In the front of the garage where we now live is a smaller room which Caleb and I have converted into our work space the 'Site'. As with the back room we layered cardboard over the cold, hard concrete floor and then replaced the carpet in an effort to make the place a bit more comfortable and not so cold on the feet. During the first couple of weeks after we arrived in Christchurch we spent a bit of time setting up our little home and carried a lot of pallet wood, mattress, cardboard, etc through the streets back to the flat ( called the 'Habitat' ) on our heads or on our bikes as feet or peddle are our only means of transport here (Buses are not for poor students except in extreme necessity).
Caleb did a bit of furniture making also -- or furniture alterations-- including extending a small desk for me for more table space and leg room, and making a tabouret for me out of an old desk on wheels. This will be very handy for painting on, and I just need to locate a sheet of glass for the top as a pallet. I still need to find or create an easel of some kind. Maybe something like the one demonstrated in this video.
I am all set up to start plein air painting and have just primed fifteen small boards on which to paint en plein air as well as some larger boards for studio painting. I am using traditional oil primer for the first time and using rabbit skin glue for the first time to seal the boards before applying primer. Rabbit skin glue is a traditional glue that has been used for sealing canvas or wood panels for hundreds of years. It comes in dry form in tiny pieces which is soaked 3 to 10 in water and then you melt it in a double boiler and paint on all surfaces of the board to seal it. In my research some sources recommended applying it cold as a gel, but others said that it worked better and soaked into the wood applied hot. I applied it hot, and warm as it cooled down. If any of my readers know anything about it I would love to hear your comments as to the correct way.
I'm planning to do a lot of plein air work, explore the city and get out and about. It's becoming more of an arts city since the earthquakes and all of the damage from them. I don't know why people still live here it is so unstable the ground could skake and any time. Since I've been here I have already experienced two skakes, one was big enough to have the university evacuated. So why am I living here for that matter? well for love and study I guess.