Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Catching Up with Latest Sketches

I've fallen behind again posting what I've done.  A lot going on between starting the new project mentioned in post prior to this one and a family member in the hospital that's struggling.

This is the monthly sketch I chose to put in my Fabric Journal/Planner for May.  I worked this when our sketch group went out last Saturday and a young man (about 8 or 9 years old) sat next to me watching what I was doing.  His mom was interviewing us about keeping sketch journals and our sketch outings that we plan.

This next one is worked in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.  It's one of the flowers growing where we went on Saturday.

Also from Saturday's outing, I worked a quick sketch using the Ipad.

This too is a sketch on the Ipad of my Mom in the hospital.  What a way to spend Mother's Day :-(

Mom was checking her message from me that I sent via Facebook Messenger sending hugs from all of us for Mother's Day.  My brother took the picture this is from to share with me that she was reading what I sent her.

Journaling For Someone Special Project

If you've never thought to do this, you might find the idea to be most exciting.....work a journal about your life and send to someone special as a keepsake.

Now, I'm not one to want to let my journals go to anyone....at least not at this point (will go to my sons one day).  I'm very possessive as I figure a lot of people are.  My journals are precious to me so I had to really think about this before committing to the idea.

I finally did and have a very special person in mind.  My journal pages will be very similar to what I do now but will include more personal information I might share with family or closest of friends but not to the public (like feelings, etc.)

To make this even more exciting was getting the recipient to do the same for me.  And he agreed :-)

After we both agreed to do this, I needed to decide on a journal.  I wanted one with lots of pages so I could write more than I normally do with my sketches.  And I wanted one that would accept any media you can put on paper to include a light wash.  I've tried so many different brands and I ended up settling on Global Arts Handbook.

I like the buff colored pages and the paper takes watercolor very well with only a slight buckling.  I paint wet in wet and heavier than probably what the paper is intended for.  But, works out just fine based on books I've already used in the past.  It has 128 acid free pages.

I could have gone with a Stillman and Birn but due to the thickness of the paper, I wouldn't get the number of pages I was hoping for. 

The day it arrived I started right away with the first page skipping the first couple of pages to add a dedication later.  And I've already worked seven pages and have only had it a couple of days.  I'm finding a different feeling..........more enthusiasm knowing I'm doing this for someone versus just for myself.  Of course I plan to continue working my own journals as well.

Because this is a special journal, I will not be sharing online.  To me if I did so would take away from the special gift meant only for my friend we actually see as family.

As for letting it go..............I at least will have scans and can always print them off and put into a spiral journal :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Folding and Cutting Paper for My Fabric Artist Journal / Traveler's Notebook

I thought I posted this but looking back, it doesn't appear I did.

My fabric journals are an odd size compared to how others might size theirs.  Definitely different than the standard size Traveler's Notebooks.  The paper folded is 5" wide by 8" high with the fabric cover measuring approximately 5.5" x 8.5" (closed).

Fabriano paper is my #1 choice to make these from so I needed to learn which direction the grain runs for best folding (so paper doesn't crack at the fold after a period of time opening and closing).

Although there might be a better layout, this is what I've been using to save on any waste after cutting.  I've also included the layout for Arches and Lanaguarelle since the grain direction runs differently from Fabriano (at least from the time of this post.........that could always change at some point with the manufacturers changing how they make their paper from time to time).

My Personal Fabric Artist's Journal / Traveler's Notebook Update

Thought I would share how I've set up my personal Fabric Artist's Journal / Traveler's Notebook created last month.   For now it's trial and error and I'll probably change or expand on this as I use it.

I'm taking a little from the Bullet Journal concept making mine into a planner/art journal to help me keep better organized with our sketching group.

**For more details / photos in the make-up of this particular AJ / TN.........follow this link:  http://sbwatercolors.blogspot.com/2018/04/my-second-fabric-fauxdori-artist.html

**To follow along with this journal concept project, sharing just how I made them, follow this link showing all related posts:


 (I've shown the URL's in case anyone has trouble on a direct link)


All of my page inserts are only folded strictly being held in place with the elastic bands.  I do plan to sew each insert group with the Saddle Stitch........although I might save the watercolor pages for AFTER I have finished sketching on them.  That way if I need to slide a page out to make it easier to sketch on, I can do so.

The large square beneath the calendar I'm leaving open for possibly a sketch for the month.  I haven't quite decided yet just how I'll use that area but that's the way I'm leaning.

