Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On the Subject of Paper

Recently my friend Roz, a paper expert of the first order, was asked to write and article about one of our favorite papers, Strathmore Aquarius II, for the Strathmore paper company. It was just published in their artist newsletter. The image above is from a sweet journal Roz made for me out of this great paper. Other images from this sketch book are included in her article. I find this an ideal paper for watercolor--it stands up to lots of scrubbing, holds a nice pen line without bleeding and doesn't wrinkle. Perfect.
This little painting above (on 140# Arches, cold press) was inspired by the sketch from my journal. The variation in intensity of the color between the two images is due to the harder finish of the Arches and also the fact that I was quickly working on the small lid of my Schmincke traveling palette and the colors were getting a little muddy. But you can get intense colors on the Aquarius, too. I also have a bigger array of paints available in my studio than what I carry with me for sketching so I have used additional colors.

Aquarius II is a terrific choice for a journal. Among other things the paper folds nicely without cracking on the fold. A characteristic that is good when you need a journal that will take the inevitable abuse I give it while holding it open in all kinds of weather.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Time to Change Out My Palette

A few weeks ago fall colors were brilliant in central Minnesota. The color change was so dramatic compared to late summer that I had to make changes in my traveling watercolor palette. Out went the cobalt teal and in went pyrrol and cadmium oranges. I have used up a lot of the cerulean blue since the sky color has changed. My nathamide maroon is also in heavy use. Mixed with with pyrrol red and burnt sienna (especially when you use various amounts of each) it can represent the changing oak foliage.

Above is a field sketch. Below is a small watercolor done

with this as an inspiration.

I don't necessarily use local color in my pastels and oils, but they are evident in my field studies--it is the fastest way for me to get the light right. Even my studio watercolor paintings like the one above is more representative of local color. (Yes, there is a lot of pink in the grasses.)

A note on fall greens. In the little study below I used some sap green which is a mixture of Quinacridone gold (PO49) and Pthalo green(PG7). I do use Quin gold but I'm a little leary of having powerful pthalo green on my palette. Even in the fall you need some green and the sap green is very useful. Last year I started to use Daniel Smith's Serpentine green. It is lovely and I seem to be going through a lot of it. It is expensive but I'm not sorry I bought a tube.