Archive for the ‘Watercolor’ Category

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Need A Distraction? Pen Links To The Rescue!

03/29/2020

Whether you call it quarantine, lockdown or unscheduled stay-cation, fifteen straight days at home has provided too much time to squander in the pursuit of a quick fix, either intellectually or emotionally. Seeking out noteworthy sites has helped me stay out of trouble. Well, for the most part. What keeps you going?

From the archives, inks in rotation April 3, 2012.

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Tuesday Tidbits: Pen, Paper And Ink Links

01/28/2020

José Naranja makes beautiful journals that he on occasion offers for sale. Oh, and I didn’t even make it through January without falling in love with an ink from Colorverse. What do you think of it?

From the archives, a photo of my mother’s jet beads, a silk flower, Rhodia pad, and ten pens. The red Lamy Safari looks out of place but it’s a good writer. In my rotation, how a pen writes is more important than its form. Which is more important to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bee Paper Can Be Quirky

12/16/2019

For those of you who play with watercolors, note that Bee Paper can have an issue that is frustrating. My former recommendation now comes with a caveat.

On the plus side, Bee is 100% cotton and 140 lb/300gsm just like any good quality watercolor paper. Cotton brings out the full range and depth of color that paint has to offer and the 140 lb. weight will reduce warping. That’s all to the good.

The best paper will cost more than student grade or pulp content paper, but to be sure, the investment is worth it. Cost-wise, Bee is at the low end for cotton paper. For swatches, brush practice or color exploration, it is perfectly fine. Just don’t be surprised if the paint does not perform as it should.

My issue with Bee paper is how it accepts the paint. Sizing prevents watercolor paper from absorbing too much fluid. Instead, the color remains on top of the surface where it pools, puddles and mingles with its neighbors in intriguing ways. Sizing is an essential component of good paper. When inadequately or improperly applied, paint blotches and flows in ugly, spidery lines like the worst feathering you ever saw from fountain pen ink and then some.

To demonstrate Bee Paper’s quirky behavior, the edge shows an irregular border that should have been smooth and even, just as the paint appears elsewhere.

The back of the paper reveals that paint soaked through. We may tolerate that with fountain pen ink, but it should not happen with watercolor paper especially when the paint is lightly applied. In the center of the same sheet, there is a 6mm by 3mm spot that did not take paint normally and bled through to the back of the paper. All of the problems would have been eliminated by a more consistent application of sizing.

Not every sheet has this issue but who wants to get well into a painting only to find the paper is flawed and the effort ruined. Note that Bee is fine for practice and experimentation, especially with new brushes and paints. My stock won’t go to waste. It will have its uses and eventually get replaced.

In the future, I will stick with Arches and Fabriano Artistico. They are readily available in the U.S. and never disappoint. A number of other companies offer 100% cotton paper and are worthy of consideration as well. Putting aside one brand is no great loss when there is such a variety of others from which to choose. 

Two Trees on Bee Paper

Brush practice with watercolors on Bee Paper scraps. Blue tree is 8.2 x 11cm. Autumn tree is 6.8 x 11.4cm.

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Sunday Reads: Pens, Inks And Doodles

06/16/2019

I thought I had a lot of ink samples until I saw Nick Stewart’s collection…

From the archives, a Nemosine Singularity 0.6mm italic nib


Nemosine Italic Nib

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A Watercolor Palette Plus A Few Tips and Tricks

04/17/2019

Before fountain pens caught my fancy, watercolors were my favorite distraction. Over the years, a number of brands and kits have come my way. After experimenting with the lot, the Sennelier Aqua Mini set has become my favorite.

The Aqua Mini is very good value for money at about $20 for eight small cakes of artist grade paint. They are cheerful, transparent colors reminiscent of Impressionist paintings and can be mixed to make a satisfying variety of additional colors. Perhaps because they are made with honey, they are sticky and yet creamy at the same time. They moisten readily and put down significant color with no effort. They really are a pleasure to use.

Unfortunately, the box and brush are somewhat less exciting. The brush is tiny though suitable for small details. I prefer a #6 or #8 round travel brush for painting in the wild. When at my desk, anything goes.

The box has very little space to mix colors. This is a design flaw that can be remedied by placing a flat container nearby for mixing purposes. White porcelain is the best at revealing a paint’s true color. It shouldn’t stain and cleans easily so I would recommend it over other materials. However, plastic might be more practical for travel.

Tip: A dessert or sushi plate can make a useful palette. Pans of paint can be attached temporarily to the plate with tape or a removable adhesive or putty. Following a session, allow the paints to dry. Then cover with plastic wrap or store in a resealable bag to prevent dust from accumulating on the paint. When it comes to working at my desk, this is one of my favorite arrangements.

Or you can pry the paints from the original tray, move them into plastic watercolor pans and then to a variety of containers from a mint tin to a proper watercolor box. A different option would be to pry the entire plastic tray out of the original Sennelier box and put it into a mint tin of similar size. One with a flat, metal lid would provide a more useful mixing area. If it’s white, so much the better.

Below is a Simply Gum Mints (not the chewing gum) metal box that will hold six large pans or nine small ones like those from the Aqua Mini set. Mia discovered how well these tins work and I am so glad she passed that along. My family has gone through a large box of the mints leaving me six containers for a variety of color groupings.

If you just want to play around with paint, the supplied brush and box will do. But don’t be surprised if you get hooked and need a better brush and not long after that, a real watercolor box. Then more paint and brushes and, well, you get the picture. Such things happen even with the best of intentions. Collecting paint is very much like collecting ink. Brushes are comparable to pens. You have been warned.

As for paper, Stillman & Birn make lots of journals for the traveler. Tomoe River paper will take a light wash of color as will a number of other brands. Should painting charm you beyond the occasional doodle, go for 100% cotton watercolor paper. It can be pricey but totally worth it.

My enthusiasm for Sennelier watercolors is what I really wanted to share with you. The container and brush deficiencies are easily overcome so don’t let that be a deterrent. The paint is great and that is what really counts.

Amazon Shopping List:

  1. Sennelier Aqua Mini
  2. Travel Brushes from Escoda, da Vinci, Silver Brush
  3. #8 round brush from Escoda or Silver Brush
  4. Metal Palette with plastic pans from Meeden, Honbay or JCT ECO
  5. Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook smooth enough to accommodate fountain pen nibs or the Beta for a slightly textured surface.
  6. Winsor & Newton Watercolor Journal, Arches, Strathmore, Fabriano (All are 100% cotton with a slightly textured surface.)
  7. Sennelier Watercolor Tube Test Pack (Fewer colors than the Aqua Mini but a larger volume of each color. Will need a palette/container and plastic pans.)
  8. Small (half) pans and large (full) pans
  9. Simply Gum Mints
  10. Sushi plate or appetizer plates or small porcelain palette
  11. Uhu Reusable Adhesive

At Parka Blogs, Teoh reviewed the Sennelier Aqua Mini set with similar conclusions.

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Sunday Links: Ink, Books, And Scooby-Doo

03/03/2019

You have probably seen Nick Stewart’s ink and bleach swatches. If you like them, his tutorials might give you just the right amount of encouragement and technique to venture into this intriguing use of fountain pen ink. Both successes and failures could make unique greeting cards. No sense letting an ink splotch go to waste…

From LuxuryBrandsUSA.com

 

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Sunday Reads: Pens And Inks By The Dozen

04/22/2018

Saving my tea bags in case there’s a paper shortage…

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