RozWorks.com Visit my website to view journal selections, paintings, and book arts projects. For the most recent information on classes and workshops please click on "Classes" in the categories list of this blog.
Second "Design Recharge" Interview: April 1, 2015 In this second interview with Diane Gibbs at "Design Recharge" we focus on International Fake Journal Month. If you're wondering just what that is, I give a great description of it, and why you might want to participate. Also check out our earlier interview (below on this list) if you want more information about how I approach visual journaling.
First "Design Recharge" Interview: February 12, 2015 Diane Gibbs of Design Recharge interviewed me for International Fake Journal Month (2015). We get a little side tracked and talk a lot about sketching, visual journaling, and my creative process. It's a great interview.
Danny Gregory and I Discuss Visual Journaling Sadly a two part podcast from May 2008 made with Danny Gregory, author of "An Illustrated Life," is not currently available. We talked about journaling, art media, and materials…If this becomes available again in the future I will let you know.
Finding Bits of Time Ricë Freeman-Zachery, author of "Creative Time and Space," talks to me about finding time to be creative. (Taped October 23, 2009.)
I'm posting today to reach anyone who read my blog and purchased the special 10-tube Schmincke Horadam Gouache Set in the past week.
If you purchased this set of gouache last week and followed the instructions it contained for retrieving my Gouache PDF, and you downloaded it before 10:30 CDT today (May 9, 2016), note that there is now a revised handout up in the same location.
I hope you will follow your set's instructions and download the corrected PDF.
(Check the running foot on your handout. If it says "May 8, 2016" before the page number at the bottom of the page you have the REVISED version. If it just says "May" you need to go and retrieve a new one.)
I apologize for any confusion, but yesterday a student who had purchased the set asked me a question. He had not yet received the set. To save myself having to write a lengthy note I went to the PDF to verify that I'd answered that question. (I write so much about gouache it does all tend to seem like one big everlasting document!)
At that point I saw I indeed did answer his question. but also I had inadvertently used an early version of my first chart. It didn't match the text.
I immediately fixed the document and sent a new version to Wet Paint. Wet Paint has placed the corrected PDF in the SAME location. Please use your special information to go and download that revised handout.
You will notice immediately if you go to the bottom of page one that the running foot says "May 8 2016." That and the fact the p.6 chart is different, will verify that you have the new one.
If you haven't received your set via mail yet you don't have instructions on how to get a PDF, so you don't have to worry. When you do receive your set and you follow the instructions in your set you'll find the revised handout already in place.
I'm sorry for any confusion the other PDF caused—things happened very quickly! The chart and text will now make sense.
Earlier this year Wet Paint's manager Darin Rinne asked me if I would like to select a new custom set of this paint. Of course!
Sets always come in at a great price and that means more people can try gouache, fall in love with gouache, and make gouache so popular that Wet Paint will stock it forever! (That's my goal because I like driving over to Wet Paint and buying a tube whenever I need one!)
I selected colors for this set that would be useful for color theory and for artists interested in using a palette of warm and cool primaries. Not only will these colors get you started but you'll be able to grow in your understanding of gouache with them. (And who doesn't want to do that? Come on, it's the most fun paint ever!)
Once the details of the set were worked out with Schmincke (this is an exclusive set for Wet Paint), I still wasn't allowed to say anything as the arrival date wasn't known yet.
Imagine my excitement when I learned they had come in.
What's so great about Schmincke Horadam Gouache?Well it is smooth and luscious and easy to work with. It is packed with pigment and doesn't contain opacifiers. You can paint light washes with this paint or layer it on. It doesn't crack like some other brands. And Schmincke's colors are rich when mixed, not cloudy. It also has no unpleasant or harsh odor!
Even more exciting, you can put it in your own pans and rewet it when you take it out into the field (I talk about putting it in pans in the short video, but the video also tells you how you'll get more information about this paint when you buy the set).
The other great thing about the set is the price: $129.99 (the MSRP is $268.75).
So which colors come in the box?
