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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

playing with Sailor fude pen and water-soluble ink

Last week we went to a Houston greenhouse in search of tomato plants for a fall garden. Up till yesterday, it's been in the 90s here in central Texas and we had heard that there are two growing seasons here, before and after the big summer heat.

We found no tomatoes there . . . Apparently fall gardens are put out in August and they had sold out. But we were able to find some nearby at Home Depot. Bill also found this purple leafed perennial ground cover he wants for the planting box he built next to his woodshop's porch. We're trying a couple of these plants, along with some tiny pink lilies our friend Ron recently gave us, to see if either one likes the location. And whether the deer like them. Whichever wins gets to fill the bed.

I'm continuing to play with my inexpensive Sailor fude de Mannen pen with its water-soluble ink cartridge. When the cartridge is used up, I plan to fill it with a water-resistant ink using a syringe. I also used my muted granulating earth watercolors on the plant . . . then wished I hadn't. The leaves and flower should have been a bit brighter.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

a rehabbed vintage Prang box

Last year I took my vintage Prang box, refit with my own choice of tube watercolors in pans, to Mustang Island, camping with the family. With it being so exceptionally windy and the sandy beach so fine, my paint box was literally sand-blasted -- a real mess! Not sure what to do with it, I set it aside.

This month, I finally took the paint pans out, cleaning them as best as I could with damp paper towels; most of the paint was still good. Then I sanded the inside surfaces with the fine-grade sandpaper that came on my pencil-sharpening block. 

I taped off the black edges with masking tape to keep them black. The black finish was worn with age even before the beach trip.

After several thin layers of white enamel spray paint, the inside is clean and ready to go. Pans were set in place with a dab of rubber cement, leaving room for a blue-gray watercolor pencil and a #7 round sable travel brush.

My tweaked color choices:
permanent rose, pyrrole scarlet
quinacridone gold, Hansa yellow light
sap green
cerulean chromium blue, ultramarine blue
yellow ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber
mixed gray (ultramarine and burnt umber, stirred together)

and half pans of:
Indian red, perylene green, and buff titanium.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook

I still have one more un-used hand-bound journal on my shelf, but this time I decided to use this Epsilon sketchbook from Stillman & Birn that a dear friend gave to me. The paper is made more for ink than watercolor, but light not-too-juicy washes work well on it. And my fountain pens simply glide over the smooth paper!
Every one of Stillman & Brin products are a dream to use, and the binding lasts no matter how rough I get with it.

As always, I drew my current sketching palette on the first page. Actually, this is the second 2-page spread -- I left the inside covers blank for collecting random quotes. Lately I have been carrying a larger purse than my norm, allowing me to carry a full-size sketchbook and this pocket art toolkit from Expeditionary Art inside the bag. Smaller bags only hold my tools and I carry the book separately. 

In the kit are two fountain pens (one with water-resistant ink and one with water-soluble ink), a waterbrush, two travel brushes (a #8 round and a dagger), a mechanical pencil and tiny case holding a kneaded eraser, a tiny stencil brush for spattering, a shortened white pencil, a shortened blue-gray watercolor pencil, a re-usable towel for wiping, and two pocket palettes, also from Expeditionary Art. I can switch out either of these palettes with a third one: one holds a basic warm/cool limited palette, one holds granulating earth colors, and one holds gouache. Not shown is a 4th set I made myself using a business card case that holds a basic palette of 14 paints.

Just after putting together my pocket palette set of granulating earth colors, Jane Blundell posted one she put together . . . so I had a bit of fun comparing our sets side-by-side. I have a set of Daniel Smith color dots that I used for the colors she uses that I don't own. She also recently put together a set for urban sketching along with some suggested options, so I added that just for fun.

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