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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Test Driving the new QoR Watercolors from Golden

To see the images larger, just click on them!

I was asked to test the new QoR colors, and I jumped at the chance--what fun!  Golden makes my favorite acrylics, so I really wanted to see what they'd do with this medium--my favorite.  Above is the selection of colors they sent--not always the ones in my normal palette, but it made me stretch a bit.  Here, you can see directly from the tube, pulled down with water, then I allowed the paint to dry for a further test.  In the small two spots above each pigment, the one on the left is lifted from dry pigment, the one on the right is after pre-wetting a bit. (QoR is pronounced "core," by the way!)

You may remember my initial exploration, in this post: http://artistsjournalworkshop.blogspot.com/2014/03/finally-sketching-outdoors-again.html

I didn't have a lot of brands to compare similar colors, and of course that's what's most fair to do...here in the left column are Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton paints (Sorry, don't remember which is which, except the cool red is DS--they were in my reworked Prang palette.)  The middle column is Russian Sonnet, and the column on the right is QoR.

Here, I allowed the paint to dry on the page...the bottom light streak is lifting with one quick stroke and blotting, the next up I scrubbed a bit more, and the soft edge at the top of each swatch was lifting with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  Not many colors lifted entirely, but it's useful to soften and define areas if you need to.

The Transparent Red Oxide isn't quite as transparent as I expected (I've used Rembrant's version of that one), and the gray at lower right won't be useful to me, though you may find it so.  It was a bit weak, didn't lift all that well once dry, and I don't use gray from a tube anyway!  (Sorry the pigment names didn't make it, the test sheet was just a bit too big for my scanner!  You can see most of them on the image at the top of the page, though.)

This is the handy little plastic palette I happened to have on hand--just fit the new paints!  I'm good to go.

I tested them out at our sketchcrawl in March...nice!

And as a background to give this ink sketch a bit of snap...

Then, more testing!  Back to the studio...

If you want to know how your colors will glaze, you can make a swatch of one of them, let it dry, then add a quick brushstroke of another color--move fast so you don't lift the undercolor!

I used a band of India ink and then painted over with each of the colors QoR provided, as I do with every new paint I try out.  For the  most part, these are reasonably transparent, and the ones that aren't are the ones I would choose for their opacity anyway...the Pyrrole Red, Venetian Red, and the blues on the far right, especially.

I compared their quin gold with Daniel Smith's...it's quite a bit warmer, and it flows well...

Cobalt Teal and Indian Yellow...a fresh spring green, and isn't that teal gorgeous??

Finally, I did a self portrait of the Watercolor Crone, going for subtlety (and wrinkles, of course, don't forget the wrinkles!)  Nice and delicate!

These are definitely nice paints, that compare very well with other brands I've used...they re-wet nicely for the most part (except that grey!), and seem to hold their color well once dry.  And by the way, I didn't use the grey for my hair, that's a mix of blues and browns, my normal way to get a variety of greys.

I'm definitely going to be turning to that little palette a LOT.  Thank you, QoR and Golden paints!

More info on their web page, here: http://www.goldenpaints.com/company/news/2014/qor-watercolors/

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

At last, the new Keeping an Artist's Journal Mini-class is UP!

I keep calling these "mini-classes," but there are four lessons of between 16-18 pages each, with demos, exercises, inspirations, tips, links, and brand new videos...

They're self directed, so you can do them ANY time you like, at your convenience--no waiting for my time or energy!  You can find it HERE: http://cathyjohnson.info/journalminiclass.html --there's a PayPal button right on that page!

(For those who have my book, the CD of the same name, or took my original interactive online class, rest assured--this is NEW.  I started from the blank page to create this mini-class.  All new text, exercises and videos!)

We talk about family treasures and there's a video on this (This is one of my baby toys...NO idea what it is!)

There's a lot of keeping a nature journal, plus a video...

There are even videos on basic washes, textures, and spatter, as well as one on fixing "mistakes!"
Travel journals are some of my favorite kinds...this is my California journal, an accordion style.  You'll see a video on that, as well!

Look for this button at the link and check out the syllabus for more information!

I did a quick little sneak preview on the "fixing journal pages" video on YouTube...watch it in this post or check it out HERE for a taste of the class.

...and shared the complete video on Journaling, Contemplation and Meditation...which is essential, to me...HERE.

Look for the rest of my videos HERE, including the new one on making your own super-quick folding journal.

I hope to see you in the class rolls!
Best--Kate (Cathy Johnson)

Make a Super-Quick No-Sew Folding Journal

Thursday, March 27, 2014

new drawing pens and pencils

Having found the best pens to use on this handmade paper ___the Uni-ball Signo UM-151 gel ink pens___ I ordered a couple more colors of them. They are waterproof when used with watercolor, and come in .28, .38, and .5 nibs.

At Jet Pens, I also found these two pencils. The long 2-pointed Auto Point Turnpoint Mechanical Pencil has a .7 graphite lead at one end and a .9 red lead at the other. I thought I would replace the red lead with a softer 2B graphite for wider, darker pencil lines. The Ohto Wooden  Mechanical Pencil Mini is very tiny! Fits easily inside my favorite watercolor palettes for on-the-go sketching.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Finally, sketching outdoors again!

And ended up making a journal spread...

This is the finished spread...trying out new colors!

All I got done on the spot; my ink wasn't drying!  It was Noodler's Lexington Gray in a Hero bent-nib pen, and usually dries quickly.  Not yesterday!  So this morning I decided to take my time and mask off the little waterfalls and ripples!

I'm testing new watercolors from Golden--QoR paints, pronounced "core"!  You'll be hearing more about them...happily, I had an unused palette to put them in.
I decided to use a lot of wet-in-wet to keep it fresh...lots of Naples Yellow and Quin Gold in the rocks...

I used my little sprayer to soften the fore edge, and laid in the fish while the water was still wet.

Removed the mask and added a headline...strengthened some areas in the background...

I tried to keep the feeling of motion in the water...

Pleased with the fish!

I used a pen made from a honeysuckle twig for the pampas grass...

And my new Sharpie EF water-based marker defined the water a bit more.  It's acrylic, so I could paint over it when it dried...nice.
All in all, I was pleased with the spread for how it preserved the day--strong winter sunshine and a good day with old friends.  I'm a bit of an introvert (OK, understatement!) and spending a little time sketching in the midst of the party helped keep me focused.

AND I was pleased with the paints, which are strongly pigmented and re-wet nicely.  You'll be hearing more about them as I try out more things...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

bear-making and sketching

When our first grandchild turned 7, I made her a hand-made teddy bear with antique shoe-button eyes and real mohair fur. I used to make these to sell in the 1980s/1990s. So I made it a tradition by doing the same for each grandchild on their 7th birthday.

This year, it's Quen's turn. Because he loves wearing button-down shirts with real ties, and loves to sketch and paint, the style was obvious --- a wee artist bear. I only need to sew the ears on and he will be finished. And then sew a tiny sketchbook bound in leather for the bear (or Quen) to fill up with drawings. I used leftover bits of paper from binding regular sketchbooks for the pages, which will measure just under 2" when done.

I'm in more of a mood to sketch, so I took time to do so instead of finishing the bear yesterday. Sketching also helps me decide on facial expression and outfit.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Design Ideas

People often ask about designing pages--it was one of the most popular requests on the poll in our sidebar at right!  I'd done a couple of PDFs to go with my original class and then on the Keeping an Artist's Journal CD that grew out of that class, but I wanted to give them to you here, for nothing!


Let me know what you think!

The CD with TONS more on it is here:

And the downloadable eBook version is here.
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