Category Archives: Art Materials/Supplies

Vegetables and Experiments

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Still having fun drawing the produce of the local farmers markets.  This last couple of weeks has seen the addition of Bok Choy and I just finished the Cumquats yesterday.  I have been snuggling down on the coach with my heater and little Hannah as company as the rain comes bucketing down outside.  You can tell she is working hard and clearly having a bad hair day.

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Hannah supervising the writing of the post

Experiment 1

I have been experimenting with different waterproof inks for my Lamy safari pen.  I had been using Noodlers black ink, but it isn’t as waterproof as I would like.  These two drawings were done with Platinum Carbon Black.  I did notice an improvement with this ink, it is smoother in the pen and is much more waterproof.  The down side is that it does have carbon particles in the ink and they might block up my pen, (though it hasn’t done so in the  three weeks it has been in there and I haven’t used it every day, I don’t want to mess up my new pen).  I have just ordered some De Atrementis black archive ink which is also supposed to be good so I will see how that goes.

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Cumquats Ink and water-colour pencils

 

Experiment 2

I have also been playing around with gessoed boards to try to find some different ways to present this work.  I love working on paper, but I am not as happy with framing and putting the work behind glass. I would like to find a way to present the work similar to how oil paintings are with thick sides that can be hung on the wall.

When I did the  pieced patterns, I covered them with a varnish that had UV filters.  I am conscious of the fact that some colour pencil colours are not as light-fast as needed and that water-colour pencils are worse.  These UV filter coatings are getting very sophisticated so I am confident that the combination of varnishes from Golden will give me the dust and UV protection I will need.  I used Golden Gel Topcoat w/UVLS which I brushed on and Golden Archival varnish with UVLS which is a spray.  I used a combination of Gloss and Matt as the gloss gives a stronger finish and the matt top coat stops it being too shiny.

There is no doubt that these varnishes change the way the work looks and gives it a slight plastic finish and I haven’t decided if I can live with that yet.  I will take some photos of the process as I go along with these different experiments and of course share the outcomes with you.

Karen

 

 

More Art Supplies

Art Supplies

Art Supplies

I have finally received my package of art supplies,  I used a Christmas voucher to buy it but took ages to decide what to buy.  So I thought I would share my little treasure trove of art goodies with you.

Not pictured here but one of my favourite supplies is my Lamy Safari Fountain pen.  I have used it in my latest sketches and I am totally hooked.  Finally a fine inky line and a pen that does not die on my harsher watercolour/printmaking paper that I made my journals out of.  It will also go over coloured pencil, yippee!  I can’t tell you how many fine liner pens I have massacred, they don’t last more than a couple of drawings in my journals and they are killed by all the wax in the coloured pencils.  Plus there are different nibs and a whole world of inks.  The people at Goulet Pens have the best site and great YouTube videos to truly entice you into the world of fountain pens, plus they give you lolly pops in each order!  I am so easily bribed with food.

Colour swatches of Derwenk Gaphitint pencils

Colour swatches of Derwenk Gaphitint pencils

I also bought the new Derwent Graphitint pencils.  They are coloured graphite and although the colour range is a little limited, they have lovely subtle colours and they are water soluble, so work in well with the Derwnet Inktense that I already have.

There is also some more Sennelier water colours to complete my set which I purchased before Christmas.  They have honey in them so a very creamy.  I don’t have much experience with water colours and this is the first set of professional paints I have bought, so not sure how they compare, but I am happy with them. I just need loads more practice to get proficient with them.

I also had to have some  water soluble graphite that Anna Warren has been using (see here), so I bought a couple of sticks and a tin.  I have not played with them yet but am looking forward to trying them out.

Karen

 

Making little Note Books

The set of finished notebooks

The set of finished notebooks

A couple of weekends ago I found enough time and energy to make some little note books that I had been meaning to do for ages.  I wanted to get back into some book binding and to use the paper that a friend had brought back from Sennelier Art shop in Paris for me.

Note Book 1 front

Note Book 1 front

 

The set of finished notebooks

The set of finished notebooks

I had brought some of the same paper on an earlier trip to Paris and hadn’t been able to bring myself to use it, although I would bring it out and admire and pat it on occasion.  With the extra my friend bought and the possibility to get more I thought it was time to get brave and use them.  The idea of using the paper as covers for sketch books seemed a great idea and I was itching to have a go.

Making the Notebooks

Making the Notebooks

These are small (A5) size and I wanted to give them to some friends who would not necessarily use them for sketching but would be writing in them.  With that in mind I used some lighter bleed proof paper.

Note Book 2 front

Note Book 2 front

Note Book 2 inside c

Note Book 2 inside

They have light cardboard covers that I covered with my special paper on the outside and used some photocopies of my drawings on the inside for a pop of colour.  The binding is a simple saddle stitch, it really could not be easier to make a book.  I gave them all different closures to mix things up.

Note Book 4 front

Note Book 4 front

Note Book 4 inside

Note Book 4 inside

So please with my few hours work and happy to have such useful little gifts.

