Returning to Adams Fairacre Farms

I had so much fun the last time I sketched at the new Adams Fairacre Farms in Wappinger that I couldn't wait to get back there for Round 2. They must have sold a huge number of poinsettia plants, because the huge tree of them that I sketched last time was gone!

I started out the morning in their greenhouse again, sketching with Noodler's Sequoia ink and watercolors in a fine-nib fountain pen, in my Stillman & Birn Alpha 5.5x8.5" hardbound book. Because of the fairly intense color of the prepared background, I ended up switching to gouache to finish off the sketch. I always make sure to have gouache with me for emergencies like this. Since I like to travel light, I made a tiny gouache kit from a mini Altoids container and Sculpey clay.

 The holes in the clay were made with the back of a pencil. (That and the quarter should give you an idea of how tiny this is!) I was able to make 15 holes for colors. Since the Altoids tin is metal, I baked the whole thing in the oven, Sculpey, tin and all. Once it was cool, I coated the inside with a few coats of Golden GAC 100 to seal it. I'm not sure if that step was necessary or not, but since I had it on hand, I went ahead and did it. I've been using it for several months now, and it's really come in handy on a number of occasions.

The smaller text on the page was written with a 1:1 dilution of the Sequoia ink in a different, broad-nibbed pen. (A Kaweco Sport) Sometimes it just seems too saturated to me for writing, and I happen to like the more olive-like green I get when I dilute it. You can see the difference in the value and color between that green text, and the thinner, darker green of the lines for the hanging baskets of plants. The page title was written with a 2.4mm Pilot Parallel, using a red Pilot ink cartridge. Having a red calligraphy pen all set to go has turned out to be a good thing during the holiday season!


  1. I love your little gouache kit. I've seen a lot of people use Altoids tins for pocket watercolor sets, but the Sculpey insert is a real innovation. I'm going to have to try this the next time I have access to an oven to bake Sculpey.

  2. This looks so good against the green background!!! Super job! Have a great Christmas!!

  3. Robert, this is a mini-Altoids container --- about 1/4 the size of the regular Altoids, so it's super handy, as long as you plan to use a small brush!

    Joan, hope you have a great Xmas too! Many thanks.

  4. Did you bake it with the gouache inside, or add that later? & does the gouache keep for a while - though there's not much to keep, but say if you didn't use it immediately, or is it once off?