Has Fabriano Watercolor Sheets Changed?

Ten years ago (plus), I was planning to work with beginners learning watercolor.  I had purchased paints, brushes and Fabriano Artistico 140 lb Cold Press paper in packs of 10 (back then) which were sold cut down to about quarter size.  I chose to do this so those I worked with were using the same materials as I was.

Fabriano has always been my #1 favorite with how I like to paint.  I liked the texture and the amount of sizing in the paper compared to other brands.  I also liked the fact my extra fine nibs didn't have trouble moving across the paper surface.

Anyways, I ended up with an overstock of supplies and have been using the paper purchased years ago until recent when I needed full sheets to tear down to the size signatures needed.

It seems different.  Feels different.  My pen nibs appear to hang and if I don't keep the nib moving, the ink feathers or spreads.

I know Arches changed but hadn't read anything about Fabriano changing.  I'm wondering if full sheets are made different from the cut down smaller size sheets packaged as I purchased years ago.  I just don't know.

Here are three pages in my Fabric Traveler's Notebook made last month using the new Fabriano.  I like how it handled the watercolor application (mainly wet in wet except the paint palette chart) and I used different pens........Lamy Safari EF nib, TWSBI EF nib (wetter feed), and a Sharpie pen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cactus Watercolor Sketch

This sketch is from another photo taken while on our sketch outing last Friday at Gail's sister's home in The Villages. 

Primarily watercolor but went back later with similar colors using Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils to darken some areas.

Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook and Lamy Safari with Lexy Gray ink

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Gathering

This is a page in my Fabriano Venezia sketchbook done yesterday using the Sharpie pen.

It started out as a continuous line........sometimes blind where I keep my eyes on the photo as I move my pen across the paper.  I did that off and on throughout the sketch.  It was not my intent to do so start to finish so I can't call it specifically a continuous line or blind contour drawing.

I'm getting used to the paper surface using watercolor on it and appreciating the results I can achieve.

Friday, May 4, 2018

My Nutty Brother

My younger brother likes to take strange looking selfies to share on Facebook to be funny.  One he posted I just couldn't resist working a sketch from.  This is one I can count on lifting my spirits (actually making me laugh) when otherwise feeling a bit down.

You gotta love him...........LOL

6B graphite brush tool

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Houses Everywhere.........

.............except in my watercolor sketch.

More and more natural (old Florida) landscape is being eaten up by construction of homes and businesses.  The Villages is one of the largest retirement communities in the USA........expanding across several counties in Florida.  They are made up of various themed communities depending on where they are located.   Just recently, our county has allowed The Villages to expand into Lake County with the newest one being developed is Fenney and I'm not sure what theme it's taking on just yet.

Our sketching group has been to a small section of Fenney that has been completed.  Near the recreation center is a small nature trail and a nice body of water.  I wasn't able to attend that outing but was given permission to sketch from a photo taken by one of the member's friends.

Thank you Ingrid Polz for granting me permission to use your photos for incentive and sketching material.

This is just a very small portion of a photo taken at Fenney.  Around the body of water are houses and I chose to leave them out.

Fabriano Venezia sketchbook and Pilot Prera fountain pen with Lexington Gray Ink. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Camellia Leaves

Here's my first for the month of May...........Camellia leaves outside my window.  This one is trying Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook. 

I am really enjoying the sketchbook's paper surface.  I'd enjoy it even more if I hadn't set limits on myself with what or how I sketch in it...........lol 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Monthly Challenge - Boat In or Out of Water

The monthly challenge my friend and I set each month was our boats for April.  I wasn't sure I'd get one done as it's not exactly a subject that peaks my interest in sketching.  So it was a challenge in itself just to find the desire to do this.  Plus the first half of this month I was into making fabric journals and wasn't sure just how much sketching I'd get done.

Today rolls around..........last day of the month.........and I decided to go ahead and give it my best shot even though, initially, my heart wasn't really into it.  And rather than work in a sketchbook, I chose to sketch on my Ipad.........so Ipad and I went outside early before the temperature got too high.   Funny but once I got started, it wasn't so bad.  :-)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Morning Dove Waiting His Turn

Today's watercolor sketch is of one of the several morning doves that tend to hog the feeders.  This guy sat and waited until the blue jay that was there left and then made himself at home smack center of the flat feeder.  I was surprised that he didn't just move in on the blue jay but this one didn't.  The others are not as polite........lol.