Purple Magenta, Scarlet Red, Vermillion Tone, Indian Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Helio Turquoise, Helio Blue, Delft Blue (which is PB60 if you're wondering), Burnt Sienna, and Titanium White.
I cannot say enough good stuff about this paint. It's the best gouache I have ever used (and I've used every gouache I could get my hands on my whole life).
I think that every day I get to paint with this paint is a great day, so naturally I try to paint with it every day. Sure, like any new medium you have to learn its quirks, but when you do, well it's probably the most forgiving paint there is. I was writing about just that very thing yesterday on the blog, not knowing what a great day it would be today!
If you have ever taken a class from me, or if you read this blog regularly, you'll know that "Fun Factor" is huge for me. I like to experiment and push myself, but I also like to have fun in the process and this paint allows me to do just that.
There hasn't been a better time to try gouache.
Right now at Wet Paint there are 200 sets of Schmincke Horadam Gouache waiting to go out into the world. Watch the video to learn about the secret surprise.Then decide if it's time to start having fun with gouache!
Left: Small Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and Schmincke Gouache painting on Arches Cold Press Watercolor board. (4-3/16 x 6-5/8 inches for live area.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Two days into May and I found that I really couldn’t give up the Arches Cold Press watercolor board, yet. I took a scrap of it and taped the sides leaving only a relatively small window: 4-3/16 x 6-5/8 inches.
Dick said he would sit for me. (Really, this has to stop—he has important stuff to do. I might have to get a puppy!)
I picked up the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and sketched quickly. Then I started to paint with gouache but it was like my brain wouldn’t work. After a month of painting with watercolor my brain still hadn’t moved into gouache mode again. (The final painting for IFJM was a gouache painting but it was non-natural colors so it didn’t matter which colors I put down as long as the values were working—I wanted this sketch to be more realistic.)
After about five minutes I got up and left the room. I washed off all the paint. I dried the board with a heat gun. What remained? The ink lines and some angry slashes of staining colors.
I had another go. For a few minutes things would go well. Then they wouldn’t. Usually they stopped going well at the exact moment I started to feel cocky and believed it was all working out.
Normally I have a plan of attack when I make a painting. I know which pigments I’m going to use to get the desired results—natural or non-natural color is also a decision I make up front.
On Monday I was working with pigments I’d put out two days before. They were sealed and still soft. (I put my working palette in a plastic bag with a little bit of moisture on the palette in the form of a small piece of folded paper towel which is wet.)
Frankly I just wanted to paint something and feel the gouache move around on the paper (or in this case the board).
Left: Detail from the image above so you can see the thick and thin applications of paint. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
It seemed like an eternity, with me putting down a color and adjusting it, and then working elsewhere while it dried, and repeating. Of course the eyebrows were an issue, but overall I really liked the proportions of the head. It was just that the left (our left) was too far out.
I can hide a lot with gouache—if you look at the finished piece the dark lines you see are 99.9 percent paint. None of the sketch lines in the face are visible, except on at the right on the brow, one under the eye on the right. The shirt lines are all still visible. I didn’t want to do anything with them.
But even though I can hide a dark ink line with gouache things were taking so much effort I didn’t want to work at it. I took a Montana marker and covered the background in raspberry (that’s what I call it I don’t know if that’s what they call it). I cut back into the ear on the left (you can see some paint lines under the acrylic marker).
Next I messed with the hair for a bit. He doesn’t have gray hair, but there is some very light blonde and white hair now. There is also a lot of darker “remnant ginger” as I like to call it. And then of course there is the greenish tinge that all those hours in the pool impart on blonde hair.
I put in the darkest areas and then worked elsewhere, going back with lighter layers when the darker ones were dry. I blended a bit, I added more darks, it finally resembled something like Dick’s hair—which yes, needs to be cut and does stick out at all angles like that. I think it’s charming. (On the few occasions he actually combs his hair—weddings, funerals—I find it actually a little unsettling to look at him.)
Left: Just for grins, here's the quick pen sketch. I don't draw out the hair to its ends because I know I'm going to have to cover the ink lines and a lot of ink out where it's wispy would be difficult. I also only put the vaguest of outlines of the eyebrow extension for the same reason. You can clearly see that gouache allows me to keep refining. The edges of the board have been taped. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Of course I needed to adjust the eyebrows throughout all this. They are vague here because basically they are vague in real life—who knows where they really begin and end.
