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Painting with a Paper Towel?

September 3, 2018
Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencil used dry in the figure. I wet the background with paper towel as I didn’t have any brushes with me! I drew the hands one way, and then when I went to detail them he’d shifted and since I’d changed his body posture it made sense to change the hands, but it’s starting to be a bit confused and they look large—though that’s because everything else on him is really shrinking.

If you don’t remember to restock your regular day pack with all the tools you put in your Minnesota State Fair fanny pack, you’ll have to manage with what you have left.

Saturday when I visited my father-in-law with Dick I didn’t realize I had practically nothing in my pack! My last Fair day was Thursday. And while I’d clean my boots immediately I hand moved my water brushes and palette and pens into my regular fanny pack.

While Dick and his dad talked I went about the room putting the clean clothes from the laundry basket away, and organizing. I clean his classes and put them back on his face every time he visits. He jokes that I’ve taken the lenses out they are so clean.

Then I sat down on the bed facing them and thought—”They are in the middle of one of those ‘what it’s like to work like an engineer when managers don’t understand development’ talks, laughing up a storm. I have plenty of time to sketch.”

I reached into my back to pull out a pen, water brush, and palette of pan watercolors.

I had NONE of those things. DUH. All my favorite pens and my palette, and even my small emergency palette (in case I forgot the big one at home and needed something at the Fair) were all still in my Fair fanny pack.

I pulled out a purple/black ink pen but it was too strident on the previous page. I went back into my pack and pulled out the Indigo Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencil. It was dull. There was no sharpener. (You got it, it was in the other pack as well with my raspberry color pencil I’d taken to the Fair!) But it’s a nice dark value and I love to sketch dry with these pencils.

When I finished I longed for a water brush to put in a background to make CR’s totally white hair stand out. I scribbled in some color and went into the bathroom for a paper towel. I wet a corner of the paper towel and smeared it over the background. I went back into to the sketch on one side to darken the background a bit. A great use for a paper towel! (Though I would prefer a brush.)

Dick loved the sketch—he thinks the gestural aspect of it is so like his father.

CR loved it. Then in 30 seconds forgot it and asked me why I was thanking him for modeling. Then he liked it again at a second viewing, and then promptly forgot it again. He’s living totally in the present moment these days with no new data going into the brain. The good news is that every time I show him the sketch he laughs and likes it.

Don’t miss an opportunity to sketch because you’ve forgotten your favorite tools. But also—remember to put your tools back in your pack before you go out!

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    • Paul
    • September 3, 2018
    Reply

    Love the story and sketch here Roz. Thanks for the reminder that the best tools for sketching are the ones at hand!!!

    1. Reply

      Thanks Paul.

    • Corinne McNamara
    • September 3, 2018
    Reply

    I love the improvisation! I learned to mix colors because I couldn’t afford more than three tubes of watercolors. I once knit with sharpened chopsticks when real knitting needles weren’t allowed.

    1. Reply

      A great way to learn color theory Corinne!!! And chopsticks are a great improvisation in knitting! Keeping flexible is what it’s all about.

    • Jeannie
    • September 3, 2018
    Reply

    Thanks, Roz, for the story and technique (he still resembles Dick an awful lot…). How do you carry your individual colored pencils? Do you try to protect the tip from both coloring the inside of your bag and from getting the tip broken?

    1. Reply

      Thanks Jeannie. I use pencil caps. You can find a wide variety at Jet Pens https://www.jetpens.com/search?q=pencil+caps&v=2 should take you to my search results of “pencil caps” or just go to their site and enter those words and you’ll get a bunch of options. I’ve used several types, none seems better than another.

  1. Reply

    Inspiring story of improvising, Roz, and the sketch turned out great!

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much Serena for stopping by to read and comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

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