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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Indigo blue

 I've recently discovered Sennelier ink, and Indigo is my new favourite. Found this totally chaotic art shop in Mallorca when I was there recently, full of beautiful paints and paper and packing boxes and mess, but spent ages exploring it, and even longer salivating over the Sennelier ink selection. Could only afford one, so a huge selection was narrowed down to one. Though my lovely sister bought me one more for my birthday - happiness! Unfortunately I dropped my nearly new Indigo bottle so now the studio floor a much nicer shade. Manged to save some of it but it meant going online and ordering more and spending a fortune in more art supplies that I'm sure I really didn't need...
 A lot of fingers and nails and ends of brushes were used in these drawings, just trying to get a feel for the ink and how it works. Been reading some comments about how they last in light, some good, some bad, so I guess its just a case of wait and see and leave some in the window to see what happens. In the meantime, I've ordered six new colours which I couldn't resist, so watch this space. Unless they all end up on the floor....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Playing with Gray and Blue

Great Blue Heron's have such lovely subtle shades of blue, gray and peach. I also love studying the shapes of bird eyes.  Concentrating on a few little details really can make an unfinished study believable.

I was playing with a small Prang watercolor set before I popped the colors out to refill with my Hobein tube paints. You can see a formula written in the upper left corner of the page.  Another note in the upper right is a reference to Spartina... the name of marsh grass, but in this case it's a reminder of the local company that makes wonderful handbags, tablet cases, wallets..... Ladies, check out Spartina449 :)

Don't you just love the information you can find in a journal?

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Need a Hero...

OK, I've got one, really, but BESIDES my husband, I am really enjoying playing with my Hero pens...

Like the Duke that Laure Ferlita featured in this video, the Sailor pen mentioned in this post, 
and a number of others, the Hero calligraphy pens are Japanese (oops, I meant Chinese, I knew that!  Duh...), and have a different configuration than Western calligraphy pens.  They have a bent nib that makes a wonderfully brush-like mark, depending on the angle you hold the pen...

Depending on the angle you hold the pen, you can get very fine to quite broad, bold lines...

They also range from very inexpensive to rather more...I've bought a couple of Hero pens on eBay for under $10.  It's the luck of the draw on really inexpensive pens, but they ARE fun to play with!  I'm looking forward to getting a bent-nib pen of somewhat better quality, though I don't think I'll be getting one from a Living National Treasure like the Sailor pen described here: http://www.sailorpen.com/nagahara-story.html

Bent-nib pens are nice for quick sketches like this one of my cat, Merlin...they really have a brush-like quality, here.

Notice the varied lines, here...

Introducing my mini-video!

Of course you can use them alone, under a watercolor wash, or into a damp wash as I did in this super-quick sketch...I couldn't resist adding a sketch of the pen itself, sketching!
Fountain pens aren't for everyone, of course...they require a bit more care than disposable pens, but you can keep them for years, and enjoy a long relationship.  You can use colored inks, too...I like the versatility as well as the long-lived aspect.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Testing different camera...

What do you use to take process shots?

I usually just get my phone out... but this is a test of a more waterproof version. June 2012: Bush

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Super quick journal page

Last Sketch of the Day

I had been out sketching the other day and on the way home stopped just on a whim at Rocky Hollow Lake...I was tired and it was time to be home, but I loved the image of these two guys out fishing in the late afternoon...I had time for a quick pencil sketch, surely...

When I got home I splashed in wet-in-wet washes in the far shore and the trees at right, then tried for a narrow edge of clean paper at the bank. 

When I laid in the lake wash, I encouraged it to flow down the page with a spritz of clear water.  I added spatter while it was still wet, and when it lost its shine scraped through the damp wash for those lighter lines that suggest water. (When you don't have much time, wet-in-wet is a good--if a bit scary--solution...)

After that dried I added more spatter and painted in the men in the boat very simply. 

A suggestion of their reflection and a touch of color on the boat on the right, plus my notes and I was done! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book giveaway winner!

We have a winner!

MaryO, it's all yours, and congratulations!  Please write me at kate (at) cathyjohnson.info with your mailing address, and we'll get this off to you ASAP!

Thanks so much to all who entered--I'm astounded at the numbers here and on my Cathy Johnson Fine Art blog (I put everyone together in the same folder, to make it easier)...

Some of you mentioned you'd still like to have the book, even if you didn't win...it's available in my website catalog, and I'll be happy to sign it for you however you like!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A progressive urban sketch

This is my sketch, using a Hero calligraphy pen nib in a Noodler's body--lightweight and handy for on the spot sketching when you want a larger variety of line weights!

I happened to have one of the original Noodler's flex pens on hand, so decided to give putting a Hero 86 nib in place instead of the one that came with it.  It's my favorite sketching pen now! 

You can find more information on how to do that down the page a bit on the Fountain Pen Network.  Definitely does NOT fit the Ahab, but it's fine in the Creaper--the original flex pen.

I was careful to keep the non-essential areas very high key so they wouldn't compete with the building. I painted the white room that extends over the deck with suggestions of blue to suggest shadows.

I wanted the trumpet vine's flowers to show up against the green, so I broke out my set of Crayolas--kids' crayons for those who aren't familiar with them.  A dot of waxy color here and there would repel the paint...
You can see how that worked!  I varied the greens, too, flooding in blues and yellows while it was still wet.

Raw sienna underwash worked for the areas that weren't painted white--that one room extends over the porches.  I let that dry and left some bits of white paper here and there.

Finally, I added the warm color of the bricks--burnt sienna and a bit of quinacridone burnt scarlet, adding ultramarine blue in the shadowing and encouraging variation in color.  I used more of the green mix where the potted plant was.  I decided to keep the foreground mostly unpainted except for the shadows to keep the focus where it belonged.

I love this crazy old building...just wish I'd caught it when there was laundry hanging on the impromptu lines and over the railings!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Take a chance on a free book!

NOTICE:  We have a winner--the drawing was June 15, and Mary O. Martin was the lucky recipient of the free book!  Congratulations, Mary, I hope you enjoy it.  (If you all are still interested, you can find it on my website, as noted below.)

After 17 years of great feedback and steady sales, Sketching and Drawing is going out of print--so I stocked up on author's copies for my website catalog!  Though it's not about journal-keeping per se, it covers a LOT of techniques...

So for a limited time, I'm offering a free copy, right here on the blog.  Just leave a comment right here and we'll add your name to the hat--shipping's free too, if you win.

**And by the way, if you have to sign in as anonymous, please give me your name or email address so I can contact you if you win!

A lot of the sketches are from my own journals, and we cover everything from supplies to easy drawing tricks to a variety of subjects...

We'll draw the winning name on Friday, June 15--and good luck!

And of course as always, I'm happy to autograph it however you wish.

(And if you don't win, there's a special price on these on my website.)
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