What I’m most happy about is I did get a little bit of the cavern of recession beneath those eyebrows, but didn’t make the values so dark there that he looked excessively tired.
It’s the most age appropriate sketch I’ve done of him in ages. (Either I make him look too young or too old.) And he has a great patient look—appropriate for someone who kindly sat still for an hour and 15 minutes so I could paint.
Are there things I would change? Sure. There always are. But I like it as a step back from watercolor to gouache—without my head exploding.
I realized how few colors I work with in gouache compared to watercolor, and yes I was testing a new watercolor palette in my 2016 IFJM journal, but even so it was three times as many pigments (though I didn’t use them all in every painting!!). And I reminded myself that I was working with left over colors. If I’d had out my full gouache palette, or set out colors specifically for this project things would have been different—they can always be different.
I think that’s what I love so much about painting.
It’s about “What can I do right now, with what I have. Make a plan, go!” I just have to remember to make the plan!
I do love this cold press watercolor board—I have a bunch more of them.
The best remedy for painting withdrawal is to paint more…
Above: Flyleaf page (black) and title page of a Flexbook Sketchbook. There is type set on this page where the eye of the finch is located. (Typically I paint over these annoyances.) There is also a place to write your name and return information at the bottom center of the page. Click on the image to view an enlargement and read my comments about the pens and paint used.
Towards the end of 2015 I started working in a series of Flexbook Sketchbooks. (Please note “SKETCHBOOKS” as part of the name of this product. The sketchbooks made by this company use thicker paper. If you are a writer or draw in pencil or other dry media check out my review of the Flexbook Carne Vierge, Blank Notebook.)
If you go to the company’s web site you will see photos of one of their books being bent backwards so that the covers touch! Yes you can do this with this sketchbook. I have done it with mine.
The Flexbook Sketchbook comes in two sizes: 6 x 8.5 inches (which I think is the prefect size for visual journaling and sketching on site as it easily fits in most bags), and the 8.5 x 12.25 inch size which is perfect for folks who like larger books, or want a studio sketchbook.
Each contains 96 blank pages of what they describe as a “Munken Special white paper.” The paper is 170 gms and it is acid-free.
Note: all the images in this post are from a large 8.5 x 12.25 inch journal unless otherwise stated.
Above: This is the first page spread, after the title page and flyleaf. The paper at the left is collaged in place to cover annoying product information typeset right on that page. (Ick.) Click on the image to view an enlargement and read my comments about working on this paper with brush pen and watercolor. Having filled two more of these large books and almost filled a small one since this first page spread, I've become more accepting of the idiosyncratic behavior with wet media. The crease on this first spread, at the gutter, however, is an essential factor of the book's construction, and the way the flyleaf paper is attached. It only happens on this page and the penultimate page in the book.
The books have a “soft” cover which is made of stiff card that they describe as “Fedrigoni Savile Row Tweed Uncoated board with a fabric texture.” Think of it as a stiff card stock what is going to wear VERY WELL as you carry the book about with you and pull it in and out of your pack or purse.
Left: This page spread has been included to show you the type of "leakage" you might expect through the sewing holes from one spread to the next within a signature. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I can sum up what I like and don’t like about these books. What you see throughout this post is a series of scans of my pages that you can click on to enlarge. On those pages you’ll find additional notes from me which you can read if you are interested.
Left: Let this image count as another "Eyebrow Update." Here the entire page was covered with light blue and orange Montana Acrylic Marker. I then used a Platinum Carbon felt-tipped brush pen to make this contour sketch of Dick watching TV. Finally I used a darker blue acrylic marker for the background around him. If you click on this image and blow it up you will find notes on paper thickness—Dick measured the paper thickness of several of the commercially bound journals I've been experimenting with and I wanted to note this information down in one location so that when I indexed this journal I would be able to relocate it instantly.
