Just Splashing Around

Every once in awhile, we need to just throw paint. That's what I was in the mood for when I did these two acrylic sketches! They were done from life, from potted plants in my studio. I let the paint spatter and drip, painted into it, made some drips, and just kept doing that until I had enough! This two page spread is about 14x10" in my homemade blue Pescia journal. It was painted with the same Golden Airbrush paints described in my previous post, as well as some Golden Fluid Acrylics for a bit more body to the paint.

I still have two blank pages to fill in this journal. I think my "Kinda Blue" theme played itself out. I was ready to be cheerful by the time I got to the paint-slinging phase here! I will definitely finish it up though as soon as the desire to sketch on something blue surfaces.

Thank you for following along through this journal. This week I'll be posting my review of the new Golden High Flow acrylics.


Birthday Flowers on Blue Pescia Paper

10x8", Noodlers Luxury Blue ink in  my Pescia light blue journal

A good friend sent me flowers for my birthday during the time I was working my way through this journal. In sticking with my "Kinda Blue" theme, I did a blue-on-blue sketch of some of the flowers, using Noodlers Luxury Blue ink in a Lamy Safari fountain pen. When I was finished, I took a fairly stiff brush to the flowers to brush out some shading color from the lines. This ink is fairly waterproof, but you can get a little color to move on it, which I find useful, especially when working in monochrome. I was continually impressed by how well this printmaking paper handled assorted media. In spite of little sizing, the ink did not bleed nor feather, and painted pages dried flat. Now that I've gotten into monoprinting, I've been doing some prints on it too. Great stuff! I didn't think I'd like blue paper as much as a warmer color, but it surprised me.


Three Page Hudson River Vista

This is a 10x22" spread across three pages in my blue Pescia journal. You can click on it to enlarge the image. (Here is a link to how I made this fabulous 16-page journal from a single sheet, in case you missed it.) It's a scene from Dennings Point Park facing downriver through the Hudson Highlands, with Bannerman Island showing on the right side, just in front of the mountains. I had been wanting to paint this for so long, and will probably do a larger version to frame and hang in the near future.

This painting was done with traditional brushes, but I used the Golden Airbrush paints to do it. That line of acrylic paints has been reformulated, and has just hit the market as the new Golden High Flow line. I ordered some as soon as they became available, and was delighted to see the color range expanded to include some colors that I sorely missed in the Airbrush line. I have the new paints here now, and will be posting a review of them next week.


Silverpoint in a Sketchbook

One of the things I experimented with in this blue Pescia book was silverpoint. Doesn't silverpoint have to be done on a hard surface with extensive preparation? Not anymore! Golden makes a Silverpoint Ground that I decided to test drive. I taped the edges of the page and gave it a couple of coats of the Silverpoint Ground. My daughter posed for me, and I sketched this in 20 minutes or so, using a silver stylus. I was really surprised by how well this technique worked out in a sketchbook! The page is 8x10", and the silverpoint sketch portion is about 8x6.5".

One of the problems with silverpoint is that there is no going back. You go right in with the silver stylus, and there is no pre-drawing nor erasing. What you put down stays there, mistakes and all. Initially, the drawing looks very light, like this one. However, over time the silver tarnishes. As it darkens and develops a beautiful patina, the contrast of the drawing increases. I wish there were a way to speed it along! One tip I can give you is that although you cannot erase, you can cover mistakes by painting on more Silverpoint Ground, waiting for it to dry, and then drawing over it. Not that I would do that. Ever. (I can't even type that with a straight face.) But in this case, I did not correct anything and it was sketched start to finish in one short sitting. Here is an image of just the sketch:

Here's a little video that's on the Golden website, which explains more about using Silverpoint Ground:

 Try it. You'll like it!


A Three Page Spread of Collage

This three page spread is about 10x22". I didn't take photos of the individual pages, but you can click the image to get a much wider, clearer view of it. It was done around Valentine's Day, hence the hearts on the left. Those started out as red paper heart doilies. I cut out parts of them, painted them with blue acyrlic, and decorated with a gold leafing pen. The paper snowflake on the right was cut out from blue patterned origami paper, which I then added to with gold paint. It was a memory of Sandy Hook and all the paper snowflakes that I made to send there. In the center of the three page spread is a poem about snowflakes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I copied it over and then painted over it with some glittery Mod Podge stuff, just to see what it would look like since I'd never used it. I kind of like it! I'm thinking I might paint over the cover of this sketchbook with it, since it's a polymer that would also protect the book.

This is the blue Pescia, 16-page journal that I discussed in yesterday's post.


Kinda Blue

The sketch above is Posie, my studio assistant, rendered directly with blue Big Brush Pitt Pens by Faber-Castell on heavy Pescia 100% rag paper in a delicious light blue color. Actual size is10x6". I'd always wanted an anatomical model from which to practice drawing in the winter when I don't have a model around. Posie has filled that role nicely. The full size artist anatomy models are hundreds of dollars, so when I saw five foot Posie in a Costco display around Halloween for $38, I brought her home with me.

In the cold, dark and dismal days of February, I made a separate sketchbook out of the blue Pescia paper to work out my winter frustrations for a couple of weeks, and I titled it Kinda Blue. This is one of my favorite drawing and printmaking papers, but during the course of completing this sketchbook with experimental this-and-that, I learned to love it for many other things too.

The sketchbook is 10x8", opens flat, has 16 pages give or take, and some fold-out three page spreads. It is made using a single sheet of standard 22x30" paper. I love making these books because I get a full little sketchbook out of one sheet, with no waste left over, which always makes me feel like I got a bargain! I generally use bookbinding thread, but in this case I couldn't find my thread and I used dental floss. It worked just fine. I learned how to make these books last year by watching Teesha Moore's outstanding video:

I did a few pages of pen and ink, covered a page with Golden Silverpoint Ground and did a silverpoint sketch of my daughter, made a three page spread of collage, and did a few acrylic paintings in it. I'll get those posted over the next several days, and hope to do a video flip-through too at some point. (I keep saying that but somehow never get through the learning curve to make it happen!)

These little books could never replace my hardbound sketchbooks; they are more like "special project" booklets. They come in handy for traveling when you can't lug a heavy sketchbook, and want a separate memory of a short trip, or if you have a special sketching project in mind that would be less than 16 pages. The book is very versatile, and you can build in various pockets using the fold-out sections if you have things to store from a trip, such as post cards, photographs, tickets, receipts, and notes. I used a couple of small pieces of the Pescia paper to make color notes and test assorted media. Then I made a pocket with the front flap and used it to store them, so I would have them for reference while I worked through the book. Those note cards came in handy to remember what materials and specific colors I used for the sketches.


Sketching at Kaaterskill Falls

(Click image for a larger, clearer view.)

A few days ago, I hiked up to the base of Kaaterskill Falls with some friends for an hour or so of sketching. I had previously done a multi-layered monoprint across this two page spread in my Stillman & Birn Zeta hardbound book. The little picture area borders were printed at that time (and later embellished with markers), so I used them to make vignettes of scenes at the falls. The first one, on the upper left, is the grand view of Kaaterskill Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in New York State, and appears in many Hudson River School paintings. The little round sketch to its right is a rock study. Rocks give me a wonderful way to examine how value and color change as the form turns toward and away from the light. The third little sketch (the oval) is my friend Athena, who was sitting next to me painting the falls in watercolor. The last tiny sketch is unfinished, because everybody was packing up to go at that point. I tossed all my stuff into my backpack and we hit the trail! These were all done in gouache over the acrylic background.