So this post will be a little different but, hopefully, still of interest to most of you. One of the issues that holds me back from painting outside is all the equipment involved. I have streamlined my needed supplies significantly but still require a tripod, pochade box (to hold my palette, brushes, canvas, etc. Typically I have one largish shoulder tote bag and the tripod with a shoulder strap, and a wet painting carrier. In all honesty, setting up my stuff makes me feel moderately conspicuous, especially in public areas. I enjoy painting so much, but not becoming an attraction or nuisance (yes, that happened🙄). So I've been searching out a more low-key approach: a cigar box! With a small, all-inclusive box I could paint almost anywhere with minimal supplies and no tripod.
Step 1 was to locate all the YouTube videos and blog posts on how other artists tackled the upscaling of a cigar box and decide on what I needed my design to be. With the nice depth, I knew I could get at least 2 layers of storage, so the MacGyvering began with removing the flimsy hinges from the back and separating the lid and box.
Paint tubes and brushes fit nicely in their compartments. Moving on to (step 3) the new torque hinges, which allow for the lid to stay in position while painting. I had to make a trip to Ace Hardware to get short screws that didn't go all the way through the box interior. Yes, I was a little nervous about doing this step, but it worked out fine.
Step 4: Now to the lid...it has a 3/4" depth, perfect for small panels. It took me a couple of days to decide how I wanted to hold the panels in place and came up with two clip ideas: the first clips are metal 1/8" offset clips, attached with the tiniest screws I could find so they didn't perforate the outside of the lid. They're installed with a tiny washer so they swivel to hold a 6x6 panel in place. The second clips are the clear 3M Command clips, trimmed to hold a 4x6 panel but not get in the way when working on a 6x6 panel. I mistakenly put them at the top first, but taking them off would tear up the cool decal, so I left them and put 2 more at the bottom.
This is what the lid looks like with a 6x6 panel in place. The torque hinges allow for moderate brushstroke pressure, as well as being unaffected by wind or gravity. I glued 1/8" craft wood pieces above and below to make it easier to paint the panel edges. Several sizes of small panels will fit inside this box lid: 4x6, 5x5. 5x7, 6x6, etc.
Step 5: To create the shelves, cut 2 rectangles of plexiglass to fit inside the box dimensions. Home Depot and Lowes both carry small sheets of plexiglass and it's relatively easy to cut with a sharp box cutter and ruler. 30 or so strokes with the blade and the sheet will snap apart with pressure. I painted the underside of each shelf with a mid-value gray acrylic paint and got a little fancy by adhering a value guide to one of the shelves. Cutting off a corner makes lifting them out much easier.
The lowest shelf is intended to hold the supplies below it in place during transport and also hold a small, wet painting in place using an extra big rubber band. I glued spacers (these are paint tube caps) in all 4 corners for the top shelf to rest on without touching the wet painting. The top shelf becomes the palette for my paint colors. The smooth surface is great for laying out and mixing the oil paint.
Step 6: The box definitely needed a better, stronger latch and a lightweight but sturdy handle. Found these at a hobby store. Not sure which way to attach it ... I think I put the latch on upside down. haha! Again, I needed very short screws to prevent them from going all the way through to the interior. I had to saw off the integral screws that came on the handle and using a nut on the inside of the box to hold them in place, making sure it didn't interfere with the level of shelf supports. A little tricky.
Step 7: Add-ons
I did a trial run in my backyard and quickly learned that I needed some extras to manage the brushes and solvent: so side-wings were created out of some pvc L trim we had in the garage. Holes were drilled, L-brackets attached, a wire hoop to hold a tiny cup for turp was added. The metal L-bracket slides over the box edges and is held loosely in place by gravity and the plexiglass shelf.
Step 8: Knowing there may be times I'll want to use a larger panel than will fit inside the box lid, I worked out an accessory unit from a light-weight wooden lid I had on hand. Measuring 11x7.5", it could hold panels up to 9x12 using a large 7" rubber band fixing it to the cigar box lid and another band (or clips) to hold the panel on. The extra weight with the larger panel does make the box more difficult to manage.
