Last week I was in Iowa City. I took my daughter to college orientation for the University of Iowa. My days with her home all the time are numbered, and soon it will just be my son and I. On the flight this is what he packed…

We did the carry-on thing because well, who wants to check bags anymore? And so he packed his own backpack for the three days. While we were on the first flight he said he brought things for drawing. I was thrilled. (He has been doing great drawings lately.) I expected a few pencils, a small book or a few markers, but instead he pulls out an entire set of 100 colored pencils. It must have taken up most of the space in his bag. And was pretty heavy. I giggled to see how he could not travel without all those colors.

I am guilty of that – Having to have all  the pastels when I travel or demo – might need a certain color right? Can’t be without puce-purple #104. The painting would be ruined.

I am obviously saying this tongue-in-cheek. Paintings can be successful and lush with only a few colors. And when I limit my choices I can actually concentrate on what is more important in the piece- whether it be form, color harmony or my own intuition. Each painting is a journey. I think of it like traveling though a crowd to get to the other side. If I can limit some of the crush of options around me, my path will be smoother.

So in a few weeks I will be painting plein-air.  In oil. Outside. With bugs. (New master coming to town from Montana!!!) All three things I never experience while I am typically painting. I will need to limit my colors and concentrate down my options- and remember I need to be able to carry everything.

It will be fun. It will be hard. I will keep ya posted.