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Old 02-03-2016, 08:55 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Robyn: Go onto Youtube and search for "Sea Eagle Explorer 380x". I'm just hoping I won't regret not getting the larger 420x.

Now I must wait for the Kansas lakes ice to melt so I can give it a try-out .

Have fun, I sure am, Dave
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:51 AM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

You got the sporty compact model.

Looks like lots of fun. I will check the video and imagine you in the pilot's (captain's?) seat.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:54 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Robyn:
the sporty compact model is the 300x. The videos are pretty good... but imagine my watercolor outfit, tent, sleeping bag and a lot of drinking water & groceries in there with me ... and... I'm wearing a life jacket that makes me look like I'm about 350 pounds!

Dave
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Old 02-05-2016, 07:31 AM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Will you have to scale down the size of your paintings? Figuring out all your survival essentials and how to stow them most compactly will be a project all on its own. Dang life vest takes up space, too.

You have set yourself up for a fun and challenging adventure! Maybe El Niño will bring the spring thaw early and you can get out on the water soon. We may actually get through the whole winter here without a single hard freeze. The bugs this coming year will be awful, but I could comfortably go out and paint plein air today. It will be near 70, just about perfect.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:22 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Robyn: I really liked working at 16x20, (and larger) inches last November in BBNP... but yes I might have to drop to a smaller size, say 12x16. Once I get the boat inflated and tried out I'll start to determine what I'll be able to take along. How to stow it, (and how to best balance the boat). I have a number of water-tight boxes but no dry-bags. The latter might be best for clothes and food while the former might be best for art on paper. I have some ideas to try out. My tent and sleeping bag are many, many years old... really... so I may have to get new and much lighter and compact stuff.

The whole project is exciting as all get-out. I've wanted to paint Plein-air on the Kansas River for years and now that will be just a hurried trial for this Rio Grande project. Big Bend! Whoo Hu!

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Old 02-06-2016, 07:57 AM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Oh, goodie. More shopping!

There have been so many new fabrics developed for outdoor activities lately that a new sleeping bag and tent will probably be a real improvement on your old gear. They might even pack down smaller.

I've spent several minutes trying to think of a way to make larger paintings under these circumstances. You could carry your paper in a roll, and roll your paintings after they're done, but you would still need to back it with something while painting. Maybe the backer board could fold to a stowable size. Or maybe make some kind of stretcher framework that could be broken down for transport? Even something really basic like canvas stretcher bars that you could staple the paper to.

It's always such a joy to see someone pursue their dreams!
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Old 02-06-2016, 11:18 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

I have a water-tight plastic shipping case that may fit into the "art-barge". It will readily hold 12 x 16 inch paper. I'm currently thinking of taping a sheet of 140CP watercolor paper onto a sheet of plexiglass. But this alone does not address the buckling problem and it's humid on the river.

In BBNP last November I used panels. Those masonite panels were heavy and the Aquabords were costly. Today I was looking at jars of "watercolor ground" and wooden panels in an art supply shop. It's hard to estimate the cost per painting of using these without actually making them up as I don't know how far the jars of ground will go. Nor do I know how well they make art. I'm wondering about adhereing paper to thin plastic or aluminum sign makers sheets of some sort.

I could get one of those gadgets the Judsons sell, that support a stretched sheet. I looked at one today but... it's heavy, it's expensive, I won't have a sink to soak paper in, 11 x 15 is the small size and larger sizes would cause art protection during transportation problems, (I did not purchase the large size boat).

So, some questions to be resolved. Compromises made.

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Old 02-07-2016, 08:39 AM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

A friend enjoys using the watercolor ground because it enables her to paint on all kinds of objects that wouldn't normally take watercolor well. Personally, I don't like the feel and texture of it. It seems chalky and gritty, and takes the paint differently than paper. Probably those properties are something a person could learn to take advantage of, like the aquaboard. You might like it.

Could you soak your paper in the river? Slapping a wet paper onto plexi keeps it nice and flat as long as you're working wet in wet. In studio conditions it dries flat, too, but might not where it's really humid. And if you go back afterwards on the dried paper with more wet washes, it will buckle. Relatively dry layers would be ok, though.

What about 300lb paper? No stretching, no buckling, no extra labor or equipment. Might be worth the extra $$.
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Old 02-07-2016, 05:51 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Robyn: Tempting as the Rio Grande water is there is silt in it and I'm told when the flow is high it carries nasty germs. 300 pound paper supposedly does not buckle... but it really can. I have some and could take it along but I'd rather take something I know works but just not as heavy as masonite panels. I would intend to paint not just while paddling the canyons but also as I did in November, out of a car... and that could be done with heavier, larger supports.

