Entries in day of the dead (4)


Super Mini Travel Painting Kit

When I am traveling, it is nice to take along a little mini travel kit with me to both practice doing quick mini paintings, and have a sort of little travel journal through images.  Depending on the trip, my painting travel kit changes size.  In this blog post, I am going to go over my smallest kit I have put together that I took on my recent trip to Peru and Mexico.  

I planned this trip over six months in advance, but have been wanting to do it for well over ten years.  Ever since I knew that Machu Picchu was a thing, I have wanted to go there.  It seemed like such a beautiful mystical place perched on top of a mountain.  Discovering that you could actually bus up to it, sort of ruined the magic of it a little bit.  Luckily, I found that you could also take a four day hiking tour along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.  If you have ever wanted to go to Machu Picchu, I 100% highly recommend doing the Inca trail tour.  When you get to that view on the final day, you really feel like you earned it.  As well, hiking along the trail to get there, is just as incredible as the place you are getting to.  It is one of those tough experiences that you do in your life that you will always look back on as one of your best travel memories.  Lacking space and needing to think about weight, I knew that I would want to bring something small and light.  I had to make my travel kit even smaller than it was before, making me create my mini travel art kit.

In my studio, I experiment with a lot of different paints.  But most of my finished pieces end up being in acrylic.  When traveling, hauling along acrylics isn’t really realistic, especially when you have limited room and limited time to do a little painting study.  When I travel, I bring watercolours or sometimes gouache.  These paints are easy to bring along, don’t take up much room, you can do quick and easy study paintings with them and cleanup is pretty easy.  So here is my little mini travel watercolour setup.

Case - Usually for my pens and pencils I use one of my own pencil cases.  Knowing that we were going to be on several flights and changing altitude, plus I had water filled pens in there, to be safe I wanted to have a plastic case.  In case any leaking, it would be contained.  I found this cute My Little Pony bag that worked perfect and was a nice little nostalgic  throwback to me being a kid.  Plus, nothing says “I’m an adult” quite like a My Little Pony pencil case.

Watercolor book - in my medium kit I am currently using a moleskin watercolour book.  For this tiny kit, I needed to find something super small.  I decided to try this Pentalic 3.5x5 inch book.  The pages are super thick so that I can paint on both sides of the page, making the amount of pages I have to paint on, double.  

Watercolor pens - I discovered these watercolour pens just in the last year.  I don’t love the way they paint quite as much as a traditional brush, and in my studio for final art pieces I would use an actual watercolour brush.  But for travelling, these are a lifesaver and actually not too bad!  It takes out having to have a cup with water that you are trying to balance while trying to just get a quick painting in.  The water flows out of them quite nicely, and if you need more water, you just squeeze them.  I have a couple sizes but find I usually mostly just use the medium sized brush.  I can get a lot of coverage with it and also do fine details with the pointed tip.

Watercolor tin- I adore this tin.  You can get these tins with paints, but I got an empty one that I then filled with my QoR watercolour paints.  This way I am able to have my professional grade paints with me on the go.  I can also fill them back up when they are getting low.  One of my favourite parts is that the little trays come out, so I can customize a colour palette depending on where I am going.  The tin also comes with two fold out palette areas, I took one side off since I knew I didn’t need it on.  I can always reattach if I want it back on.


Colour swatch- One thing I like to do, is make a little colour swatch that fits nicely into my watercolour book.  When the paints are in the trays it can be hard to really tell what colour they are and the gradient that they can achieve.  It is a nice thing to be able to whip out to check your colours as you are about to paint.  I made this one specifically for this trip and the colours that I picked to come along with me.

Clamps - I find clamps super helpful.  I bring two different ones with me.  The smaller one is great for holding the pages down, especially if it is windy or the page starts to buckle with water application.  Plus if you have to leave your current location and your painting is still a little damp, these help to keep the pages apart while your painting finishes drying.  The larger clamp that I use is great for clipping my watercolour paint set onto my book so I have one less thing to hold.


Paper towel- Paper towel is always a great thing to have to clean off your brush so you can use another colour.  Especially with the water filled pens.  Since you don’t have a cup to rinse your brush in, you need to squeeze some water out and wipe it on the paper towel.

Salt - If you have never tried this before, dropping salt onto your painting while it is still wet actually creates some cool effects.  I bring along a tiny little container of salt with me in case I want to use it.