The books open flat for scanning—though sometimes at the glue joins between signatures those pages need help. And at the front and back of the book creasing can occur as you'll see in my images. Overall flat opening is what you get.
The books have sewn signatures and there is a fabric covered spine strip. (Black, green, or red.) The books also have the now ubiquitous elastic strap to hold them closed.
Note: expect the books to come shrink wrapped. When you open them the covers are going to start to warp a bit curling away from the text block. This seems to be a standard thing in soft covers and I wouldn’t worry about it. You can always use the elastic strap that comes standard on the books.
Left: Another Pentel Brush Pen (pigment/squeezy barrel) portrait with Montana Marker in the background. This paper does tend to cause the acrylic markers to leave a dry brush effect so you need to go over the areas a little more than you would on a slicker, smoother paper. I like the variation. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
The sewing holes are oven overly large and this sometimes makes the pages looser as you work through the book—but nothing outrageously loose or about to fall out. I only mention this because it means that there is more leakage of wet media from spread to other spread, via the sewing holes. You'll want to watch this and adjust your working methods accordingly by working carefully at the spine. I also recommend you scan your work as soon as you can, before it is infiltrated by wet media migrating from later in the signature.
Left: I included this spread to show how the paper really holds a nice crisp ink line. (Note also the wet media come through the sewing holes.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I have really enjoyed working in the SKETCHBOOK. It really can be folded back on itself—useful for when I’m standing in the bathroom at the mirror, trying to sketch a selfie.
Above: I included this image because it shows some interaction of watercolor on the figures, with brush pen (PPBP)—with Montana Acrylic Marker for the background, and various poster pens for writing. Click on the image to view an enlargement and read more details.
The book has annoying fly-leaf papers that cause you to loose a portion of the title page, but you could still work on it a bit. More annoying is a “write up” about the product on the first verso (left) page. (I tend to collage or paint over all these “offending” intrusions.
Left: See some minimal bleed through of watercolor paint and ink from a pigment brush pen, and other notes. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
The paper is not as opaque as I would like, but sufficiently opaque that I work almost exclusively in Pentel Pocket Brush Pen in this journal. After drying you will notice OVER TIME, some rub-off of this ink on the opposite page in a spread. I scan images as I go along, every couple of days. I recommend you do that if you want your image at its best. This is no worse than most other commercially bound sketchbooks currently available.
The paper will warp and buckle if you use wet media (even with the Montana Acrylic Marker) but it is well within the tolerances I have for buckling paper. I like the wonderful sound buckled paper makes when you turn the pages—all that used paper, progress and process.
Left: Click on this image to view an enlargement and see how on the recto page you can see the ink sketch that follows. This is NOT bleed through—this is showing the paper opacity. I find that this amount of showing through is totally acceptable. (Ears and hair, what can I say?)
The paper is NOT WET MEDIA PAPER, HOWEVER I continue to paint on it with both watercolors and gouache.I find that if you adjust your water usage and allow first layers to completely dry you can get quite a lot accomplished on this paper. If you don’t allow early layers of paint to dry you will find that the successive layers cause the paper to pill and you may also experience bleed through of your wet media.
Above: On this spread you see me working with a Pentel pigment ink squeezy brush pen and layers of Schmincke Pan Watercolors. (The background is Montana Acrylic Marker.) If you drop ink on this paper, regardless of the type of ink (pigment or dye) it will almost always bleed right through—keep a towel handy. If you allow the watercolor you layer on to DRY WITH EACH LAYER you will probably not get seep through. I have managed this repeatedly. However, the moment you get too eager and apply more wet paint onto still wet paint you start to wear through the paper and seeping typically results.(Ears and hair…) (Pen comments at the top left are about a specific pen I was testing and have nothing to do with the paper quality.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Dye based ink products such as the Pentel ColorBrush line will seep through the paper regardless of any additional water you use with the product. You’ll need to decide if this is a deal breaker for you or not. I don’t mind it.
