There are artists these days who write derogatory blog articles about the hubris and wrong self perception of other artists as it can allegedly be seen on the internet. The problem is, when the former artists’ blog oozes with hubris and wrong self perception.
Oh, here’s a new picture of a self proclaimed hobby painter, by the way:
It was very hot and humid today here in Northern Germany. Not the conditions you want to go out and about for painting and drawing. So I decided to just go down into the cellar to draw a bit.
I often read that watercolour artists seem to dislike wooden field easles and go for a camera tripod instead. They argue, wooden easles are too heavy, too large or not stable enough. After beeing outdoors recently and feeling my back hurting a bit, I thought, maybe I should switch to a camera tripod, too. So today I went to Saturn and checked some tripods. I went there with the qualm, I might end up with new equipment for my painting hobby, less money in my purse and a job to do (attaching a tripod connector to my hardboard). But then I was quite surprised to see, that the mentioned advantages of tripods don’t seem to be that obvious: The affordable tripods (i.e. about 40 – 50 Euros) are not that much lighter in weight than my Winsor & Newton Dart easel. The tripods were around 1200 gramms or even heavier. When doing some internet research I cam across this product: http://www.inaquarell.de/staffelette.html It weighs 2200 gr. This is quite a lot, actually. My W&N weighs 1530 gramms. My paint box weighs about 500 gr. So I am even lighter with my paint box included. Those tripods which were lighter in weight were much more expensive (about 150 Euros). Also: The tripods don’t seem to be that small. My W&N has a folded length of a bit more than 80 centimetres. The tripods were – if at all – only slightly shorter when folded. The last argument – stability – is another thing. My easel is very stable in the field and I can even hang my water container down from the canvas holder.
Here’s my equipment for plein air painting:
This is how it looks when packed:
And when in use:
Of course, it is a bit to carry. But this is what you have to do as a plein air painter, haven’t you? Or is there somenthing that escaped my notice?
Here’s another one. Same tree seen from the other side. This time with a view into the distance where you can see the Schlei a bit.
Here’s the first showable watercolour I did after a photo taken during my holidays in the Schlei region. We’ve been to the peninsula Schwansen – a narrow swath between Eckerförde and Kappeln, far up in the North of Germany, near the Danish border. The Schlei is an inlet or arm of the baltic sea which reaches far (42 kilometres) into the inland. It’s similar to a fjord but much narrower and has developed differently. So the Schlei itself – which has developed out of melting glacier water – and the landscape around is a product of the last ice age. This gives the landscape a nicely hilly appearance which allows for some views in the distance, a characteristic which makes it perfect for painting. WHile Schwansen is the area to the east of the Schlei, the area west to it is called Angeln. From there, the people of the germanic Angeln tribe emigrated to the British isles way back in the 5th century.
Nowadays the area is mainly characterized by agriculture and tourism. There isn’t much industry to be found. Only small shipyards, a dairy company in Kappeln, things like that. A nice spot where maybe one day – I hope – I return to for some on the spot painting.
The photo for this watercolour was taken near Arnis. With 300 inhabitants the smallest place in Germany with the rights of a city.
After having begun to draw at least a little bit every day I have the feeling to get a bit better. The following incident today, however, took away this feeling again. I was drawing outside in a park in my hometown:
The drawing is, I feel, ok. I remembered that 14 years ago I already sat there and drew this view. So I browsed through an old sketch book and found the drawing:
I think the drawings are on quite the same skill level. Which is not too disturbing. Although of course a bit, since there doesn’t seem to be too much improvement. What was worse is that the whole sketchbook contains drawings which are of the same skill level I am at now. So the question is: Do I my skills really improve at all? Or is this process a very slow one? The 2001 drawings stem from a time in which I drew a lot. Have I reached a skill level I once already had and can I go further now? Well, time will show. I hope for the best.