This was a surprisingly fun project to do, requiring lots of mental planning and measuring and problem solving. Having a small pochade means limiting my color palette, cutting off the ends of paint brushes to fit, finding tiny containers for turp and medium, but it also opens up so many more opportunities to do plein air sketches, to paint on vacations, to be spontaneous. With this box, I can carry at least 2 wet paintings, paint at least 8 different size panels. have at least 6 paint tubes, 4 brushes, plus some other stuff. I'm looking forward to some happy painting!
Thanks for reading my blog!!
Getting ready for the Art Exhibit in beautiful Anacortes, Washington and you are all invited! I will be there on opening night and would be delighted to see my PNW friends. If you can’t make the opening, the show goes through late August. I am very grateful for my bluebird painting to be included in this year’s Little Gems exhibition ❤️
It is HOT here in the South...but I love it! It took me a couple of years to adapt and definitely the swimming pool makes a huge difference. The sights, smells, and sounds of the southern summer have become a part of my soul; lots of flowers, thick tree canopy, songbirds and cicadas, fireflies and dragonflies, urban wildlife (our local deer herd with this year's fawns who nap behind out fence), torrential summer downpours and random thunderstorms, all of it make me feel blessed and happy.
It's a little more challenging to paint outdoors in this heat as summer deepens, so most of my painting hours are spent in my studio, either doing still life, quick paints, or larger versions of earlier small studies. I've been consistently painting smaller (8x10 or less) and faster, looser, and with thicker paint. It's been a freeing change for me and I've been liking the results.
You can find many of these small paintings on my DailyPaintworks gallery, where they are available to purchase for a very reasonable price. Most of those listings are of birds, but I will begin to include a variety of subjects in the next few months.
I am very happy to announce that my painting, "Heart Full of Hope" has been juried into the Plein Air Washington Artists (PAWA) "Little Gems" art exhibit and sale to be held in Anacortes, Washington at the Scott Milo Gallery August 5-27!!! We moved from that beautiful region almost 20 years ago and are blessed to return yearly, or more, to a lovely community of friends and family. It is quite a thrill to be a part of PAWA and humbling to be included in this beautiful art show! And even better, I will be there in person, probably making all my PNW friends come with me to the show!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! Comments are welcome and rejoiced over, so please feel free to leave one 🥰
I may have contracted "writers' block"...or is it "writers' blog block"?? Either way, my monthly blog fell by the wayside. I'm going to attribute it to my husband's retirement... whatever. The good news is I am still painting regularly and have work to show for it. If you are on my Instagram or Facebook pages, you may have seen what I've been doing; lots of small quick paintings with a limited palette. This is one of the painting exercises we are taught to do daily, if possible. Most are pretty basic "studies" and nothing to write home about. Keep up the habit and skills will improve, with good drawing, composition, values, and colors. I'm learning to free myself from expectations and finding a new flow, with the aim of expressing my unique voice amidst the myriad of painters out there.
BIG NEWS!! I have second website (in addition to wendyervin.com) specifically for the small paintings that I love to do. I'll be adding paintings to that gallery page often and the prices will not be over $150, with most being under $100. The PayPal link will be right there for easy purchasing, safe and secure. I'm going to be bold here and say that you need original art in your home. It doesn't have to be big or expensive, and I'm doing my part to make it affordable. Here's the link to my DailyPaintworks Gallery:
You don't need to join DailyPaintworks to make a purchase, but you must have a PayPal account. If you don't do PayPal, just contact me and we'll work it out. Here are a few of the paintings available:
As always, thank you for reading my blog! Your thoughts and words are so important to me!!
Winter has taken over Middle Tennessee and between the snow, cold temps, and ongoing pandemic, we have pretty much been hibernating indoors. That's given me some very decent painting hours and cheery results:
Three little 5x7 paintings of our oldest grandson, age 7, enjoying his favorite summer sport and blowing us away at his skills! I'm giving these to him for his birthday this weekend. My favorite part about figurative paintings is capturing the cast shadows; a bright, sunny day and white uniform pants really helped me out.