Above: Here you see me using a Sepia Pentel ColorBrush to sketch a figure. It flows nicely on this paper and the slight tooth of the paper allows interesting line qualities. You will notice on the recto page that there is both SEE-THROUGH of the following portrait sketch, which was also done with this pen, as well as BLEED THROUGH, you can see areas near the nose and mustache on the right page that are coming through. I found that there was ALWAYS BLEED THROUGH when using DYE-BASED INKS on this paper, even if you were using those inks without additional wet techniques (such as diluting them to move them on the page). Click on the image to view an enlargement.
The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen loves this paper. I recommend it. Other pens also work exceptionally well on this smooth, slightly toothed paper. The Sakura Pigma Sensei is a notable example.
Left: I used two Lyra Ferby metallic pencils to make a quick value study/sketch. They felt great on this paper and it was what decided me on taking these books to life-drawing after testing. There is sufficient tooth on this paper that other color pencils such as Prismacolors and Faber-Castel Albrecht Dürer watercolor pencils (used dry) work great on this paper. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Dry media like color pencils and graphite will have just enough tooth on this paper to grab well. I love using this paper at life drawing.
I do not recommend watercolor or watersoluble pencils used wet on this paper as the paper isn't amenable to the treatment and the results are dingy.
I still have some media experiments to do with this paper, but it has proven useful for my most regularly used media.
This commercially made sketchbook is currently my favorite for quick sketches in the studio, working out things in the studio (notes, thumbnail sketches, etc.), and life drawing.
Note: The Flexbook SKETCHBOOK (all caps for emphasis so you compare the correct version from them) is sort of a replacement for the Fabriano Venezia Journal with which I've had such spine disintegration problems. I write "sort of" because I still have a couple FVJs unused and intend to use them for studio sketchbooks, and because the papers in these two books are so different. (The paper in the FVJ is suitable for wet media without as many compromises to technique.)
My favorite commercially bound journal for visual journaling—i.e., carrying with me about town, or making small paintings, or doing experiments when great paper is a necessity, is STILL the Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal. (I prefer the softbound version that is 7.75 x 9.75 inches which is the perfect page size for such work, for me.)
Obviously, to regular readers, my ultimate favorite journal is one I bind myself with the paper I want to use, in the size I want to use it.I haven't been able to bind as much lately because of my shoulder issues, however, my favorite paper for binding right now is the Strathmore 500 Series Mix Media paper. I also like binding some watercolor papers which you can read about elsewhere on the blog.
Left: Pentel pigment brush pen sketch of Dick sitting in the TV room. (See shirt label at base for the only remaining ink line in the sketch. Other darks are blended neutrals in paint.) Another spread from my end-of-year Nideggen 7-1/2 inch journal. This sketch was made with brush pen and Schmincke Gouache from life working with a very patient model (5 minutes to sketch and 25 minutes to paint). I had thought to only work up the eyes and leave the rest of the texture that that had been prepainted on this page, visible. But I started without a clear plan in my head and then just used up the paint I had on the palette. I did build up some contrast with a mixed dark neutral, but I avoided adding any contrast in the shadows of the shirt. I didn't want the eye to go there. Yes there is green in his hair. (Green, purple, orange are a triad. But Dick is a blond swimmer who doesn't put product in his hair. Tell me you can't see the green?) At the bottom of the post you'll see the prepainted page. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Usually I work in my journals chronologically. If I texture and put color on a page I work on it when I get to that page, just in the course of events. But sometimes, like when you’re at a meeting, working on a texture to write notes is a bit difficult, so I skip a pre-painted spread and work on the next page.
Left: Detail so you can how I was applying paint quickly with the filbert. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
By the time I finish a journal this typically means that I have one or two page spreads in the journal that have textured backgrounds but no sketch or journaling. I go back in and use up those pages.
I’m always ruthless about those pages. If the texture is great I work all over it anyway, and as you can see here I even obliterate it. It’s too bad. I had a lovely English Red color gently migrating across the spread. I would have been able to read those meeting notes! Now the only place you see it is at the forehead and base of the sketch.
Left: The five minute brush pen sketch that I used as the basis of this painting. Click on the image to view the enlargement. (It's a little off in color because I took a photo of the book lying on the floor in dim light.)
