Thursday, March 22, 2012

Art on a Plane

As I am someone who has a hard time sitting still for any length of time, when I travel on a plane, I get restless.  Three hours on a plane without the ability to move around, explore and be free?  I know, it is only a short amount of time, but when you add up the hours spent traveling to the airport, waiting in line for security and then waiting at the gate for your flight to be called, it amounts to far longer than just flight time.  As I sit at the gate, I people watch. I see most people chatting on their phones.  (And while I can understand their feelings of frustration at being trapped, I can't tell you how I DON"T WANT TO HEAR their personal calls -- or their professional ones for that matter.)
As I wait at the gate, I will read a book or magazine, but once I board the plane and we finish take off, I take out my art journal and get to work.  Sometimes, I do other art stuff, but I try to look at this like 3 hours of uninterrupted art time.
Here is my latest watercolor art journal that I used on my last flight.
 I start out sketching the image that I want onto the thick watercolor paper and then I take out my watercolor paints.  I use an old watercolor set made for children that have fingerprint size indentations that used to hold dried watercolors that you energize with water.  I save the empty containers and squirt some artist quality watercolors from a tube into the indentations before I travel.  I let them dry the day before I fly and then I pack up the kit.  I use water from a water bottle (or Ashley's water bottle) and start to play.
 I paint the images after I finish sketching them out.  Sometimes, I outline them first with a permanent waterproof black marker and other times, I outline them after the watercolor is dry.
 When the image is dry, usually the next day, I will go over the image with color pencils or white markers to add highlights or to add shadows.
 When I paint the watercolor, I let it sit for just a few moments until the wetness has absorbed into the paper and I place a piece of wax paper over the damp image.  Then I go to work on another sketch and start the procedure over again.
I can usually get 3 images done on a three hour flight. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
 On the last two flights, the passenger next to me commented on my artwork.
 It makes for interesting conversation and sometimes brings up memories of past artwork or images.

But for the the most part, it helps me take my mind off being confined and allows me to be focused and busy for the flight.

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