After working with the Sharpie felt tip pen, I decided to use my Lamy Safari fountain pen.  I'm truly starting to appreciate the use of felt tip pens like the Microns and the Sharpie.  They dry fast even on sized watercolor paper.  My ink took forever to dry and even smeared and transferred by the side of my hand. 

Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook

We Have at Least Two Hummers

We've noticed there are definitely two hummers coming to our feeders out front of our house.  There's a female and a male that we've come to recognize as regulars.  The male is easy to distinguish as he has what looks like a damaged beak.

He's smaller than the female by a good 1/2 inch. 

Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook

Yesterday's Sketch Outing

Yesterday there were eight of us that met up at Yahala Bakery to do some sketching.  There was live entertainment and many of the bikers who are here for Bike Fest happened to stop by as well.

We had a bit of excitement when two bikers collided with one leaving the bakery parking lot and another coming in.  I don't think anyone was seriously hurt.  And no one had to call the police either because there were six officers who had come in on their bikes and had just sat down at one of the outside tables when the accident occurred.  They all went running as did several other people there.

I chose to try and capture some of the folks that sat down to eat......trying to be real discreet as I don't like anyone seeing that I'm looking at them and sketching.  I always have this fear someone will say something to me that might deter me from wanting to sketch in public.  I definitely prefer taking sneak shot photos and sketching people at home!!!  They don't move and they don't see me actively sketching them :-)

Although we had a great time, it was quite noisy between the music playing, people trying to talk over the music, dogs barking that were brought there, and the noise of the motorcycles.  It was such a relief to get home and hear the beautiful sound of silence.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Cardinal from 2016

I am a bird fanatic and can sit for hours watching them.......as well as taking photos.  I love hearing their song throughout the day as to me it's relaxing.

Revisiting photos I took back in 2016, I decided to sketch from one of them.  It was a family of five that regularly visited our feeder we had set up in the back off the sun or Florida room where I spent most of my time.

Initially I was just going to leave it as a pencil sketch but then I love the various colors that I wanted to try and capture them using watercolor.

Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook / Sharpie pen

And I thought to scan along the way for a change :-)


The last couple of days I've just been doodling.......paper and digital.  Started out by doodling a couple of palms on the back of our checkbook as I was listening to TV.  Then I played on the Ipad using Procreate.

Playing on the Ipad, I would scribble odd shapes or blobs of black and using the eraser tool would cut and mold shapes.  I found that to be quite fun and relaxing.  Definitely different :-)

One small palm that is growing in our front yard, too close to another, Terry cuts off the top but it just grows back.  Eventually, I think he'd like to have it moved.  I worked that in the Venezia journal.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tackling a Busy Subject

Normally I stay away from busy scenes like this because my brain goes into overload and I often feel overwhelmed.  However, now and then I like to challenge myself and that's what I did tonight.

It took a little bit to focus in on one little area but once I was able to start, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I just took a small section at a time and built off of that.  On the page shows my starting point and the direction I worked.

Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook, 6B pencil, and Sharpie pen

After the Rain

This watercolor sketch is of one of the hummers that continues to come to our feeder out front.  We think there are two different ones but I'm not 100% sure.  At least the hummer(s) coming around do not have to fight others off like we're used to seeing back North.

It was after it rained and this guy came around to first drink the water droplets hanging on the feeder.  We've never seen that before and watched as he flew around licking up the water before finally settling down to drink the sugar water.  I was able to take several photos from which this sketch is based from.

Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook

Trying to Keep from Snacking

For years I've dealt with the need to snack after dinner.  I'm normally a night owl staying up way too late which adds to the problem.  My doctor claims it is "comfort eating" that I am plagued with so I try to occupy my mind and hands with sketching to help battle that.  Some evenings are better than others.  The plus side is that I've learned to snack on healthy foods but it sure doesn't help with my never ending battle of weight control.

Anyways.......last night I struggled and tried to sketch while watching TV.  Can't say it helped with the snack attack but I at least did a little sketching :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Memory from a Year Ago

This is from one of the photos taken while at Universal Studios last year. 

I decided to use the Venezia sketchbook I've dedicated to using pen only (plus color if I choose).  I've read where jumping in with pen frees people...........that it's liberating.  One day I MIGHT feel the same way but I think I'm a long way from feeling that sense of freedom..........ha ha.  Maybe by the time I reach the end of the sketchbook??? but I'm not going to hold my breath.  :-D

Comparing the Micron with the Sharpie Stylo

One of my good friends and sketching buddies here in Leesburg uses a Sharpie Stylo pen and loves it.  Finally I picked up a package and I have been using the Sharpie with several sketches to see what my thoughts might be.

