I recently finished restoring these two 19th century travel boxes and they're so beautiful that I had to share them on my blog. They were in pretty good condition when I purchased them, but they needed a little care. They're both from France and they have a very similar style to them. They also both had working keys, which is really cool. These would have been used for traveling or painting en plein air, which makes me wish they could talk and tell me where they've been!
This first set of photos is of the smaller box which is for watercolors. The box includes some inner compartments, a water container with detachable cups, a sea sponge, an old brush and an enameled palette. The quality of the wood that was used to make the box is wonderful and it really shined after I waxed and buffed it. I see a little paint residue on the palette so I'm guessing that someone used it at one time.
This next set of photos is of the oil painting box, which is larger and includes a beautiful folding palette (with some very old paint on it), medium containers, some palette knives and brushes. The entire box is truly a work of art.
These final two images show some of my working tools, which is an old set of flathead screw drivers that nest inside one another. I love having high quality tools in my own tool box to work with.
When I was working on these boxes, I actually got pretty bummed. I realized, once again, that people really don't make beautiful things like this nowadays. These boxes are over 120 years old and still usable! I know there's still some true craftsman out there who really care about their products, but most of it is disposable garbage. I understand why that is, but it still makes me sad.
Besides the high level of quality, another reason I love antiques is because of the history behind these items. I wonder who owned these? What paintings did they paint with these? As I said earlier, I wish these boxes could tell me where they've been.
If you're wondering if I'll use these boxes myself: I'll admit that I find it difficult to imagine using them en plein air mainly because I don't want to mess them up or lose any parts. I might decide to use them eventually, but for now I just enjoy having them in my studio.
I'm very proud and excited to be returning to teach for the Ridgewood Community School. This is my 6th semester teaching at RCS and it will be my 2nd semester teaching virtually as a result of covid. I put a lot of thought into how to best teach a virtual class with subjects as tactile as drawing and painting. Always taking student feedback into consideration, I am very confident with the quality and breadth of my virtual courses.
For spring 2021, I will be teaching Drawing for Beginners, Watercolor for Beginners and Watercolor for Beginners II. The courses are each designed for a different experience level of student. *I will be covering the drawing course this semester because the regular teacher is unable to teach it this semester.
Drawing for Beginners will cover the essentials of drawing. Drawing is one of the oldest and purest forms of art making and is a great way to explore the world around you as well as yourself. Drawing materials and techniques will be covered, demonstrated and explained.
Watercolor for Beginners is designed for novices or anyone without previous experience and will primarily revolve around introductory methods, materials, color mixing, brush handling and essential techniques.
Watercolor for Beginners II is more advanced and will delve into more advanced techniques, other aqueous materials (including gouache), color theory, composition and ways of seeing.
The Community School also has many other great courses from languages to cooking and many other subjects. Another bonus of these classes is that they provide some social relief during this lonely pandemic; so if you're feeling isolated, then I would encourage you to join a course. I look forward to seeing my students soon.
If you have any questions about these courses, you can send me a message directly through my CONTACT PAGE. You can also contact the RCS director Ms. Shelly Stanton at: email@example.com
For more information and to register for courses either online, by mail or by phone, follow this link: https://rcs.ridgewood.k12.nj.us/brochure__registration
I'll toot my own horn a little bit by sharing some of the feedback from students I've been honored to receive:
It's always a fun challenge to paint en plein air and I always end up learning something from it. It forces me to paint quickly and to make the best of the situation.
If you're using watercolor en plein air in cold weather, remember that your watercolor can freeze on you, so you may be better off with oils. It's also tough because the watercolor doesn't fully dry on the paper so your watercolor can bloom easily. Today was sunny and the ambient temperature was above freezing so I decided to use watercolor. I have done watercolors in the snow before, but I wanted to do a larger piece that had a nice sense of space to it.
The reason I love painting is because it helps me to make memories and document adventures. It almost doesn't how the painting turns out because I learned something new and I had fun. I think I'll do some more snow scenes since we'll have this snow for a while.