Mobile Art Rig

Now that I’ve gotten the taste for plein air painting, I’m starting to refine my technique for going on the adventures themselves. The first time I went out, two weekends ago, I had to stuff my entire pochade box into my backpack– it worked, but it wasn’t elegant, and it made biking a bit uncomfortable as the whole thing was knobby.

This past weekend I went out on Saturday, and I got a little smarter about it. I borrowed my roommate’s fancier bike side-bag– one of those lovely clip-on types. The entire pochade box fits in, which means I don’t have to bring a backpack at all– much more pleasant biking!

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This was in Tenny Park in Madison. I hunkered down in the dwindling shade to paint a neat stone bridge. The painting itself wasn’t a particularly amazing result, but every time I go out, I feel like I learn something. And if that’s not fantastic, I don’t know what is.

Do I plan on going back out next weekend? Why yes, yes I do. 🙂

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Art in the (not so very) wild!

Do you know what’s great? The outside. Know what’s even better? Doing art in it.

Plein air painting is new to me, but I’m just behind the curve ball by several hundred (thousand??) years– it’s a well honed and time honored tradition among artists. Take your fancy art box, take your paints, and go sit somewhere for a while. Preferably while putting the paints onto a surface of some sort and calling it a painting at the end of the day.

It’s something tremendously pleasing and exciting… and also something I need to practice a lot more before it becomes a proper skill. Good news: practicing means going outside on adventures and making art!

This past weekend I took my fancy pochade box and my tripod and a set of acrylics and I headed out by bike to the local botanical gardens to plunk down and get some real-life practice in painting. I didn’t take a huge number of pictures, but here’s my basic set up– I already know a few things I’ll tweak next go around.

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And here’s a slightly better (if over-exposed) picture of the painting itself.

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I learned a ton from my first foray, and I’m deeply excited to head out again. I’ve got Sunday of this coming weekend earmarked for my second plein air painting adventure….

Stay tuned!

The Birth of a Dream… (book)

(Forgive the punny title. I couldn’t help myself.)

The Dreambook project is something I’ve had brewing on my (plentiful) artistic back burners for quite awhile now. I’m excited to share that the beginning stages of it are finally coming together!

Back up there, Claire. Dreambook? Say what now?

You heard right! I am the frequent recipient of extremely bizarre, often cinematic, weirdly poetic dreams. They’re not dreams about lost locker combinations, or missed buses. They’re dreams about oceans tides pulling and pushing us towards certain physical destinations, about men lost in alternate universes calling for help through radios, about dragons lurking inside all of us waiting to claw themselves free…

I’ve always known I wanted to do a project based on some of my choicer dreams, but for a long time I wasn’t sure what format. Several dreams I wrote down as short stories. And while they were interesting, they lacked the visual element that is so important to the dreams themselves.

Thus… Dreambook.

Dreambook itself is still a long ways out from being a completed thing (more on THAT later!) But what I’m working on right now is a demo, if you will. A single dream put into one of the several types of formats I would use for the book, to showcase what Dreambook can be. That is what I’m working on right now, and what (soon, hopefully) I’ll be able to share with you!

Want to see my progress so far?

This was my first ever storyboard for the specific dream I’ll be using in the demo (informally called Dragon Scales for the moment):

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But a few images do not a story make. So I began to break out more and more, creating a plan for a 6-8 page comic.

A little more work in trusty Photoshop now leaves me with a rough layout and plan of attack!

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That leaves me with what’s left: both the fun and the hard part… making the above ‘plan’ into a finished piece.

Despite the clean lines and gray scale of the sketches above, that will not be the look of the final product. My current plan is to use loose pencil lines, watercolor, and gouache, to create an otherworldly, mysterious, and somewhat sinister look, similar to my original test.

If you are curious about my progress on this project, make sure to check out my instagram feed – seeclairedraw. I post there 2-3 times per week.

Thanks for reading!

Life Drawing

I recently signed up for a life drawing class. Well, session is more accurate– it’s much more about spending time with your art and learning from drawing a figure than it is about instruction.

I used to go to drop in life drawing sessions back when I lived in Minnesota, but since moving to Madison (nearly four years ago, ouch) I’d fallen entirely out of the habit.

Nothing like a fresh year to correct that. 🙂

This class is put on by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Continuing Education Department, and is one of several art classes they offer.

Here’s some of the results of my last 3 weeks attending. Some are more successful than others… but that’s half the point. How else do you learn? 🙂