It's the eternal question for us traveling artists. Which art supplies to take? On my upcoming trip to Italy to attend the TBDI 2014, I'll be taking only a carry-on bag, so the lack of space makes the question even more agonizing.
I am usually a quick decider, but on this question, I waffle with the worst of them.
The truth of this hit me hard recently as I was choosing some of my sketches to be published in Cathy Johnson's upcoming book, provisionally titled, "Sketching on the Spot.' The first decision, then as now, boiled down to which would be the default sketching tool: pens or pencils?
I most often sketch with pens, such as my Pentel Pocket brush pen, which feels like an extension of my fingertips. Being a painter, I love the brushiness of those lines. They do robust, they do atmospheric, they play well with color or on their own.
Other times I want a crisp line, so I use a fine-tipped pen like the Ecco Pigment pen... again, with or without color:
Fontaine de l'Observatoire, Paris
But lately, my heart is leading me back to pencil, that most sensuous of drawing tools. There is NOTHING like the skidmarks, the fractured trails of a big, fat, soft pencil on good paper. With or without color added.
Brittany, Presqu'ile de Rhuys
Middleton Place, Charleston, SC Northern Norway
And then there is the matter of the which and the how of taking watercolors! I think this time, I'll take a few squeezed-out blobs from my paint tubes in a very lightweight plastic travel palette.
So here's the plan for now: two pens (one brush pen, one hard tip), a couple of pencils, limited watercolors and, if I have space, 4 or 5 watercolor crayons. And did I mention which sketchbook to take? I did not. That's a thought, alas, for another day. My decider synapses, now exhausted, have taken to their beds.