Hi Muse Kits friends!
It's already July, summer is truly here, and we have yet another stunning art box for you to dig into that is perfect for the season! What is that medium, you ask? Watercolors but on the go!
We all know the joy of painting with watercolors, especially in situ. However, traveling around with a whole bag of watercoloring paraphernalia can be cumbersome and labor-intensive to set up. However, with this month’s Artist on the Go travel bag, watercolor brush pens, and postcard blocks, all that hassle goes out the window!
With your new portable supplies on hand this month, we want you to create an art challenge for yourself, a way to really put these new supplies to use, get a feel for them, and make something special. Need help figuring out where to start? Don’t worry about it! We are here to guide you with some fun ideas for you to challenge yourself with this month.
Now grab your supplies, and let’s get creating!
Painting In Situ
Before we get into the inspiration, we first want to quickly go over what painting in situ or ‘en plein air’ means and who championed this art form.
Working in situ or ‘en plein air’ are French terms that refer to painting outdoors, usually using your surroundings as your subject. This term was coined by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, but the practice only became popular in the 1830s when paint tubes were invented, making art suddenly much more portable. The spirit of artistic innovation has carried through to today and now comes in the form of this month's trusty watercolor markers!
Artists like Monet used en plein air painting as a way to keep track of the light quality and colors that play over an object at different times. He would choose a simple subject, such as his famous hay bales, and go out to paint them at all times of the day to track the varying colors and moods of each setting. The resultant series shows the beautiful subtlety that light and time can play over a simple subject.
This is the spirit I want to approach these challenges with; how can we take advantage of how easy it is to transport these materials and create something unique to you and your experience as an artist?
4 Ways to Challenge Yourself to Paint On the Go
I’m sure we all are familiar with the comfort of painting at home using a reference picture; it's super cozy and easy to do whenever the mood strikes. But today, we are here to challenge you to escape your safe bubble and try something new. What better way to find subjects than out in nature or in public, surrounded by the bustle of other people, animals, and traffic?
In the box this month, we’ve supplied you with a handy art bag that is perfect to fit your paint brushes, brush pens, silicone water cup, and postcards in without being bulky and cumbersome. The only other item you’ll need to bring is a water bottle to fill up your cup with, but you should have water to keep hydrated anyway. This portable kit means that you can carry it around with you and whip it out whenever you have a moment of inspiration.
You can use the postcards we have provided or select a small watercolor sketchbook that you dedicate to that challenge alone. This will help you create a cohesive and themed sketchbook that will always evoke memories from when and where you completed each piece that you can look back on.
Today we are going to give you four ideas for art challenges that you can try with your new watercolor markers while you’re on the go to take your art to a new level.
Create on Your Commute
Let’s face it; no one likes a commute; it can be so tedious and full of people when you take public transport. Well, why not challenge yourself to create on your bus or train ride to or from work?
You could paint anything from what you’re wearing to other passengers, signs, textures, adverts, and whatever else catches your eye through the windows. What you capture with your watercolors will be totally unique to you and your route so that you can make a time capsule of your time in that area and job. Pop in your headphones, choose some inspirational tunes, and paint whatever crosses your path, no matter how mundane, and you’ll be surprised with what you come up with.
We love journaling, so why not combine your written journaling with some visual journaling when you're on the go and traveling?
Picture this; you take a trip through Europe, painting your way around the cities, monuments, and countryside that you encounter. Each painting is accompanied by a written description of the day, your surroundings, and the emotions the experience evokes in you. By the end of the trip, you will have a gorgeous journal filled with an amalgamation of words and paint that perfectly encapsulate your trip, a memory that you can keep forever. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Now, we don’t want you to put pressure on yourselves and spoil the fun, so we urge you to be loose with this idea. One day you may have the time to sit down and really get stuck into an intricate piece, while other days, you might only be able to bash out a quick sketch, an impression of the moment. Both of those pieces are just as valid as the other; as long as you are creating out in the world, you are completing the challenge.
Sketchbook of Faces
Some of us gravitate to painting people over everything else, while the rest avoid them like the plague. No matter which camp you fall into, creating a sketchbook full of faces is an excellent skill to practice on the go.
As you go about your life and travels, you will be exposed to so many people. Different hair, body shapes, ages, skin tones, genders, facial expressions, and body language are all around you to learn from and help you develop your skills and increase the diversity of your subjects. It can be easy to get stuck painting people that look very similar to us, but by taking your inspiration from the people around you, you can learn so much more about drawing people and the complexities that make each face unique.
You can choose to go with full-body portraits or just the face, but either way, you likely won’t have a long time to study your subjects unless you have a friend or family member sitting for you. This means that you will quickly learn how to prioritize the features and how to get an impression down quickly and accurately.
A quick stroll around your neighborhood can open your eyes to amazing shapes and colors you've never noticed before. Whether you live in the peaceful countryside or the bustling city, study the architecture around you to develop a deeper love for the place you live.
And there you have it, a few simple ways to challenge yourself to get out there and create art out in the world. These watercolor brush markers are the perfect way to paint in a mess-free way while you’re out and about, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with! Good luck with your challenges, and happy painting!