Nature Finds From the Yard + New Lap Table Experiment

Mid July – there are less flowers blooming now. The hummingbirds have hatched and grown one batch of babies so far. They are emptying the feeders at record speed and filling the air with the sound of buzzing wings. There must also be baby robins in nests out in the orchard. I found a bit of an egg lying in the driveway. Dandelions continue to pop up here and there. I know they are technically a weed to anyone attempting to grow a smooth lawn, but I enjoy their cheery yellow faces. In my shade garden the Hostas have bloomed profusely, but their delicate flowers are tired looking now.

Around the veggies in my bin garden I planted Nasturtium seeds. They decorate the edges of my garden with beautiful yellow and orange flowers and lovely, round jewel leaves that play with the sunlight in the morning.

I usually work in my studio, but would like to be able to work outside conveniently when the weather will allow. So I am experimenting with a little lap table I made from a piece of plexiglass. I cut it in two pieces and covered all the edges with washi tape for safety. Then I placed the two pieces together and lined up the cut edges. I made a “hinge” using clear packing tape by covering the folded edges, then opened the pieces to lie flat and covered the top side of the join. This holds the pieces flat and stable while I am using them and still allows me to fold them for carrying in my bag.

I glued a magnet to the bottom of an old vitamin bottle and placed another small magnet under the plexiglass to keep the bottle in place. A piece of rolled up terrycloth to wipe brushes on is held in place next to the bottle with a small clip. And a couple more small clips hold the edge of the sketchbook to the plexiglass. My pallete and extra mixing space are held in place with magnetic refrigerator clips. I am such a glutton for mixing space! I want all my washes to have their own space, and prefer not to clean them up between paintings, if possible. It is so handy to start with a previous mix. So I used packing tape to cover some white card stock cut to fit inside the Moda pencil case. Since the case is metal it can be secured to the board with a magnetic clip.

I can pick up the whole set up with one hand and nothing falls off! I tested it out while making this sketch spread and liked the way it felt. I hope to use it more often while the weather is good. Hope you are staying creative and possibly adding your sketches to #WorldWatercolorMonth.

10 thoughts on “Nature Finds From the Yard + New Lap Table Experiment

  1. Wow! A whole tin, just for ‘kitchen’. I’m amazed. But indeed, only by being able to close it we can carry it away inside a pouch or anything, without washing the remaining paint before packing. One of the reasons I don’t use cobalt and other metal-based paint (other than my cat insistence in drinking from the brush-cleaning bucket) is my concern of washing unhealthy paint in the place I used it (usually under a tree). This solves that problem (though not the cat’s).


  2. I’m curious to know how the packing tape and cardstock works. I’ll try it too! In my Altoids box kit I poured porcelain enamel paint in the lid. A more expensive alternative, but it should last forever.


  3. Oh! The porcelain paint sounds amazing. Yes, I went the cheap route! 😁 All I did was use the clear packing tape to laminate card stock (covering both sides) that I had cut to fit in the tin. You could use any white paper. Then I used a couple of dots of blue tack to stick the cards to the tin. Easy peasy! The washes do bead up a bit at first, but I don’t mind that. Thanks for commenting.


  4. I’m sorry, I only understand about 40% of this – but as I won’t be watercolouring any time soon (if ever again – vanishing sight), it will not matter greatly. In any case, what I can do and do with joy, is admiring your flower paintings and your lovely words of description. I hope that, sometime in the future, I won’t look at dandelions any more with scorn – my ‘garden’ is becoming very quickly either a burnt prairie or staying a weed-field! Thistles are growing wildly, various bindweeds, creepers, dandies, and more are the only ones willing to grow even though it’s very, very hot and dry. They ARE stronger than all the cultivated flowers and blooms, shrubs and trees. We have to accept it and stay slaves to the garden…. Right now I water the garden for 90′ and use tons of precious water which costs a fortune – but I do what I can. Thank you so much for your beautiful work – I hope your health is on a good way, haven’t heard much any more. You are probably just VERY brave!


  5. Oh Kiki! I am so sorry about your overgrowth of weeds! I do realize dandelions are weeds. 🙂 It is just that they are such a pretty bright yellow. And I would probably not be able to have a garden if it were not in bins. A regular garden would be too labor intensive for me now. I am so thankful I had the bins put together when I did so that I can still enjoy growing beautiful plants. Thank you so much for enjoying my sketches. They are my therapy and my way of purposely looking for beauty. I have not talked about my health much because I don’t want to be a bore. 🙂 I have an all-clear from my surgeon now. So no more surgeries for my face. Now I have an appointment with a retina specialist because a hole was discovered in one of my retinas. Thankfully, it has a thin coating covering the hole, so hasn’t effected my sight too much. I will learn at the appointment next month what the next step for that is going to be. If it isn’t one thing it is another, right? Meanwhile, I am taking advantage of all the sketching time I can get. One day at a time. That is all we can do. Thank you so much for your visit, Kiki. You are a joy.

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  6. YOU are a joy Fay… Thank You. And I’m SO glad that your surgery went OK so far. Now the eyes…. our precious, priceless eyes! I’m going blind just as my mum did, only earlier. But if you can get an op, all the better. Thinking of you – enjoy your ‘dandies’…. They ARE lovely and cheerful, if they are in neighbour’s garden 😉


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