Shifting to a less animated, but still adorable, figurative subject: this cheerful piece I painted from a photo reference I took in Mexico a couple of years ago. I worked on a smaller earlier version which helped me immensely to get better drawing skills so the VW wouldn't look wonky. This 12x16 did go through a couple of wonky stages, but I learned a little trick that helps me see problems as they arise. Taking a photo of the painting and flipping it horizontally allows me to see it in a fresh way, because the human eye and mind get so used to the painting that it just doesn't see the odd mistakes. Here is "Hot Little Cool Bug" 12x16 oil on panel:
Unfortunately, my painting hours have recently been curtailed by a gimpy arm :( The sore right shoulder that I've been nursing along the past few months turned out to be more messed up than expected and I had to have surgery on it last week. So this is my fate for a few weeks...and I don't think painting left-handed is a good idea🥴
Thank you for reading my blog and Happy New Year!
After our daughter's wedding I was ready to jump back into creating art and participating in a couple of seasonal shows. Much to my surprise, I have art in FOUR shows now and starting soon! It helps that many art shows have moved to an online presence, making this kind of situation possible. You can see what art shows I'm in HERE and HERE and HERE.
This is a small sample of art in the various shows. You can go through the links to purchase or contact me if you have any questions. Original art is an excellent gift for Christmas!
As always, thanks for reading my blog! I wish you all blessed holidays!
Yes, another art show for your viewing and shopping pleasure! This fine arts show is the only fundraiser held by Peninsula, a mental health care provider for Eastern Tennessee. I have participated in person in past years, but because of the several hour distance from where I live, I am able happily joining the event digitally.
Here is the link to my live gallery: https://artsclamation.mybigcommerce.com/wendy-ervin/
The virtual artists are limited to 10 items; purchases will be shipped FedEx from the artist's location. Several of my paintings are framed, some are unframed panels or on 2" gallery wrap canvas, which do not require framing.
Thanks for viewing and stay tuned...more art show announcements coming up. Happy creating!
We love our natural areas! Especially when they are in the middle of urban cities; mini oases of serenity and beauty. One great way to preserve and protect them is to support the mission of those serving to sustain these precious lands. You can join the effort through purchasing art created and inspired by the Nashville treasure that is Radnor Lake State Park. The Chestnut Group Plein Air Painters for the Land have partnered with Friends of Radnor Lake to hold a stunning benefit Art Show & Sale this weekend, November 5-7, 9:30-5:30, at Walter Criley Visitor Center at Radnor Lake (1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville) A significant portion of all art sales go directly to the preservation projects for this natural area.
This is a win-win-win for all: Radnor Lake area receives much needed support, artists delightfully sell original paintings, and YOU get a beautiful new painting for your enjoyment. What could be better?
In the last few weeks I have discovered the one thing that is able to eclipse my passion for painting (and, by default, my enjoyment of sharing thoughts in this blog) and that one thing is my only daughter's wedding! The Covid 19 pandemic compelled us, for the safety of our beloved family and friends, to postpone for an extra year, but thanks be to God, we were able to have a safe and happy wedding earlier this month! Here are some photos of our delightful day:
Post wedding was a lovely season of rest and time with dear friends, walking the beach and being still and quiet. Now refreshed, I'm painting once again and preparing for three upcoming art shows in the next few weeks. The first one begins in 5 days! Expect another blog very soon!
Thanks for sharing my beautiful wedding joy!
Just over a week ago, communities in Humphreys County, 60 miles west of Nashville, experienced a devastating torrential rain that quickly became a nightmare of flooding and destruction. Heartbreaking stories of damage and loss of lives have left Waverly, Tennessee in desperate need of help.
Several friends immediately began putting together another Art To Aid art auction & sale, similar to a previous effort that raised thousands of dollars for areas damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018. All the paintings have been 100% donated by artists from all parts of the U.S. and all funds raised will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a leader in this area for responding quickly to urgent needs. Our hope and aim is to use our art to make a tangible difference in the lives of the flood survivors.
Visit 32auctions-Tennessee Flood Relief here The auction will only last for ONE WEEK so don't delay. Here is a shortcut to view all the paintings available, listed alphabetically by title. You can also make a monetary donation if you prefer. Together we truly will make a difference! #TNStrong #ArtMatters #GiveGenerously
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...