Paper Testing for the Minnesota State Fair Journal

August 14, 2015


Above: About 6 x 6 inch square of white Stonehenge. I did a quick sketch using a Pentel Sign Brush Pen (about 4 mins.), of Dick. Then I ran away and got some Schmincke Pan watercolors. I only used the Indanthrone Blue (Dark Indigo, PB60) but there are areas of gray tones, that’s the ink bleeding. It actually held pretty well on this paper. But you can see it bleed about his right eye (on our left) and under the chin, to name two places. I worked with a “real” brush—a filbert. The background was added at the end—Montana Marker. I was squinting and sketching without my glasses because I couldn’t stand wearing them one more second.

What did I learn today? Don’t be too quick to put your sketch on the scanner! You can see where I smudged the paint on the left (our left) side of Dick’s nose.

OK, I already knew that. I learned that the Pentel Sign Brush Pen (which has a funky solid, hard but pliable tip of some sort) doesn’t bleed all over, but it does bleed. And so for lighter colors it might bleed too much. Maybe this year at the Fair I should just work monochromatically?

R: Dick don’t move all around, you started with your head back a bit you need to keep it there.

I notice a slight annoyance in the eyes, Dick rarely shows annoyance.

R: Does it hurt?

D: It’s a little uncomfortable.

Dick never complains. It must really be painful. He barely registers any emotion, so I don’t know whether to give in. I decide not to. 

R: Just a moment or two more. Rest, but don’t go away, while I go get some paint.

I run through the house looking for the right palette and return a minute later.

About 3 minutes later, I flip it around to show him.

R: I like it. I just made vague shapes where your eyebrows are and then ignored them.

D: Yeah, that’s you’re new technique?

We laugh. I really don’t think Dick realizes that his eyebrows are poised to take over the world.

I have some more pens to test on the watercolor paper I purchased to take the Minnesota State Fair this year (I can’t bind because my arm and shoulder are in bad shape again; but you know what, I didn’t want to take a casebound book this year anyway.)

If I can’t find a pen that dries quickly enough on the watercolor paper I got, so that I can paint quickly, I’ll probably default to Stonehenge and use my Faber-Castell Pens and such, and just give up the idea of this funky “brush-tip.”

Note: Stonehenge is a lovely paper that I enjoy sketching on. It is a printmaking paper, but lots of folks draw on it, and I like to paint on it. I especially like the grays and kraft brown for gouache, but I’m not going to use gouache at the Fair this year, and I really wanted to use a watercolor paper. We’ll see.

All of this happened after a long, long day of computer work, punctuated only by a brief escape to Wet Paint. This is the time of year they see the most of me. You’d think I was preparing to go to France!

The Minnesota State Fair begins Thursday, August 27.

The Seventh Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out is Tuesday, September 1, 2015. 

Come and talk paper choices with me at the meeting! I’m looking forward to seeing your sketches.

  1. Reply

    Im sorry to hear your shoulder and arm are not doing so well. Maybe a bookbinder you have thaught can bind you a book? someone say like myself? we have to create some sort of bookbinding support system for occasions such as these!!! hugs!

  2. Reply

    Claudia, thanks, I have had offers, but I don’t like to interrupt people’s lives. Dick said I could teach him, way back in 2013 when it became obvious I wouldn’t be able to bind for a while. I’ve had great success with PT and massage getting it back to normal, but then something comes up—I lift a wheel chair into the car, or even reach up incorrectly to pull the hatchback down, and I’m sunk. I definitely need to plan for less typing in my work life, so we are working on dictation.

    I have books I’ve bound in the past I could use, but they don’t say “FAIR” to me.

    Overall I think this is a good thing because I wanted to use a different paper that doesn’t bind up well, and we’ll see. I’ll have to sketch Dick a lot in the next two weeks!

  3. Reply

    Ok so what watercolor paper are you considering!? Inquiring minds want to know. Headig to France soon and want to sketch my brains out. Might make it to the state fair too!! Thanks!

  4. Reply

    Margaret, Nothing earthshattering. I can’t bind so I have to use a commercial journal so I’m either using Cheap Joes watercolor journals (wirebound) with TH Saunders/Waterford 140 HP which is a paper standby for me. Or there Kilimanjaro 140 CP. Also a wirebound book.

    I thought about going with journal cards because of not being able to bind, and then once I decided to do that it was easy, to save my shoulder the trouble of cutting cards, and decide to use a wirebound journal. I have both on hand now so I can make a decision at the last moment. Too much family and work stuff going on to get any serious painting sessions in to test the paper.

    And so Stonehenge is in the mix as a back up.

    And Also, just because it is thick, I’m thinking about the new 400 Series printmaking paper from Strathmore as it is very thick and stiff and comes in pads (i.e., area cut up).

    I tore down a bunch of Fluid 100 (their new 100 percent cotton paper) before the re-injury. I was going to bind a rather large and yummy book out of it and take IT to the Fair. but that was a 3 month ago plan.

    If you’re looking for paper that can bind, it folded well and I know it will bind up well.

    The only issue is I haven’t had to do any testing on it so you’d have to test it before you left to make sure you liked it. Let me know if you do.

    And I hope you go to the Fair.

    And HAPPY HAPPY trip to France! I wish I were going! Eat some bread for me!

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