Back in the saddle. I had a good day today. I had planned on painting in oils, but as I’ve mentioned in the last few days, I’m fighting something. I also have chemical allergies, thanks to too many years of using art products without correct ventilation. I decided for once to err on the side of caution and not expose myself to any fumes today. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as an alternative, but a quick trip to the Goodwill helped make the decision. One of my little secrets are resale shops, not only do I use them to find odd pieces for projects, or small furniture pieces, I also always take a look at the art for sale. Most of the time, actually 99% of the time, I think the art isn’t very good, usually extremely amateur paintings, framed jigsaw puzzles, or mass-produced poster prints. However, some of that art is very nicely framed, and that’s why I buy it. As is the same with most starving artists I have no money for framing. Good matting and framing can cost a lot, its money I just don’t have. Since most of the frames are standard sizes it’s relatively easy for me to find a piece of my work to fit, or to take a blank canvas and create something on it. That’s what I did today. My original intention was to make a print of one of my paintings with my home copier to fit in the frame. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. The painting that I wanted to make the print of was too small and enlarging it wasn’t the answer. The opening in the mat board was roughly 5 3/4 inches by 12 inches, an odd size to say the least. As I promised last night, I wanted to paint. As I said earlier, not the day for fumes, so I went with watercolors. A few months ago I did a quick sketch of a photo I took at Monet’s house in Giverny. It was of a gardener standing lost in thought as he contemplated the tasks at hand. It was one of those moments a photographer dreams of where a perfect subject appears waiting to be captured. It is one of my favorite photos from our trip. I measured out the size of the mat opening on a piece of watercolor paper and taped it off with painter’s tape. A quick rough sketch, an hour of watercolor painting, and a matted and framed painting, all for $7.99 and a little God-given talent. I’m really happy with how this piece came out, I feel like I got a little of that lost self-confidence back.