On the easel

elizabeth whelan work in progressWell, this isn't exactly 'on the easel' yet! However I wanted to share with you this start of a new series, titled, 'Journey'.

I have been taking a lot of train trips this past year from Boston down to DC and back. Depending on the time of day, the atmosphere can be very unworldly. Seen at rapid speed from an Amtrak train window, the raking early or late day light can create a sense of isolation and stillness in what is probably a busy scene during business hours.

I like to start of most of my paintings with some kind of small sketch; first the 'notan', which is the small high-contrast sketch in the upper left-hand corner; then a larger version, where I can map out a little more of what I want the scene to include.

This is a perfect time to move elements around, take things out or change them. Here I can edit the scene to reflect the mood I wish to paint.

Studio accessories

Some of my favorite studio accessories:

  • Mahl stick to keep fingers out of wet paint
  • Long metal rulers
  • Rectangular palettes big and small
  • Table-top paper towel holder
  • Rags from old flannel shirts
  • String to tie canvas to easel (accidents happen!)
  • Coated wire and D-rings to hang painting
  • Easel that can move vertically and horizontally
  • Multi-purpose utility tool to open tubes
  • Putty scraper for clearing palette
  • Paint tube roller to squeeze out paint
  • White charcoal pencil for marking corrections
  • Audiobook or streaming music
  • Pot of strong coffee or tea
  • A cat sleeping in the sunbeam (I am sure a dog would work just as well!)