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Another Glance in the Winsor & Newton Journal

December 28, 2009

A quick bird sketch experiment.

091217ClarkNutcracker
Above: Experimental page spread (aren't they all?) in the Winsor & Newton Journal which is about 8 inches square. Read below for a description.

I thought it might be interesting to sketch with acrylic paint and paint over that with the Stabilo Tones and here's a first go at it.

The page was prepainted with fluid acrylics in a light wash just as I normally do my backgrounds—abstract, messy, and with no thought for what might be coming. Days later, torn strips of gummed linen tape were added in a tilted square on the verso page. I think my thought was that I would sketch something there and then write on the opposite page. A day or so later I ran one of my carved brayers (I think Speedball makes these, but I don't have any packaging in front of me—variously sized, you can remove the roller, carve them as you would a linoleum block, and put them back in the handle and roll away) over the surface using some Brilliance gold rubberstamp ink.

When I arrived at this spread I was housebound but had a few moments to watch a nature special where I found this Clark's Nutcracker. I sketched with Golden Fluid Acrylic (very dilute) and a squirrel quill mop, but I couldn't get the same point I get with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. (I started with the mop because I love the way it comes to a great point and holds a lot of paint. I had hoped this would enable me to sketch and sketch and sketch without reloading. I was able to do that, however, I didn't use my really good squirrel quill mops from Isabey, not wanting to ruin them with acrylic paint. And as I said, the point just didn't work out.)

Nevertheless I applied Stabilo Tones (dry, blended wet, dried, applied dry again and blended dry with my fingers). Since nothing much happened on the 17th I decided to give the brush and acrylic paint another couple of tries, hence the additional bird views on the recto page. They help me remember the line quality I got with the brush (which was painted over in the bird at the left).

I went out the next day and picked up a couple inexpensive brushes that I think will have better tips for trying this again. The best brush I tried in the store was a $21.00 sable that I couldn't bear the thought of putting acrylic paint into (so I didn't buy it). I'll let you know if any of the others work out.

For a 90 lb. watercolor paper I have to say I enjoyed working on the Winsor & Newton—lots of sizing made the hot press surface hard and slick, and fun to work on. It buckled with the gummed linen tape, but with other collage elements on other pages it did well. Definitely a paper I'll work with more in the future.

    • velma
    • December 28, 2009
    Reply

    i like this page spread…and i can hardly believe that the tv gave you so much detail to work from. and here’s the truth…i used a lovely sable brush for (i’m ducking now) pva once. i was desperate.

    • Roz
    • December 28, 2009
    Reply

    Velma, the result of many years of looking at birds and sketching makes it easier to make up detail.

    But we’ll pretend you didn’t say that about using a sable brush for PVA—that’s what fingers are for when you’re desperate!

  1. Reply

    Talking about bush pens… there’s a brush pen at Jet Pens that I want to try. The Akashiya Natural Bamboo Brush Pen. They look like they would be really good. I’ll let you know… I’ll probably buy it after the first o the month.

    • velma
    • December 28, 2009
    Reply

    i swear on my stack of keith smith books, my finger was too big!

    • Roz
    • December 28, 2009
    Reply

    Jon, I have not heard of this pen so I look forward to hearing what you think of it (and its smell!)

    • Roz
    • December 28, 2009
    Reply

    I’m not going to let you off the hook Velma, that’s when you need to take a scrap of paper or smash the end of a toothpick—you get the idea. Keep a couple crappy brushes on hand!

    • velma
    • December 28, 2009
    Reply

    ok, ok……

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