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It’s been a long while. And a lot has happened in that long while. But not a lot of painting. Until recently. While it’s been nearly two years since I last posted, and while my painting went through a significant hiatus, my creative bug has still been finding ways to emerge. Allow me a short personal/creative update.

I’ve been working on two books. The first book is a book on how to design and lead transformational learning experiences (e.g. workshops and retreats). I’m co-writing it with a small group of collaborators with whom I co-lead workshops on the same topic at a retreat center in western Massachusetts (Kripalu, which showed up in my blog post, The Berkshires in Stained Glass). Yes, we lead workshops on workshops. The second book is a passion project about how to productively deal with fear, which topic has been particularly relevant to me as I’ve moved into a new phase of my life.

That new phase has also been a source of creativity. For those who don’t know, I went through a divorce about three years ago. The three years since then have been rich with life lessons, both difficult and rewarding.  Sonia (my girlfriend) and I started dating about a year and a half ago, and at the beginning of this year we moved in together. We found a beautiful apartment in a colonial house overlooking the ocean in a small coastal town in southern Maine that we call our Cliffhouse. Landscaping and decorating have provided a rich (and time consuming!) creative outlet.

Now, back to painting. I’ve experienced a resurgence in my painting due in large part to a new watercolor brush. Alix, my sister, sent me a link to a video of a sketchbook artist painting scenes in Bonn, Germany (where I spent my high school years). It’s a great video, and if I could find it, I’d include it here. But alas, it seems to be lost in the land of obscure search terms.

At any rate, I noticed that the artist in the video was using a watercolor brush with a little tank containing the water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve created a sketch in the field with the intent to add paint later, and then nothing. And the longer I wait, the more reluctant I am to add the paint, fearing that I’m going to ruin what started out as a good sketch. Here’s a sampling of my unpainted sketches:

Thinking this might be the key to unlocking my painting block, I impulsively ordered a set of brushes from Amazon Prime (“one-click” purchasing: very, very dangerous). To my delight, it worked! Since getting the brushes, I’ve experienced a resurgence in my painting. I’m able to easily add paint to my sketches while on site with no need to carry around a couple of containers for my water.

It’s simple: Fill that little bad boy up with water, put it in my painting kit, whip it out, and paint. Just about every one of those sketches would probably be painted if I’d had Little Bad Boy:

Watercolor Brush

I’ve been surprised how easy it is to use. You squeeze the tank to bring water into the brush, use the wet brush to get your color wet, and then it soaks up the paint into the bristles. To clean the brush between colors, you just squeeze a little more and wipe it a few times on a napkin. The only downside is that it’s hard to get dry brush effects. But that’s a small price to pay for being able to paint so easily in the field!

Stay tuned for a resurgence in blog posts. 🙂

And if you’re interested, here are the brushes I use . They’re Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips (I regularly use only one size, but it came in a set of three sizes):

Happy painting!