But what fun to paint with gouache on this paper. I couldn’t stop.
The new year will be full of fun textures to paint on. Some of them will remain "secret."
Below: The prepainted page (acrylic), before I did the pen and gouache sketch. Click on the image to view an enlargement and when you do you can also see the lovely fiber flecks in this paper.
Left: Pentel Brush Pen and Schmincke pan watercolor sketch (Translucent Orange and Helio Blue Reddish) on Nideggen paper, in a 7.5 inch handbound journal turned vertically. The Baron Quinn, played by Martin Csokas on "Into the Badlands" on AMC. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
If you don’t like movies and TV shows which include violent action scenes, fights, battles, and acrobatic martial arts engagements just click away today. I’ve got nothing for you.
Remember this blog is "My Many Enthusiasms."
He had me at “martial arts.”
I couldn’t wait for Sunday (at 9 p.m. [CST] on AMC) to come around after my massage therapist told me about the new show “Into the Badlands.” It was advertised as full of sword fights and leaping combatants. David knows I grew up watching all the Samurai movies. He knows I enjoy ninja movies.
The first 15 minutes or so of the first episode of "Into the Badlands" did not disappoint. We’re launched immediately into a battle (with leaps, twists, lots of blades, really incredible stuff). Then the actors started to talk and I got up and wailed. The acting was stiff and painful. The dialog was tortuous. Then magically we were back to an epic battle. I think this was the street in the rain that hit all the right notes, but I didn’t keep notes so I might just be remembering what I want to remember.
And then there was acting. And I stood up and wailed again.
Two weeks later when I saw David again we started talking at once. “How about the opening of ‘Badlands’?” “Yeah, the sword play, the jumps…” “and then…” “yeah, and then,”
In unison—“they talked.”
We agreed to hold off judgement because the battle scenes were too good to miss. We'd watch another episode.
Since then we’ve separately decided that the acting has stepped up a bit and the writing has improved. We both have favorite characters. But I told him I was quite concerned about the storyline/motivation/backstory crap that was visible on the horizon that the Widow is trying to sell about men taking advantage and all being evil, which is so tired and worn (I can’t say more without spoilers). SERIOUSLY!?
Let’s examine something for a moment. The Widow is said to have killed her husband. She is a badass combatant whenever she needs to be. Yet she sends her daughters in to fight for her. We are always seeing her daughters fight, win a skirmish, and then the Widow strolls out of the brush somewhere without a drop of sweat or blood on her.
What mother treats her daughters that way when she’s supposedly trying to protect them?
I don’t buy it.
David, being two decades my junior and the product of those generational groups in which boys were encouraged to share their feelings, or at least have feelings, would like to buy this story line, or if not buy it, at least indulge it for a moment. He argued that generals can’t go into battle. I countered with “She’s their mother,” and some expletives which we’ll just leave deleted.
He comes back with a repeat of the statement that generals never go into battle. Mostly he’s laughing at how agitated I’m becoming. (By this time, which is before the massage, I am actually leaping up and down myself.)
Then I start reeling off names of generals who are famous for going into battle. I began with the Ancients, not pausing for breath (or any discussion of “victors writing history”) and worked on up through the British Wars and American Wars into and including the American Civil War.
At which point David said, “Sherman,” and all I could do is look at him oddly. “Sherman didn’t die in the Civil War,” I replied. But Davidsaid, “OK, Stonewall Jackson.” By this time I was jumping up and down while excitedly listing off generals. I wasn’t going to stop and concede Jackson because that was friendly fire.
So I kept going, not allowing the slightest pause for interruption, though he was trying, and it threw me off my game. I blurted out “George Armstrong Custer.” Then both of us smirked at each other in unison.
“Though that didn’t work out so well for him,” I continued.And we both laughed at the end of my logic. I had wanted to throw Teddy Roosevelt at him, but he wasn’t a general when he led the charge on San Juan Hill. And as I said, I was working through the Civil War. But this stalled me, I can only hold so many generals in my brain at one time. (Cary Grant movies, production dates, etc., now that’s another thing.)
