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Slowing at the Finish

July 11, 2009

090709Gert

Above: a late night sketch of Gert my current "life model" (a rubber chicken hand puppet). The background rectangle is red Lukas Gouache, not a gouache brand I use for my final paintings, but something I tried a number of years ago and still have tubes of that I use up in my journals. Journal width doesn't quite fit on the scanner so the right and left edges are clipped off.

I find myself in an unusual position. I'm creeping towards the end of a journal. Typically the closer I get to the end of a journal the faster I work. Hmmm. I thought I would mention this so that new journal keepers could be prepared for either eventuality.

A quick assessment of my current deadlines, responsibilities, and activities makes it clear why the journal is taking a back seat, and I'm OK with that. But there is another aspect to my situation. I find that I have not yet picked my next journal. I have been vacillating between two choices. One journal will be perfect for working on pencil and watercolor sketches, something I don't do much of, but have been doing a bit of lately. (Mostly I sketch in pen.) The other journal would be fine for any media I want to work on, but isn't a watercolor paper so I wouldn't be getting any "help" from it when working in watercolor.

The sticking point is that the State Fair is coming up and I'll be working in pen, with or without watercolor (I'll decide that after I select the paper I'm going to work on). Do I want to spend time practicing on a technique I won't be using at the Fair? And then switch at the last moment? You see I'm pretty much focused on the Fair as the event of the year! And I want to have results with which I'll be pleased.

There's another aspect to all of this. I have a lovely little watercolor paper journal ready to go, but I'm betting if I start to work in it, based on recent events, painting opportunities will be slim and it will be used up with notes.

Sound familiar? Many of you have written to me about such quandaries. I tell you to just use it up anyway. See, there isn't any perfect time to use a certain book—even a watercolor book, even on a trip to a special location. There's just work.

Guess we solved that. I've got to finish the three remaining pages so I can move into the watercolor book. Thanks. Now why aren't you busy drawing?

    • Donna
    • July 11, 2009
    Reply

    A good choice Roz. I think that a State Fair drawing journal that wouldn’t take watercolor would be a travesty–all of those chickens and roosters to color!

    I have personally solved that dilemma by using only sketchbooks/journals that will take watercolor, whether they are made from watercolor paper or not. However, it has taken a lot of money to go thru commercially made books to find ones that I like. I have bound a few myself, but find that I don’t enjoy that process so I have to rely on those that can be bought.

    Another charming drawing of Gert.

    • Caroline Heck
    • July 11, 2009
    Reply

    Could this be the beginnings of another superstition: Must work in only one journal at a time? I can see pros and cons for both sides of that one!

    • Roz
    • July 11, 2009
    Reply

    Donna, the watercolor book I started isn’t for the State Fair, I’ll be through with it by then, and I always do a separate book for the State Fair. I have to have to use watercolor paper of some sort for the State Fair journal because I always want to have that option.

    Sorry I was unclear.

    So which commercially available watercolor journals have you found that you like? I’m sure there are other folks who would like them too!

    • Roz
    • July 11, 2009
    Reply

    Caroline, it actually is another superstition, but I’ve already dealt with it in other posts—I think I talked about it in the “working chronologically” post, but sometimes I mention things in more than one post so without a detailed index I’m at a loss to say specifically. Just that it is a hang up for most people. And frankly I only like to work in one journal at a time for a host of reasons (already mentions in other posts too) but I have friends who have multiple journals and it suits their styles of organization and thought and work so I say go for it!!

    • Owen
    • July 11, 2009
    Reply

    Roz, I love the comp and colour choice.

    • Donna
    • July 11, 2009
    Reply

    Ok Roz, I have found two commercially made sketchbooks that take watercolor extremely well and that I have settled on for now. One is “Holbein Multi Drawing Book”. Paper is really nice in these, kind of pricey for 28 pages, but nice and lightweight–several sizes to choose from and both orientations too, spiral bound–(cheapest at ASW Express). The other one is Canson Montval All Media Field Book (only comes in 9×12 size, and is on sale at Utrechtart.com for 12.99). Anyway this paper is also super for watercolor. However, this is a heavy book, 50 pages, so I use it mainly at home. But I did just stock up at that price. One note, there are other Canson sketchbooks out there, so your readers should make sure that they get the one I have specified if they want to use watercolor.

    I have yet to find a commercially made bound book that I like. Fabriano Venezia will do in a pinch, works reasonably well, but I prefer the spiral bound ones at the moment.

    Hope this is of some help.

    • Roz
    • July 12, 2009
    Reply

    Thanks Owen. There’s something about black, white, and red that intrigues me. Maybe in a few more years I’ll have done enough sketches of Gert that I’ll end up doing a painting of her and have worked out all the bugs?

    • Roz
    • July 12, 2009
    Reply

    Donna, thanks for sharing your sketchbook preferences of. In the early 90s I used the Holbein wirebound sketchbook you mentioned a lot. I’ve also tried the Montval paper and it’s fun to work on; not my favorite, but for the papers one finds in sketchbooks it has a lot to recommend it.

    I just have a preference against wirebound books, wish they would make them with sewn signatures. However, since I used to use the Holbein book a lot, and things seems to cycle around in my life, I won’t be surprised if I end up using it again sometime in the future!

    Lots of journal keepers love wire bindings so they can fold the book back on itself for easier holding and working so I know they will appreciate these leads on useful books from you.

    Thanks.

    • Donna
    • July 12, 2009
    Reply

    Your welcome Roz. It is a small payback for all that you give us, happy to do it.

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