Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to post a comment

I've just adjusted the settings on our blog to make it simpler for you and your family to post a comment. My apologies if you tried before and found it confusing.

- At the bottom of each post you will find a "comment" link - this will open a box that allows you to type your question or remark.
- When you have completed your text be sure and sign your name.
- Next you will need to "Choose an Identity" or "Profile". If you work with one of the listed options go ahead and use it, otherwise click on "Anonymous".
- Now click "Publish".

That's all there is to it!

Still confused? Check out: http://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=42399

Monday, December 12, 2011

Linda's Travel Plans

My flights are booked! As mentioned on an earlier blog posting you are to plan your trip so as to arrive at the Toulouse airport on the morning of May 5, 2012. Your personal flight plan could take you to a number of different airports as you make your way to our rendezvous point. In the past I have travelled from Toronto and made connections at either Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt. This trip I will change planes in Munich on my way to France while my return trip passes through Frankfurt.

Linda's Departure:

***Thursday May 3, 2012 Flight AC846  20:10 From Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to Munich (MUC) arrive 10:05 (Friday)
Friday May 4 2012 Flight LH 216 13:10 Munich (MUC) to Toulouse (TLS) arrive 14:55

Saturday May 19, 2012 Flight LH 1095 10:25 From Toulouse to Frankfurt (FRA) arrive 12:20
Flight LH 470 14:15 From Frankfurt to Toronto arrive 16:50

***Please note that I am departing one day earlier than necessary so I will arrive in Toulouse on May 4. I will spend Friday night at the Novotel Hotel near the airport. I will return to the airport on Saturday morning to meet arriving participants and then we will take the Monastere van to Limoux. 

I have selected to travel early so that I can take some time to catch up on sleep and adjust to the 6 hr time difference before our adventure together officially begins. You may also find this to be an option worth considering.  

You would be most welcome to book a room at the Novotel Hotel and join me for a pre-adventure dinner. I have stayed at this hotel in the past. It offers a free shuttle to and from the airport and has a small restaurant for dinner and breakfast.The hotel is about $110.00CDN. 

Here is the website: http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-0445-novotel-toulouse-aeroport/index.shtml 

Don't hesitate to contact me for more information, or leave a comment or question below. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pack your painting gear - we are off to France!

Have you started to think about what painting gear you will need to take along?

It is very important to keep your kit light but you will need to take everything you require for painting since there isn't an art supply store in Limoux. You will need to carry your gear as we tour villages and are out in the open. There will be times when we will just take sketch books but most likely you will want to throw your kit into the van just in case.
I have posted more detailed information and photos of brushes, my palette etc. below but here are a few ideas to keep things simple and portable.

1. A rolling backpack works well to cart painting equipment.

2. A small water flask for drinking or painting. There will be jugs available in the van but you will want to have a small container.

3. Watercolour paper.

4. A small piece of plexiglass cut to fit in your pack.

5. Brush caddy and brushes (see below)

6. Lightweight wooden board, cut to fit in your pack.

7. Clips or clothes pegs to stop your masterpieces from blowing away.

8. Palette (see below)

9. Sketch book(s) and marker.

10. Collapsible water container and small water-sprayer.

11. Pencil case with pencils, markers, sharpener, watercolour pencils if you wish to use them etc.

12. Paints in a sealed container. (see below)

13. Small sack or paint bag to use when travelling extra light. I have a very small backpack.

14. Tissue! Bring several packages (multi-purpose)... there may be times when there is no TP in the public toilettes. (Don't worry - once you get the hang of it you might actually enjoy the adventures that each new day brings!) Here is a bit of reading to bring you up to speed: 

15. Binoculars/bird watching book if you are into birding.

16. Paper towels and a terry-cloth hand towel. The cloth towel works well to sit on if you find yourself on a hillside or other natural perch.

17. Wet wipes.

18. How about your camera, extra memory cards and battery charger? There is so much to see and many photo-opportunities.

ote: most things go into your kit in zip-lock bags to protect the rest of your equipment and clothes.
No doubt there are more things you will want to add - a light rain jacket, snacks, sunscreen, bug repellent (you can purchase small individual wipes rather than bringing big heavy bottles), candy for the teacher...

If you can think of things that I have left off the list, please leave a comment. Why not leave a comment if you can't think of something/anything.. or even if your mind is blank?

Brushing up on brushes

I will take along a minimum number of brushes. Fewer to carry/fewer to lose!  I have also marked my name on the handles. 

Best not to bring along expensive sable brushes. Of course, you may bring your favorite selection of styles and sizes.

My kit includes, from left to right: 
- A #2 or #4 rigger or signature brush

- 1.5" flat wash brush (Loew-Cornell Skywash 7750 or Robert Simmons Skyflow)

- 1" flat skyflow (Loew-Cornell Skywash 7750 or Robert Simmons Skyflow)

- A small stiff craft brush for spatters and lifting

- Round brushes - sizes 14, 12 or 10 - your choice of size, but go for bigger, rather than tiny.

