Art Warm-up For Mongolia; An Album Of Studies

Gers north of Bayanhongor, Hangai Mountains, July 2010; watercolor on Annigoni 100% cotton paper

My intention is to do at least one sketch a day this trip. So I wanted to be in a groove before I leave. I also needed to refine my portable art studio. So I spent yesterday working from previous trip photos as if I was at the scene, reliving a little of what it was like to be there and imagining having just enough time during a lunch stop to get out the paint and do a quick study. So none of these took more than about 20 minutes.

The idea is to work fast, get an impression down and move on. Here’s what I’m taking this year:

My portable field studio

The bag is a re-purposed point and shoot camera bag and it’s turned out to be perfect. In the front is a roll of drafting tape, kneaded rubber erasers, extra mechanical pencil leads and a pencil sharpener. Next pocket back is a set of water soluable Derwent colored pencils. In the back are Sakura Micron pens in a variety of sizes and colors, a couple of draughting pencils, a couple of mechanical pencils, a sandpaper pad, blending stumps, a tube of white gouache and a watercolor brush that breaks down to half its length.

The watercolor set is from Yarka. I use napkins, slightly used, from restaurants, for rags. Extra brushes go in the bamboo carrier. Water for painting goes in the collapsible plasticized cloth “bucket”.

Gobi landscape, July 2010: watercolor on vellum bristol; I ultimately decided against taking the bristol paper in favor of more watercolor paper

The support is a piece of lightweight foamcore. The drafting tape, which is lightly adhesive, doesn’t pull up the paper surface.

For paper I’ll have my Moleskin sketchbook journal and a stack of 7×7″ watercolor paper cut down from a pad that I got many years ago in England, brand unknown, and, so that I can work on a toned surface (inspired by Thomas Moran’s location studies of Yellowstone that he did while traveling with the Hayden Expedition) a pad of Anigoni 100% cotton toned paper, which happily takes a variety of media.

Here’s some more of my favorites from yesterday, all done from photos that I took on previous trips to Mongolia:

Gull, Orog Nuur, Gobi, July 2010; trying out the watercolor paper; I haven’t done any watercolor work at all for a long time, so needed to figure it out again.
Gobi, July 2010; did this one in both watercolor, shown here, and the vellum bristol to see which I liked better; both work, but the watercolor paper allows for more edge variety.
River valley north of Bayanhongor, Hangai Mountains, July 2010; Two studies on the Anigoni toned paper; watercolor with white gouache
Horses at Gun-Galuut, August 2011; I wanted to practice doing animals before I was sitting in front of the real thing. Watercolor, Micron pen; I started with the watercolor, then did the penwork, then went back and knocked in the shadow areas and the water; about ten minutes
Horses at Gun-Galuut, August 2011; watercolor and Micron pen on w/c paper; each about 15 minutes
Baga Gazriin Chuluu, July 2010; lots of rocks where I’m going, so did a couple of studies; Notice that it’s not necessary to finish everything to the same point, especially when time is limited; watercolor
Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, August 2011; rocks with an argali; watercolor

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