Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tinkering in the Studio

If you have followed me much here, you might notice I seem to tinker with artist gear more than painting! I like tinkering and building things. Recently I was, again, attempting to learn how to use gouache (opaque watercolor) paint. It seemed like the gear should have been simpler, but it wasn't, so I played around to make it more user friendly.

Although I have built many different setups from wood, I didn't feel like reinventing the wheel this time. I have an older EasyL brand painting box that I love. It's been all over the world with me. They don't make this model anymore.

But newer shiny painting boxes have come on the market over the years since I bought this little box. I've bought and sold numerous brands and models for different reasons or mediums. I think I own about 10 different models right now. They all have their uses, but this little one sat on the shelf. So I decided to make it work for an exclusive gouache painting box. I work very small with gouache because of the fast drying time making it difficult to paint larger than 6x8 (in my opinion!).

The gouache I was using is the Caran d'Ache pan set which is contained in a nice metal box, but that makes it heavy. The little pans of each color pop out easy enough so I found an empty metal watercolor box that they all fit into. Perfect fit!!

To make it convenient when painting, I needed to organize the inside the wooden box. I took a piece of HDPE 1/8" plastic sheet and cut it to size. This material is a hard plastic which I use in several of my other painting boxes as the palette where I mix paint. It can be cut with a utility knife and holes can be drilled with a cordless drill. The micro magnets are powerful little things that many artists use to keep things steady on their gear. Because the plastic is a tiny bit flexible, the magnets popped into the holes I drilled and stayed fine without glue. They are the little rounds things shown in the plastic below.
I am left handed, so I arranged the locations of the magnets in a way that worked best for me. They hold onto the metal box with the pan paints, a metal tray for water to clean brush (top left), and a tiny jar to hold clean water (to use to dip the end of the brush to help the paint flow). I added a little magnetic clip to the metal tray which holds a folded paper towel that will be wet (to place any tube paint to keep it from drying too fast). The setup works well on its own on a tabletop. The extra open white area of the HDPE will serve as an additional paint mixing area.
Once popped into the box, it makes a neat little package! The sketchbook or paper fits nicely in the upper area. The wood box has an additional side wing that attaches to the left side of the box with space to lay my brushes and tubes of paint. The box is fitted on the bottom with a tripod nut and will be attached to my travel tripod when I am painting standing outside.
My small gouache painting with credit to Jim Glover for use of his photo reference
Seems like a pretty good setup! Now I need to get better with these paints!! ;-)


Sherry said...

You are so creative and organized.

Yorky said...

That's a really neat idea. It never occurred to me to pop out the C/D pans and put them in a more suitable box.