Incidentally I note Aquabords are apparently priced in such a way that buying big sheets and sawing them into halves or quarters is a significant cost saver. An idea I'm going to try with a large one I picked up. We have an electric jig saw here.

We passed a pickup truck with two kayacks in back today but I'm sure they were not out paddling... weather here is cold, cloudy, windy and mean spirited. Kinda wish we lived in a warmer clime but there ya go.

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Old 02-08-2016, 08:01 AM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Cutting down big sheets of aquaboard sounds like a good solution. I've never really inspected aquaboard. Is it lightweight?

I might be driving to North Dakota later this week and am not looking forward to the nasty and unfamiliar driving conditions. I could fly to Minneapolis, but that still means a long drive in those conditions but in a rental. I like my mild winters. Maybe those kayakers were coming from or going to somewhere south of you. Or can you get ice breaking attachments for them?
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:16 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Robyn: I have spent a couple of winters in the NoDak oil fields. The winter tended to be so cold, (once 40 F below at night for a week, warming to 20 F below midday) that we got little snow. In the spring when the dirt roads thaw out they become a quagmire for a week or two. I had two block heaters and a battery heater on my Ford pickup. In such cold weather the shock absorbers take a beating as the fluid in them freezes and just a RR crossing ruins them. I might rethink the rental car idea as wearing out someone elses car might be prudent in such weather.

Nothing really exciting on the BBNP / Art Barge project to report but I did receive some "water" shoes and a used inflatable kyacking book today. I've been to the basement and have a couple of 18x24 Aquapanels and can cut them into four 12x18s or even 12x16s or even eight 9x12s. I also have a few 11x14s on hand. I'm starting to wonder what aluminum offset plates covered with watercolor ground would be like. One problem would be the flexibility of the thin metal sheet.

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Old 02-09-2016, 07:17 AM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Seems like aluminum would be easy to dent, too. But might make an interesting painting surface. You should probably give the watercolor ground a try, even if it is just so that you can be satisfied you've investigated all possibilities. And maybe you will end up liking it. What about acrylic gesso as an aluminum coating? I've seen and read about some watercolorists who use it and exploit its' properties. I suppose the aluminum would need to be sanded well for either coating to adhere.

Thumbs up on the water shoes! You and your "new" book reminds me of a gardener with a seed catalog in the winter down time. It's both fun and prudent to think the plans through.

Those ND winters can be long and brutal, especially out west where you were. The eastern side up by Canada is where my family is from, but I've never endured a whole winter there. I hope I never do! Good point about putting the wear and tear on a rental.
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Old 02-09-2016, 06:06 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Robyn: Still no big Art Barge news... yet. I've been exploring in the basement and found some stuff I'd take along for the eventual BBNP float but probably not for around here. Things I had for spelunking... camping stuff and ropes and... more stuff.

I have a 40m QRP CW ham radio in a Pelican case that might be fun in camp but thats more weight and volume and I did pass on the big boat.

I've been looking into light, stiff and thin surfaces. 4mm white corrigated plastic I'm thinking is only stiff in one plane and has a rippled surface. Aluminum honeycomb sign paneling is used for art but I'm thinking it would not be cheap... plus I don't know a local source. Thinking!!!

N.D.: I used to cross over for art supplies and Chinese dinners but now they are getting antsy at the border. Oh gosh what a horrid time to go to northern NoDak. It WILL be cold and I'd drive someone elses almost new car. I point out that some N.D. motorists keep a sleeping bag in their car in case they get stuck or halted for any reason. Have a warm blanket and a few energy bars available at least and keep the gas tank topped up. Be aware that if the snow drifts up... running a stuck car for heat could get unsafe.

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Old 02-10-2016, 08:10 AM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Had a thought....Strathmore Aquarius paper is part rag and part synthetic. It's said not to buckle. One of the famous artists in my watercolor books uses it, but I can't remember who. It has good reviews on the Blick site.
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:20 PM
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Re: Autumn in the Big Bend National Park

Robyn: I have used "Aquarius II" quite a bit and have some around here somewhere. Without going into why I'll just say I would not use it for a project that is so costly as floating the BBNP will be.

I'm now considering experimenting with watercolor ground or 140# CP paper... on 3/16" foam core boards.

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