Yes by the time someone is a general he is surrounded by guards, etc., but there are so many examples of generals going into battle.
And the Widow is the MOTHER of her fighters (at least some of them, it’s unclear how many). That’s just too different.
My point through all this is that she shouldn’t be hiding in the bushes letting young girls do her dirty work. She should get out there and fight, and be honest about the reasons she’s fighting. All men are not evil.
Of course on this show everyone is pretty messed up.
But they can really fight. And if you find such battles fun, exciting, beautifully choreographed, or exquisite bits of filming and CG, then there is something here for you even if the writing still lacks some force and the acting is only just warming up.
Did I mention there are great hairstyles and ears!? And beards!
Above: Sketch of a Belgian fashion designer—sketched of course because of his ears. Really. Schmincke pan watercolors and Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on Nideggen paper in a handmade journal 7.5 inches square. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I’ve already admitted to having way too much fun in the 7.5 roughly square journal I made with Nideggen that I’m using right now (and only have a couple pages to fill, so sadly it won’t last, but of course I could make another…)
This is one of the pieces that really kicked up the fun. I had a different palette of colors out and Dick had gone to bed, so rummaging in the studio would only wake him.
When I showed the piece to my friend Diane, who is a colorist, and I mean with her paints and pastels, not a hairdresser, and not someone who works in coloring books (I understand that’s how the word is being used now), her chin dropped. She probably couldn’t remember the last time I’d used a blue with green leanings. Even if it was a red shade variant and so less green leaning than others.
Left: Detail of today's image I added at 9:20 a.m., because it really bothered me that the blow up of the whole image was so small, and you really didn't need to look at all that negative space. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I don’t like Marine blues! That pretty much puts the Phthalo Blues out of the way for me, which is of course what Helio Blue, Red Shade or not, is, a Phthalo Blue.
We chatted about it for quite some time. I was still getting accustomed to my fascination with Helio Blue Reddish. I long ago gave my heart to that Translucent Orange.
I paint with gouache on Nideggen all the time, but I had so much fun using these vibrant watercolors on this paper that I am hard pressed right now to think of a reason to return to white paper.
It helps of course that the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is so fun to use on this paper.
Above: Two gouache portraits in my 7 1/2 inch square journal that I made with Nideggen. You can see some of the toned paper coming through in the face on the left. None of the paper is showing on the right. The drawings were done independently of each other and even though they are on the same spread they are studies not meant to relate to each other. Read the post for more detail. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I am pretty giggly these past few weeks as I work my way through a 7 1/2 inch square journal I made with Nideggen. I love the way all the media I like to use work on it. (You’ll see a bunch of examples in the coming weeks.)
Here’s what I have to say today:
Note: “Left” and “Right” used below, refer to this first image in the post.
1. If you can’t get out and sketch because it is dark by the time you return from eldercare and the zoo closes at 4 p.m. from now on until April, sketch anyone around, and if that anyone isn’t around maybe there’s a favorite TV show? Sketch something. (These are based on two actors in "The Irish R.M.")
Left: Detail from the verso (left) page. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
2. If you see a pair of ears you like sketch them.
3. If you want bold lines and simplified form pick up your Pentel Pocket brush pen.
4. If you want color there’s never a better time to get out the gouache.
5. Better yet, what about the gouache you had left over from yesterday’s painting session. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right colors out, jump in anyway.
6. Maybe some fresh white is useful for tinting—Sure, of course it is.
7. If you’re using M. Graham or Schmincke gouache the old, dried gouache will rewet well on the palette. Give it a good spritz before you start sketching and it will be good to go. Really. (I live in a cold, dry climate, in a cold, dry house, so if I can reconstitute paint so can you!)
8. Experiment and play with a Filbert. You can get so many lines or strokes off the different edges.
9. Enjoy the feeling of pushing the paint around. REALLY ENJOY IT. It’s thick, it fights back ever so slightly, it can be smooth, it can be left stroky (OK you know that’s a word right?) and textured if you like it that way. Why not?