Pencil - I found a mechanical pencil best for this trip, I would only have to bring one pencil, and no sharpener.

Pen - My favourite pens to bring are the Faber-Castell pens.  I usually bring a XS and M for sizes.  The pens are waterproof so you can draw overtop of your dry watercolour, or draw with them and paint overtop without worrying about the ink bleeding.  If I ever have a bit of extra room, I also like to bring along a few extra colours too.

Molotow Grafx Masking Fluid - This little masking fluid pen is amazing.  If you have ever used masking fluid, it is great in the studio, but on the road it can be a pain to use.  Having the masking fluid in this pen makes it super easy to apply onto your page and not have to bring along a garbage brush or something to pour the masking fluid onto.  The only thing I wish is if they made a finer point version too.  I paint super small details so it would be nice to get smaller details with the masking fluid.

Gelly Roll by Sakura - I like to bring one of these along to add a few little white highlights in spots that I might have accidentally painted over.  It isn’t as great as having the white of the watercolour paper showing through, but its still a handy little tool.

View catcher- Painting landscape can sometimes be a bit hard to focus on that one area you want to paint, or decide on framing for what you want to paint.  This tool has come in handy for me to be able to look through and see good framing possibilities.  And also if it is a complicated scenery, I can hold it up while I focus on one area and do a quick sketch.  It is adjustable too so you can change the aspect ratio.  The colour is a neutral grey so any colours you are observing won’t be altered by looking through the viewfinder.  It also has a little hole that you can look through if you want to really see the true colour of what you are looking at without having the other colours around that object trick your eyes into what colour it is.  When you really get into painting and perfecting colours, this can be really useful.  Extra bonus, it also works as a mini ruler if needed.

Would you like to see my medium travel kit?  Let me know and I might put together a post with that kit, including my own custom made easel thingy!


100 Paintings in 100 Days - The aftermath

If I could have put a pause on life and painted for 100 days straight, it wouldn't have been too hard of a task. But I guess that is half of the challenge. Try to stay focused while life throws a constant stream of good and bad at you.

Just before starting my cat wasn't feeling well. eight days in to painting we found out he had cancer. It was the saddest thing I have ever had to deal with and at one of the most stressful times in my career. Every day at work trying to concentrate when all I wanted to do was be at home with him. Trying to focus on work while watching him waste away. We tried a lot of different medications to help, but in the end it was too aggressive of a cancer. Day 50 of 100, the halfway point that I thought I would be celebrating, we had to take him in to put him down. He took a fast turn and was in too much pain that he couldn't sleep or walk.  I had to take two days off of painting to recover even though I knew it would put me more behind, there is no way I could work. My first day back at work after that and my aunt passed away. By then I was emotionally empty, the worst week of my life.  I hate that I had so much work to do at this time, but looking back, maybe it was good. It kept me busy and kept me going so I didn't just fall into a big depressing rut and not leave the house. 
Luckily not all of life's curveballs were bad during these 100 days. I was selected as the winner of Nuvango's back cover of hi fructose contest (my favorite art magazine). I had an awesome time at the culture crawl, meeting up with old fans and making new ones while hanging out with my studio mates and getting a few hours break from painting. There were also birthdays, and weddings, Halloween and day of the dead, and visits from friends and family.
The first time I did 100 paintings was difficult trying to balance work and painting, this time balancing life and painting. Luckily I have an amazing support group of friends and family that kept me modivated when I was feeling empty, gave me hugs when things were falling apart, brought me food me when I was painting too many hours to take proper breaks.  This show was possibly because of all of them. 
So the next 100 paintings in 100 days??  ...maybe in another 10 years!



Playstation themes

If you have a Playstation, you can now get my art as a theme from the PS online store. As a collaboration with Disruptive Publishers, my paintings are brought to life with a bit of animation.  Go check them out, there will be even more released soon!


Beautiful decay of life opening

Just a few little snippets of my show last month at the Ayden Gallery.

-I got to meet the cutest little 12 year old fan at my show.  She drew me this little piece of fan art.  Thanks Emily!

-Finally got to see this tattoo in person.  Shannon sent me images when she got it done, but seeing it in person is amazing!  Don't mind my crapy phone picture of it.  

My little curiosity shelf.  A small piece of my personal collection and part of the inspiration for the show.  

For more photos of the work I had up, check it out in the 2012 section.