Thursday, May 31, 2018

Testing Watercolor Papers

Recently I ordered sheets of Fabriano Artistico Soft, Strathmore 500, and Stonehenge Aqua to do some experimenting for future handmade journals.

I've learned that Fabriano Artistico Cold Press has changed and my feelings for it have changed as well.  It used to be my #1 favorite.  Now I'm trying to find another paper that comes close to the characteristics I loved about the FA Cold Press of years ago.

Here are examples of my playing.  Way too soon to say a whole lot about the papers and my feelings.

Strathmore 500 Series 140lb:

Fabriano Artistico Soft 140lb (haven't worked too much with this paper yet......more to come)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Trying to Get Back into the Swing of Things

I haven't managed to do a whole lot of sketching since my last post.  We ended up making a trip to West Virginia on May 17th and talk about a rough trip!  Stormy weather topped with accidents made for a very long drawn out trip but we made it safely.

During our time there visiting Mom in the hospital, I only managed a partial sketch.

We made our way back home a few days later and that trip wasn't as bad.  We chose to drive at night and except for a few spots of light rain, the weather was clear.  We're learning driving straight through between Florida and WV is getting more and more difficult to do.

Now that I'm home, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.

For a few days we are keeping my youngest son's dog, Lola while he and my middle son make the trip to WV for their dad's 65th birthday and to visit their grandmother who's been moved from the hospital to a rehab center in Huntington.

This puppy is so full of life..........a play monster for sure.  Our 9 year old dog is not crazy about  her being around either.  She sees Lola as a bull in a china shop and just wants to be left alone.  Lola on the other hand wants desperately to play.

There's an overpass in Charleston that we traveled each day to and from the hospital.  Each time we drove over this overpass, I was drawn to all the rooftops one sees and took several photos.  This sketch is from one of those photos.

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 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 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:

**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 

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