The car studioPosted: September 24, 2016
How do I paint from my car? What does my setup look like? I’ve been promising this post for a long time and I finally found a photographer willing to take some quick photos of me sketching (well, fake sketching in my driveway). Several things to note before you read the post in its entirety: the car is not always this clean and my palette is not always this dirty. But this is a good week because the car was just washed. As for the palette, a cleaning is a bit overdue, as you will see.
I am sometimes asked if I sit in the driver’s or the passenger’s seat. Well, as you can see, it’s the former, for two reasons. One is that I use the steering wheel as a support for my sketchbook. Secondly, I am right handed and that gives me easy access to the palette and water container.
So where does the palette go? I have a good setup for that. I take my brushes out of their sturdy holder, and that flat container goes under the palette on the passenger seat. This keeps the palette flat so the water doesn’t flow into the pigment wells, and prevents it from sliding down the sloped seat too.
As for the water and brushes, they sit conveniently side by side in the car’s cup holders where I can reach them easily. Some might ask if this makes for a messy car. Well, despite the dirty palette, I am actually quite a neat painter, so there’s not too much watercolour in the car. There are sometimes water splashes but those are easy to wipe up. (What you will find though, is remnants of my lunch since I often paint on my way to and from school.)
So what’s different in the winter? 1: The clothing. This car painting setup seems pretty easy to do in late September when the weather is warm but imagine doing this in the middle in the winter with a puffy jacket on? It becomes a little more difficult but not impossible, though I often end up with paint on my jacket sleeves. 2. The temperature of the car. I warm it up before I get in, and by the time I reach my sketching location it’s pretty toasty so I can paint for some time without getting cold. Of course I turn off the engine while I sketch, but turn it on periodically to warm up my feet and use the car heater/fan to dry the washes.
There are some days that I can’t paint in the car, but those are infrequent. When the thermometer goes too low (-20C), the washes crystallize on the palette even in a preheated car, and then I have to paint indoors. And on days when it’s raining so hard I can’t see out the front window, I find a nice café and sketch from there. (Let’s agree not to talk about the time when I painted from the car with the wipers on and drained the battery.)
So that’s my setup. Nothing complicated, really. If you any questions about this, I’d love to hear.