I'm really liking this pen for a felt tip pen when sketching.  I've worked it on drawing paper and on watercolor paper with sizing in it.  I love the feel of the tip moving across the paper surface.  It just seems to glide across the surface.

I also like the fact it has more of a dark gray tone versus a stark black which I tend to stay away from.

On some papers, the difference in color or tone is not always evident unless you look real close in good lighting or zoom in with a scan.

This first example is working in the Fabriano Venezia which is a 90lb drawing paper.  There's no sizing in this paper.

This next example is from the Strathmore Visual Watercolor (140 lb CP) sketchbook which has a fairly heavy sizing (at least how I compare it to other papers with sizing).

What really was interesting to me was the experiment taking a wet brush immediately to the paper after scribbling marks with both "permanent" pens.  Just goes to show that the paper surface along with drying time allowed makes a big difference.  I did not bother trying this on non-sized paper since it grabs ink/pigment immediately without sitting on the surface for any period of time.  Testing this will hopefully help me to remember to allow some drying time before adding watercolor to the sketch.

And when the ink bled, there shows a major difference in the ink's pigment hue/tone

Before adding the water, I was able to visually see a difference in the tone between the Sharpie and the Micron.....although subtle.  It was much more apparent after the scan and I zoomed in to compare.


Sketching What's Right in Front of You

Yesterday was a day I just felt like moving pen/pencil across paper sketching whatever.  After the titmouse sketch, I decided to just sketch whatever my eyes landed on. 

On my desk sits Opal so I sketched him.  I was looking out the window and saw a clump of caladiums so I included them. 

Strathmore Visual WC sketchbook and Sharpie pen

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Bird Feeder Visitor

At our feeders I've categorized the birds by how they eat.

We have the take out or grab and go:  Titmice and black cap chickadees;

The casual diners you might see once in awhile; wrens, finches, black birds, and wood thrasher;

We have those that come, sit long enough to eat, and then leave:  cardinals, blue jays, and red bellied woodpeckers;

and then those who think the feeders are all-you-can-eat buffets, linger around often overstaying their welcome:  Doves

One in a class of its own ....... the bullies:  Mockingbirds who don't like to share with others and guards the food from a distance even when not hungry.

One of our normal take-out visitors actually decided to sit and eat this morning giving me a chance to take several photos as he enjoyed his breakfast.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Place that's About to be No More

The trailer or mobile home park that sits off Lake Eustis near Ferran park now basically sits empty of their occupants.  I learned that the property is being purchased for a new gated community called Eustis Lake Club.  There will be 86 single family homes (what they are calling bungalows) built on 11.5 acres of land and will have a Key West style with soft colors.  They plan to have a pool/ club house and lakeside boardwalk, as well as cobblestone and sidewalks.

Thought I would capture this scene before it no longer exists.

Fabriano Venezia sketchbook and Sharpie pen

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Crow? Blackbird?

After spending hours on the last bird, I worked this quick sketch of a black bird seen at Ferran Park.  It was about the end of our time out sketching when we walked over to the museum to check it out.  I didn't find it all that interesting so while the others were inside walking around, I went out taking photos.

I loved the cerulean blue look on the back of this bird.  Was it from a bluish sheen shining in the sunlight?  I have no idea but it grabbed my attention and I took the photo.  Technically you couldn't see the eye due to his head being in shadow but I decided to suggest one by lifting a bit of pigment.  I'm not even sure if it's in the right place..........lol.

Strathmore Visual WC Journal with Sharpie pen.

Anhinga Procreate Sketch

This one is also from our sketchcrawl at Ferran Park.  This Anhinga was sitting on a post right outside the Eustis Art Museum that is off Lake Eustis.

I tried adding a background of water lilies and didn't like it.  To me I just couldn't get the water lilies placed without making it look too busy and competing with the bird.  Next a created a layer of water behind him.  At this point I'm not sure which I like better.  Maybe blur the background a bit more but then maybe not.  I'll come back to this in a few days with fresh eyes and go from there.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Last Week's Sketch Outing - Ferran Park

I'm a bit slow uploading photos from my camera.  Finally got around to doing so this morning.

It was a gorgeous morning........sunny but a bit breezy.  Not so bad as it helped keep the bugs down.



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