balanced, operates off either rechargeable battery or AC, LEDs mean hours of continuous use between recharges, and (best of all) it's modestly priced. While the Smart Lamp is designed as a tabletop lamp, its compact size and light weight make it quite functional (when paired with a camper's LED headlamp) as a handheld supplemental light source (say, for those times when you want to do a plein air nocturnal under a full moon.)     

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