100 feet of Bubble Wrap

I’m looking at 100 feet of bubble wrap, 40 primed canvas, a towering stack of cardboard boxes, and a receipt from Uhaul.

If you drive Southeast of Vegas for about 4 hours on US 93 a miraculous thing happens. The shaggy limbs of the Joshua tree cactus transform to the statuesque arms of the Saguaro, then you know you’ve left the Mojave desert and entered the Sonoran. I want to paint that.

Mohave Desert of Southern Nevada
Mohave Desert of Southern Nevada
Sonoran Desert of Arizona
Sonoran Desert of Arizona

 

We’re moving….temporarily…..for six months……to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Why Scottsdale?  It’s a great central location to take day trips to other interesting cities like Sedona, Tucson and Tubac, where art galleries abound.

Sedona, Tubac, Tucson
Sedona, Tubac, Tucson

Scottsdale itself has Historic Old Town with it’s vintage, western  feel. The heart of this area is Main St., where Every Thursday night  galleries open their doors for the Art walk.  Musicians play on the sidewalk as galleries  showcase new works by nationally known artists.

Did I mention the landscape? Plein air painting, hiking and biking.

The Phoenix Art Museum.

The Scottsdale Artists School, one of a handful of school in the US where nationally known artists teach intensive week-long workshops.

Scottsdale Artists School
Scottsdale Artists School

Packing up 20 years worth of stuff from a five bedroom house to live for 6 months in a two bedroom unfurnished apartment has been interesting, but our house will not be empty as friends and relatives are taking advantage of our absence to have their own Las Vegas getaways.

I’m very excited at all the possibilities and will be blogging along the way about the experiences  and discoveries we find in our new Arizona home.

 

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Welcome the Unexpected

Spending weeks gathering inspirations before a photo shoot is a regular part of my process.

For this particular session I came across an image on a site about french farmhouse design that inspired me. The soft vertical lines of the girl’s apron as they descended downward toward the rounded shapes of yarn was intriguing.

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I considered the possibilities of this scene – eggs could replace the yarn…hmmm. After purchasing a dozen brown eggs the next step was to boil them, it wouldn’t be fun if they cracked while we were trying to get the picture.

The day of the shoot my model, Harley, looked wonderfully earthy in her dress and linen apron. Then the eggs……eggs weight a lot more than yarn. Gravity was not our friend as we angled and lifted, but it wasn’t working. Forget the eggs.

Next the wind, didn’t plan on that, what’s next…..? Holding the apron from flying in her face, we were both laughing by now, and….snap….that’s the painting, didn’t expect it, but thank you nature for the unexpected!

Swept Away by Diane Eugster
Swept Away by Diane Eugster

 

The Portable Artist

During this last year I have found new opportunities to paint outside of the studio. Working outdoors or in classroom/open studio situations, can be an exciting way to supercharge your motivation. I’ve needed to think faster, with limited time, quick decisions need to be made in order to get it done.

Another part of being a “portable artist” is traveling light. It’s great when I can spread out in the studio, brushes in this drawer and that container, canvases leaning, stacked and on easels, but a condensed version of what’s needed had to be trimmed down.

One awkward situation is having one or more wet paintings to carry out, put in the car and get back to the studio without damage to the surface. On more than one occasion I’ve finished a 3 hour painting session outside only to drop my painting, face first, yes, into the dirt.

Wet panel carrier by John
Wet panel carrier by John

Several years ago John made a wet panel carrier for traveling on trips, for instance on an airplane.

This works great but what I was currently looking was something light weight, easy to carry that holds panels or stretched canvas in various sizes.

John came up with this great design which holds two canvases (up to 16″ x 20″) or a panel and canvas of different sizes or multiple panels. He has chronicled the building process at WoodworksbyJohn.com

John's new canvas/panel carrier
John’s new canvas/panel carrier

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John is going to reproduce several carriers. I’d like opinions on what you think would be a reasonable price point?