On the easel

artist commissions portraits elizabeth r. whelan work in progress "I've always enjoyed life on the coast, kicking around in boatyards and spending time on the water in any number of sailing and motor vessels. The variety of boats one can see in any harbor is always interesting, and particularly as certain boat styles are quite regional.

Here's a work-in-progress that I am pursuing between commissions; a busy scene at the New Bedford docks in early summer. I've just finished getting some of the structure of the painting in place; now it's time for some color.

And I spend a good amount of time looking at the rigging! It all needs to make sense. At the same time, it's not always necessary to put in every last detail -- the overall design of the scene remains most important. My goal with this painting will be to feel the boats gently moving against their lines as the tide changes and passing boats send out a wake."

- Elizabeth R. Whelan (artist on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)

Artist Elizabeth R. Whelan favorite studio accessories Martha's Vineyard Massachusetts near Boston

Some of my favorite studio accessories:

  • Mahl stick to keep fingers out of wet paint
  • Long metal rulers
  • Rectangular palettes big and small, both wood and glass
  • Table-top paper towel holder
  • Rags from old flannel shirts
  • Coated wire and sliding hooks to hang paintings to dry
  • An easel that can move vertically and horizontally
  • Multi-purpose utility tool to open tubes
  • Putty scraper for clearing palette
  • Paint tube roller to squeeze out paint
  • White charcoal pencil for marking corrections
  • Audiobook or streaming music
  • Pot of strong coffee or tea
  • A cat sleeping in the sunbeam (I am sure a dog would work just as well!)