I love bicycle riding and I love painting, so I often combine them into an experience I call “Bike ‘n Paint”.
While bike riding, I scope out beautiful and interesting locations that make me think, “Wow, I’d like to paint this sometime!” I keep a running list in my head of places and things I want to paint. When the urge strikes, I’ll bike to the area with my pastels and sit for a short time blocking out the scene. I then finish the painting back home in my garden.
The supplies I take are minimal, since they need to fit inside my backpack. Here’s what I include:
- Pastels — 24-set of Nu-Pastel, along with a few select colors of Winsor Newton and Rembrandt
- Support— I tape the paper onto a sturdy support that is comprised of 10×13 foam core, covered with felt cloth. Wrap the felt around all 4 sides of the foam core and glue onto the back side. This combination provides just enough sponginess for the pastel stick to “enter” the surface well. Cut two pieces of foam core to the 10×13 size, so that you can make a “sandwich” with them on the outside and the taped paper on the inside. To protect a painting in progress, cover the surface with either glassine or tissue sheets. The “sandwich” is kept together with 2 large elastics and placed inside a waterproof UPS or FedEx shipping bag.
- Surface — There are many wonderful surfaces to choose from for pastels. Some of my favorites are: Canson Mi-Teintes paper, Wallis Sanded Pastel Paper, Art Spectrum Colourfix Coated Pastel Paper, Ampersand Pastelboard, and Fabriano or Acquerello watercolor paper. The key is to use an acid-free surface with some tooth to hold the pastel.
- Masking tape
- Glassine/tissue paper
- Gloves (latex, vinyl, or nitrile)
- Cloths — 1 wet cloth (to clean hands, kept inside a plastic bag), and 1 dry cloth
- Bottle of water to drink
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about painting en plein air that you could check for further details: https://www.askdesign.biz/blog/2010/07/10-tips-for-pastel-painting-en-plein-air/. When you bike ‘n paint en plein air, your supplies are obviously more limited. Biking enables me to get to nooks and crannies not easily accessed on foot.
My first “Bike ‘n Paint” painting was the Charles River. It’s a lovely view of the Larz Anderson Bridge (outside of Harvard Square) along Memorial Drive in Cambridge:
There’s a great bike path along both sides of the Charles River that I use often. There are plenty of places to paint there:
Landscapes are not the only thing I paint. I also enjoy painting the fruits and vegetables at our local farmer’s market:
Other nearby spots that I really enjoy include Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Fresh Pond, and the Boston Public Garden:
All of these paintings are matted and available for purchase. Many are already framed, but any painting can be bought without a frame. Several paintings are available as prints. Please ask! Visit my Shop for pricing details.