Tagged painting while traveling

Image-a-day: a new digital nanoscapes’ direction

What started as a distraction has become a new direction for digital nanoscapes, and they are part of my 2012 Image-a-Day project.

Blue Tiles

Nanoscapes began as post-card sized paintings because “tiny” was my comfort zone. When a pal said “I love your work, but I can’t hang a post card behind my sofa,” I took the hint and made larger paintings. My new comfort zone became 22×33 inches.

The return of small nanoscapes

The original “Net”

But the small paintings and post cards came back, because I love to experiment, I must paint every day, and their size makes them convenient for a traveler.

Through my consulting business, Pass the Baton, I often speak at law schools around the country. Two years ago, I would carry a 12×16 Arches Hot Press watercolor block and a six pallets with 100+ colors. No more. I take three or four tubes of watercolors, a post card block, a 6H pencil, a ruler, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener. Everything goes through security and the whole kit may weigh one pound.

Painting in hotel rooms
With the best lighting in many hotel rooms in the bathroom, I never hesitate to ask for better light for painting. Kind concierge staff members have delivered new light bulbs and, sometimes, multiple lamps to make my rooms workable for a painter. The collateral benefit comfortable bed-time reading. All too often, bedside table lamps give off barely enough light to barely see the alarm clock.

How are these digital nanoscapes made?
I scan a small painting and then experiment the wonderful toys in Photoshop adjusting color and hue, saturation and more. The magic in these new digital nanoscapes comes from horizontal and vertical flipping which, as you will see, makes a combination with a center, giving new life and more energy than the original.




This painting, originally titled “The Net,” is now the image of mosaic tile work that I would do if it didn’t require safety equipment for tile cutting. When I turned 60, I decided that I should avoid all activity requiring either safety equipment or liability waivers. No skydiving, no bungee jumping, and no glass work.  

Just painting.

Inspiration: a beautiful balustrade

Interior stairwell
Comfort Suites
Atlanta Downtown
Convention Center

Eyes wide open, I wandered past the elevator on the lobby level of the Comfort Suites Atlanta Downtown Convention Center, and saw a beautiful marble stairway with an elegant balustrade. Photo op. Inspiration piece.

Interior stairwell
Comfort Suites
Atlanta Downtown
Convention Center

Google was completely unhelpful in my search for the history of this building, which was converted, redesigned, refurbished for either Comfort Suites or a previous owner. I’d be curious to know more…

Thanks to Vickie Brown, Ray English, and Marvette Colbert, the wonderful and talented staff at the career office at Georgia State University College of Law for inviting me to speak to part-time students on “2nd Career Law Students” and for selecting this hotel with its inspiration pieces.

Creativity: Have paint, will travel


Great Leafy Bunny of New Hampshire
Great Leafy Bunny of New Hampshire

Whether you are planning a winter vacation or plotting your summer 2012 adventures, I hope that you are inspired by my friend Rachel Zelkind, who inspires me every time art and travel come together. Have paint, will travel. Bring your gear!

Because I travel often for work and always take paint and paper, I have named my painting kit “The Rachel” in her honor. It  consists of three Daniel Smith Travel Kolinsky brushes, an Arches Paper block (postcard, 7×10 or 9×12), 4 or 5 tiny tubes of watercolor, a small pencil, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener, and it fits nicely into my carry-on. Also, it goes right through TSA security.

Tall Silo of Iowa
Tall Silo of Iowa
It helps that I will only paint indoors and know how to ask the hotel concierge nicely for better light in my room by saying: “I am a painter and a reader, and the only good light for either activity is in the bathroom. Can you help me?” That strategy has not failed yet.
Rachel, on the other hand, paints outside and she is always prepared: 
“I have in the car a chair of some sort at all times.” She also has a three-legged camp stool that can attach a day pack, which can be used for sitting and can also act as a little table. Not surprisingly, she always has a paper palette pad and a spray bottle for water. The rest, she says, “is just a few tubes of paint.” The chair, she emphasizes, is a must, and the camp stool can go on walks, which is good, because she hikes.


When traveling in San Miguel, her chair-substitute was an upside down bucket. “It’s portable and stuff can be put in and carried. It really makes sense,” she says, and it is not uncomfortable. To her, “It looks more natural on the street than sitting in a chair.”


Wherever you go, and whatever your art — Bring Your Gear!!!!

Ohio-Tennessee Glaze: new nano & new tool

Tiny Tines Work in Progress
Trilobite: Four by FiveCool products at zazzle.

In the spirit of cooks and their knives, carpenters their hammers, and gardeners and their tools, I find that Photoshop is my new favorite creative tool.

Roller Coaster Work in Progress 1
Roller Coaster Work in Progress 2

During the past few weeks I have begun to explore Photoshop C-4, taking a single image and playing with colors and spaces, making small friend Theresa Trilobite into  Trilobite: Four by Five. I spent time in Photoshop yesterday with Roller Coaster, an unfinished watercolor that creates beautiful patterns, and with Tiny Tines, a work in progress based on part of a large salad fork.

O-T Glaze #1
O-T Glaze #2 (flipped)
O-T Glaze #3 (rotation 1)

I face a dilemma now.

Ohio-Tennessee Glaze, the new nanoscape which I began on a Pass the Baton trip to University of Akron and Vanderbilt law schools, is finished in its life as a watercolor. It now presents a delicious Photoshop challenge: which way does it look best? Let me know what you think.

O-T Glaze #4 (rotation 2)

Admittedly, this is not a bad problem to have.

But between you and me and the mouse, O-T Glaze has not yet really begun its Photoshop journey. In these four images I simply (I can say that now) flipped and rotated the original without changing any of the colors. Options: color, no color, textures, posterizing, and much, much more…Can’t wait.

Commerce:  Find cool Trilobite products at zazzle.com.


Linked Blocks #1 — an experienced traveling nanoscape

The last Linked Block #1 photo from the Palm Pre….

I painted Linked Blocks #1 in 20 days and 4400 miles as it traveled with me to California and Iowa.

Experienced painter-travelers know that small dried blobs of watercolors in pallets and small paintbrushes whiz through airport security, and that a cup of water can be found virtually anywhere. I painted on a 12×16″ Arches 140# hot press block which tucked into my tote bag with my new traveling Peugeot Pepper Mill.

Because I love colors and connections, I am looking forward to making more paintings in the Linked Blocks family.