10. If you’re working on toned paper leave some of the tone. (Left)
11. Simplify your color approach and think about value shapes.
Left: Detail from the recto (right) page. Some of the black brush pen lines peek through, but most have been covered. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
12. Go ahead and allow yourself to get fussy if you can’t resist it. (And by the second painting I couldn’t resist getting fussy.)
13. Let your bold pen lines come through. (Left)
14. Cover up your bold pen lines. (Right)
15. Enjoy the sound of the page when you turn it now that it has been slightly warped and deformed by the wet media.
16. Think about all sorts of things to say about these paintings and the following brush pen sketch.
17. Think about caricature and how it exaggerates shape and negative space for a certain emotional effect. (Left)
Left: Previous (two days earlier) sketch of actor Peter Bowles using PPBP on 9 x 12 inch Bienfang Watercolor paper (inexpensive pad I was testing before giving to a child artist, no decision yet, look for a review in 2016). Click on the image to view an enlargement.
18. Think about likeness and how it attempts to capture a specific individual whether stylistically (left) or realistically (right); and how you may be temperamentally unsuited to doing anything in a totally realistic fashion (right—the use of blue), but how that has never hindered any enjoyment.
19. Enjoy that enjoyment.
20. Jot down your thoughts, which have gone very philosophical, on a yellow pad.
21. Then lose the yellow pad because you’re busy filming classes for Spring 2016 and the studio tables are heaped with projects you set “aside.”
22. Write one of the shortest posts in the history of your blog.
23. Suggest your readers chat amongst themselves about likeness, caricature, and artistic temperament.
24. Go back to painting, there’s still some gouache on that palette.
Above: 6 x 6 inch page in a wirebound journal. Stonehenge gray paper. Rubberstamp ink (background) with gouache painting of a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. This is a page from my 2015 Fake Journal. I began with a very light pencil outline. It might even have been orange pencil. I mixed blacks using Dark Indigo (PB 60) and Burnt Sienna in the Schmincke Horadam Gouache line. I also used a bit of Titanium white for highlights. The text was a large rubber stamp wheel on which you could "set" short messages, and the numbers were an office stamp kit. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I never use black paint.*
People ask me about this all the time. Then they give me a look that indicates they think I’m fibbing.
Look closely at my paintings. I may have black ink lines (sometimes light black ink lines), but no black paint.
The blacks in my paintings come from mixing complementary pairs.
Some pairs work better for this than others. Happily for me, my favorite blue (PB60, aka Indanthrone Blue, Indanthrene Blue, Anthraquinone Blue, Delft Blue…all depending on which line you’re looking at, but all PB60), when mixed with Burnt Sienna (ah, which is an open question as manufacturers use that color name for a variety of pigments; so experiment and find one that works for you) makes a wonderful range of dark neutrals. (Or what I like to think of as Malamute gray.)
With PB60 and Burnt Sienna you can make warm and cool neutrals. The variation is endless.
Project Friday Instructions:
I encourage you to do some experiments this weekend with complementary pairs.
Find dark neutrals you can’t live without.
Find neutrals you can use for your shadows when working with an appropriate color family. (First select a color family you want to use and then get the neutrals you can out of it—yes this is beginning to sound a lot like color theory homework. Deal with it.)
Find neutrals that describe the fur or feather of your favorite friends. (Take some complementary pairs to the zoo or a farm, and sketch away.)
Find neutrals that allow you to work richly in a monochromatic mode. (Make your friends and family sit still long enough so that you can sketch them and paint them monochromatically.)
Don’t relegate this project to Friday. Go for it all weekend, and emerge on Monday with new solutions and a whole new vocabulary for black. A color vocabulary that draws the viewer in and rewards the effort of close, attentive viewing.
Start reading the pigment information on your watercolors. Knowing which pigments you have access to, which can work for you in this way, you’ll be able to put umph in your contrast issues too.
Leisure Reading That May Help You with Your Project Friday:
–––––––––––––– *Never, say never, OK, I get that. As soon as this posts, I'll probably find myself doing a series using some paint that is 90 percent carbon black. AH, well. But the day after that I will be back to mixing my neutrals, it's just so much more interesting.