- One or two 1" badger type brush. (Kemp Badger or a Skipper from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff) *If you cannot find a Badger brush you can purchase one from me and I will mail it out to you before the trip.

How to carry your brushes
This particular brush caddy, shown in the picture above, came from the drugstore rather than the art store. It is intended for make-up brushes but I like it because it is much smaller and lighter. A rolled bamboo placemat works well too and allows your brushes to air dry.

Selecting Your Paper

Watercolour paper is surprisingly heavy so consider how many paintings you might do each day. (Don't bring along old paintings! It is amazing to see how often students drag the sad old things along with them wherever they go.) 

Always work with good quality rag paper. Coil pads may seem like good value but will only result in frustration and poor results. Blocks will do but I like loose sheets, torn to size. 
Bring your favorite paper, weight and surface. My choices include Arches 140 or 300 lb cold press, Saunders Waterford 200 lb CP, Strathmore Gemini 140 or 300 lb and Stathmore Aquarius II 80 lb.

Tear your paper into the sizes you like to work on before you leave home. I recommend that you work small, such as a 1/4 sheet or 11 x 15". For travel, the dimensions I choose are 5.5" x 7.5" and 7.5" x 7.5", the largest being 11" x 11". 

Carrying Your Paper
The torn papers are stacked and sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard or mat board and bound with an elastic band or tied with a string. Neat, organized and light! Each day you can select 2 or 3 pieces of paper in a variety of sizes to take along. The extras can be left in the studio for another day.

Have paints, will travel!

With all the changes in travel these days, it is essential to know how to transport your paints. You must put your paints in your checked baggage! You cannot put them in your carry-on.

 That being the case, you will want to be sure that your clothes are protected from squishy paint tubes. I pack my paints in plastic sealtight containers, such as Tupperware or Lock and Lock. The locked box of paints is then further encased in a ziplock bag.
Mark on the outside of the container and bag as shown above: Non-combustible, Non-toxic, Non-flammable and any other "Non" you might like to add. You may be able to get a safety information sheet from your supplier it include. I have had my bags inspected regularly when flying as evident by the note that is left to indicate that it has been searched. With the paints labeled and stored in this manner, I have not had a problem. Of course there is always a first time. So let's hope everyone will pass through without any trouble.
I will post a list of my colours but do bring your own favorite colours and brands. Artist's quality tube paints are superior! Small tubes will most likely be enough for you.

Palette, Water Container and Spray Bottle

Artist Palette
This is my favourite travel palette! It is made by Hommee (also called Heritage Palette) and is available though Curry's in Canada and Cheap Joe's or Jerry's Artarama in the States. 


Here's what Joe has to say about it:
The Heritage Folding Palette is a great travel palette that won’t put a crimp in your travel plans! The Heritage Folding palette is one of the nicest travel palettes that we have seen in a while. It’s unusual because the lid doubles as a hearty-sized mixing area that has a clear removable plastic tray. This tray can also be used as a second mixing area! In addition the lid has a soft plastic seal which keeps the palette from leaking and keeps your colors from drying out so quickly. Each well in this palette holds approximately 5ml. of paint. Here’s a tip! If you hold the tube over the deep end of the well, then come back towards the shallow end while squeezing the tube, then hold the palette in both hands & gently tap the palette on a flat surface- the paint settles nicely in the wells. 18 Wells

I couldn't have said it better myself!

You may wish to fill the wells ahead of time and give the paint a chance to set up before you hit the sky.
Bring a palette that you like and that fits into a ziplock bag. You may wish to hunt around for an additional mixing surface, such as a white plastic plate. I have a tray from my last flight to France that the flight steward gave to me - honest!

I've included a collapsible water container and mist bottle in this picture - complete with their own plastic bag.


You will need to arrange your flights to and from Toulouse, France. Once you arrive at the airport all other transportation is taken care of. You will be greeted at the airport and once everyone arrives we will head for Limoux! 

Flight arrangements:
Arrive in Toulouse Saturday May 5, 2012 in the morning.
Depart Toulouse Saturday May 19, 2012 mid-morning or later. If you book a departure early in the morning you may need to arrange to stay in a hotel close to the airport the night of the 18th as we co-ordinate the travel of the group from Limoux.

If you are looking for a travel agent to help with booking your flights I would recommend Ingrid at Brinkman Travel who is my agent. She is up-to-speed on the dates and times you will need to be at the Toulouse Airport. Ingrid does a great job and several of my participants on the last trip found her services were excellent. There is a small fee for this service. Ingrid can arrange your flights whether you live in Canada or the USA.

Ingrid Raakman

Certified Travel Counsellor
Brinkman Travel Inc
8 Duke St.
St. Catharines, Ontario L2R 5W3

Tel: 905 988 9100 extension 2
Fax:905 988 9400