Paper buckles a bit when I am using watercolor (it's 80 lb) and it's an off-white - "recycled drawing paper" - I like the tooth though and the non-obligation of this surface. I am drawing a lot - not a lot of worth scanning - but it will come too :)
Autumn is here - first sign for me is appearance of chrysanthemums everywhere...
There were many questions about my tools for this trip and how I kept everything dry. "Dry" is a relative term but a few things were very useful and I recorded them for my reference as well as to share my experience.
Mostly my notes on the pictures will tell you all that there is to know about my gear on this trip - but there were two things that helped me to sketch on this trip more:
Rite-in-the-Rain sketchbook and LOKSAK bags (they are basically super sturdy, element proof zip-lock bags).
Most of my equipment was protected by the dry bag - but alone it would not be enough - I used 6x12" and 13x11" aLOKSAK most - and these super heroes kept my camera, sketchbook, loose paper and sketches, bag with all my art materials safe. I also used 3x6" for my phone and it was great as it was working even without unzipping a bag and when I needed to snap a picture I would slide only one end for a second, click and hide it back :)
In this post I combined all sketches done while in the wilderness. I drew during lunch and snack breaks, between breakfast and breaking our camp and so on.
There were four people in our group. Two US Forest employees: Darrin and Frank; and two artists: wonderful photographer Kaylyn Messer and myself. It was a pleasure to spend time in this beautiful place with people who care about it so much.
They taught me loads of things, were patient with me turning every lunch into a sketching session, watched my back for bears and helped to fight off bug attacks. I would go on a trip with them again - any time!
We were in the wilderness a total of 5 days - including the day of arrival (we did some kayaking on that day) and day of departure (great morning - too bad we had to take off right after breakfast). We had two camps, and were mostly kayaking every day. We spent one day hiking - though after a tree collapsed under me, I remarked that following bear trail for 7 hours does not sound like a hike - and I was told that more accurate word is scrambling :)
I tried to take pictures but completely forgot to photograph my process - though I am hoping that Kaylyn will have a bunch and will let me share.
I will process a few of my photos and post here in the next few days - together with some notes on my gear.
Alaska 2012: South Baranof Wilderness - Sketching from a Sea Kayak, a photo by apple-pine on Flickr.
I applied for Artist-In-Residence position with Voices of the Wilderness program (which is run through U.S. Forest Service in Alaska) somewhere in spring. And pretty soon I received a phone call about going to South Baranof Wilderness Area - the trip would take place somewhere in August-September.
The plan was to get to Sitka and form there - to the wilderness by boat or by float plane. Then - travel through Necker Bay Area (it's a fjord in the Baranof Island) using kayaks as main transportation. US Forest representative would guide us and as a team we would do some monitoring work (look for presence of people, check out, clean and dismantle possible illegal camp sites and structures, monitor solitude, check for invasive plants). And I would have a chance to draw in a really wild area! (and prepare something special as a result of this trip - more about this later ;)
My general understanding was that sketching in a kayak would be WET. And it will probably be wet all the time during the trip. But I should be able to do some more-or-less normal sketching during breaks and in the evening if it's not raining too hard and if I can find a nice tree :)
And this assumption was more or less correct - except that by the time we got to camping site it was usually late enough for bugs to eat me alive and almost right after them dew covered everything (we had several days of sunshine - which - I was told - is a very very rare thing in Alaska - and especially in South Baranof Wilderness as it gets an average 200 inches of precipitation a year...). So evening work (or sometimes early morning as I was falling asleep pretty quickly after a day filled with new experiences) was to sort through all kinds of sketches I've done throughout the day (and I had 2 smaller sketchbooks in different pockets plus loose watercolor sheets in a dry bag plus Rite-in-the-rain book), then tape them in my main book and add comments.
Sketching in a kayak was accomplished with the help form the Rite-in-the-Rain paper and it worked GREAT! I tried using different pencils: color pencils, oily peel-off china marker, regular #2 pencil and water soluble pencil and they all worked great in their very special way!
But sketching in a moving kayak has to be fast or super fast - and as a result I have only these to share.
I think my favorite tool was water-soluble graphite pencil - I used my fingers and ocean water to move graphite before it set in and added more details over it - and if I did not push my marks with my fingers they would set pretty well on the paper and stay even if sketchbook is dropped in the water (repeatedly :)
I cannot show you color with these sketches - but believe me - it was gorgeous!
I tried to learn about upcoming experience in wilderness as much as possible and assemble right tools. But nothing can prepare you as well as experience - so I feel that next time I would be much better composed as I learned A LOT ;)
Tomorrow I will show you sketches from the wilderness which were done without the help of a kayak :)
Oh - and scroll to the bottom of this post to see my sketch about bear encounter :)
(click on images to see them larger on Flickr)