A right dreich day in the West of Scotland until quite late in the afternoon when the sun struggled out. So confined to baracks today it gave me some time to organise my output for 2008 up to date, creating a database and logging in paintings, giving them titles and noting their dimensions etc. Threfore not much creativity going on (unless you count that letter to the Inland revenue) - probably a bit wabbit from yesterday's exploits - it was, after all a four mile walk round Chatelheraut Country Park. I thought rather than not post anything, and still on the theme of working "en plein air" I would reveal the contents of my travelling kit to show how little I actually carry with me, especially when painting with pastels: Travelling Kit Laid Bare: On the left is my new super-duper, turbo-charged lightweight sketching easel all neatly encased in it's natty waterproof carry bag (light as a feather!); the green mat is a sheet of waterproof foam-back for sitting on so the bugs don't get too intimate when I'm sitting down which I do from time-to-time especially when I take a sandwich break (sandwiches not shown since they were all consumed yesterday); on top of that sheet are from top left: small cardboard viewfinder; A4 Ingres paper pad on which is my box of pastels; pencil case with variety of drawing implements; small compass in case I get lost which is not often but as an erstwhile Boy Scout you need to "Be Prepared"; a small film case to keep an eraser clean; below that, a whistle to attract attention when I fall down some gully and need help!; a pen-knife for skinning rabbits for food if I get lost for a long time, or fighting off snakes; a lighter to start a fire to ward off wild beasts (Scotland can be a dangerous place, as can Italy, but that's another story!); a corkscrew because you never know when you will be invited to share a bottle with a passing traveller and he/she doesn't have one and you would both go thirsty; a small tripod so I can take great shots of myself with my camera; some business cards in a little plastic case ready for passing out to various dog-walkers and nosey-parkers who want to see what I'm doing unaware there is a cost involved. ie; commisioning that portrait of their dog/missus when they hadn't even thought of it yet; a length of string long enough to tie up my trousers if my belt ever fails; a leg of a pair of stretchy tights for all other emergencies; and a part roll of draughting tape for taping a sheet of paper to the drawing panel. On the right is my waterproof portfolio/carry case to hold that thin plywood drawing panel, sheets of Ingres paper; and cartridge paper. The small notebook is for those rare moments I am transported in a poetic sense and need to jot down my musings. At the back is my Wild Rover rucksac wich carries all the stuff on the green mat AND my sandwiches. The cat is just being a pest as usual and isn't normally included in the kit even though he is a kitty! I could make this even lighter if I tried but would'nt go out without each of these items. The only addition I normally take not shown here is a small bottle of water which I dispensed with yesterday only to regret it half-way into my trek around the park. This pastel that follows was carried out last week at another of my favourite Country Parks - the Calderglen just on the edge of my hometown, East Kilbride:
Pastels on paper, 15x20cm: "Pinewoods": Tall, dark, pines creating a screen to the colourful fields and river beyond.
Lastly, the one thing I forgot to mention on yesterday's blog was the passing thought as I stood there deep in those woodlands fully engaged in painting with birds calling and a river beside me was: "This is why I gave up full-time working and this is what I want to do with my life!"
I came home a very happy man.