Friday, February 1, 2013

Tinker Toys to the Rescue!

I have mentioned a week or so ago that the umbrella I use for plein air painting had broken. It is a good umbrella, it clamps to my tripod and it keeps rain and sun off but it just wasn't meant to be used in a situation where a sudden gust of wind, salt air, and sand are common elements.
I have tried a couple of low tech fixes to no avail and have patrolled the aisles of two hardware stores looking for ideas to fix it. Today I noticed this big can of Tinker Toys I have sitting in the corner of my studio. I will get to why they are there in a moment. As I looked at the can and the wooden parts I began to wonder if one of the elements would fit inside the tubes that connect the umbrella to the clamp. I tried one that looked likely and, "Yes!" it fit nice and snug. I got out my tools and cut off the screw end that had snapped off and tapped them together.
Here it is! All that remains is the final test. I will say it feels even sturdier than before.
Tinker Toy fix!
The only draw back is now the poles and umbrella do not break down to fit into the handy carrier. I can live with that, for now.
So, why is there a can of Tinker Toys in my studio? One might think I have them handy for any visiting young ones. I suppose they could be used for that but the truth is, they are for me to play with!
I might as well out myself here and now as it is part of what goes into my art. I am about to turn 51 years old and I have never stopped playing. I love to build things, fix things, and take things apart. I love to fly kites, swing on swings, build sand castles and forts. I still have a lot of curiosity about the world. It keeps me young at heart and apparently keeps people from guessing my true age, which I don't mind owning up to. Sometimes it does cause people to underestimate me but, I enjoy that too. So, there you have it, one of my secrets to my creativity. Playing helps the mind in creative problem solving, which is really what art is all about in my opinion.
Today, as my reward for finishing the challenge, I had promised myself that I would get to spend time on the beach just watching the waves. I did just that this beautiful sunny afternoon. Just in case I couldn't resist, I put my sketching pack (I also have a painting pack) in my bike trailer and rode my bike down the beach. I went south instead of my usual north. The beach is about 7 miles long, which is why I rode my bike. I wanted to get to the more unpopulated area. I forgot it is Friday though so there were people hiking up and down the beach. We get an influx of visitors every weekend, even this time of the year. Here is a picture of my mobile studio at my office today:
Mobile art studio
I found the bike trailer at the local thrift store for a good price. I have been quite pleased with the score. Going north with the bike and trailer is more challenging so I rarely take it north. The north end isn't too far up the beach, about a mile, unlike the south end.
Well, if this weather holds I will be out painting another wave study tomorrow. I made a slight dent in the studio clean up but will have to move forward. Further cleanup will have to wait until my weekend (Sunday/Monday). If the weather turns on me, I still plan to get out, unless we are talking gale force winds. I am tired from my lovely ride on the beach so I am off to rest up. Back to work tomorrow!

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