Note Book 3 inside

Note Book 3 inside

Hanging out with the mixed media girls

It has been a busy couple of days as I started the course with Jane Davenport who is a mixed media, journal artist.  There are fourteen of us here all drawing away in this little piece of paradise.

Umbrella Bali Journal Page

Umbrella Bali Journal Page

The mixed media journalling is a whole different world for me and their process is completely different to mine.  They do not plan their work, just go where the page tells them, they work from their imaginations not from real life and they just lay done colour, papers, stencils on a page to start the journal without worrying what the picture will be.  Also this group do faces, as anyone who follows this blog will know, I rarely do faces.  I am used to planning a drawing, doing sketches and working from real life or photo references.  Wasn’t I out of my comfort zone on the first day as we merrily slapped down colours and papers. I would be alright for a moment until I started to think about what I wanted to draw and then I would worry that I didn’t have a background that would work.  Let go Karen, let go!

Bali Journal Page Background

Bali Journal Page Background

Bali Journal Page Background

Bali Journal Page Background

Anyway I got there and have managed to get most of my pages filled with a background.  The great thing about these girls is they will use every different media under the sun in one picture, background using a scrape booking paper, on it will go a printmaking technique, then acrylic, then some water colour, ink paint pens and pencils.  They know so much about all the different mediums it is inspiring to watch them work.

Morning Offering Bali Journal Page

Unfinished Morning Offering Bali Journal Page  Every morning a offering (canang) is placed at my door with a stick on incense (dupa).

I have only finished on page (Umbrella at the top), but I will show you where I am up to in a couple of other pages.  I am also learning to work on a number of different pages at a time and not to worry if one doesn’t get finished.

Manatee Page Bali Journal

Unfinished Manatee Page Bali Journal   At the top I have drawn the fishing boats that go past every morning and evening and use their lights to attract their catch.  The manatee swim with the surfers.

Working on these different backgrounds has been so much fun, and it is what I most wanted to get out of this courses, apart from the pleasure of working with so many other lovely like minded people.

Bali Girl Bali Journal Page

Bali Girl Bali Journal Page

 

Dusk in Fitzroy

I was waiting to meet up with a friend for dinner and used the time to start a sketch of the lovely old Victorian shops in the stripe the restaurant was in. It was still too cold to sketch outdoors so I did the next best thing and wound down the window of the car, switched on the seat heating and the stereo, almost outdoors but with all the comforts, felt a bit like cheating, but I was too comfy to care.  It was right on dusk so I did not have much time to get the basics down.

Dusk in Fitzroy

Dusk in Fitzroy

I am using my new Japanese pens, I found a new website (which may be going to cost me big time) called Jet Pens through Sketch Book Skool and bought just a couple of things.  The new pens are Kuritake Bimoji Felt tip pens, they just have to be good with a name like that.  I also received some very special Japanese brushes for my birthday too.  Kazan Mahogany mop head brushes.  I asked for the number 2 and 6 and they are huge, but soooo divine.  I will be drawing them soon and will share some photos with you.

These two little terraces stood out for me as the tops were still original Victorian with the contrasting brick colours, while the bottoms had been renovated and were painted black.  A very ugly job but interesting juxtaposition between the colourful old and monochrome new,  Melbourne is renowned for these colourful brick patterns, luckily we had a number of different clay colours close at hand which is apparently unusual.

The other news is that I will be off to Bali for 10 days where I will be taking part in a drawing retreat.  Can’t wait to be in the sun and spend time with other arty people.  I will be sending you some drawings from there next week.

Karen

All the Art Supplies arrived at Once

Wind Flower Journal Page Watercolour pencils and ink.

Wind Flower Journal Page Watercolour pencils and ink.

I am in the happiest of dilemmas, all my art supplies have arrived at once.  My Caran d’Arche pencils have finally turned up, (the first set never arrived) and I have been waiting for them since Easter!  Then the new watercolour pencils came as well.  I spoilt myself and bought the rest of the Prismacolor, I had the 24 set and I also ordered the Derwent Inktense set of 36.  That makes over 130 new pencils.  Of course they arrived while I was away on holidays, but my very kind sister came to visit and couriered them to me.  Isn’t it nice when your family understands your obsessions. I started playing with the watercolour pencils first and of course did my colour chart.  I was very happy to find that the colours of the two sets did not overlap much.  The Prismacolors are more subtle and paler, while not surprising the Inktense are brighter and darker.  They compliment each other well.

Derwent Inktense Watercolour Pencils 36 set

Derwent Inktense Watercolour Pencils 36 set

I have only just started using the Inktense, but already I have found them not as soft and creamy as the prismacolors and are a little sractchy, but the colours are lovely and I will have to try them on some different paper to really give them a work out.  The paper in my journal is really printing paper and is too soft for drawing on.

Karen Pizza Chef

Karen Pizza Chef

I am staying in a little house in Dean’s Marsh again with a lovely cottage garden and a little wood fired oven.  So to thank my sister for her pencil delivery I fired it up and made my first ever wood fired pizzas.  Here is the chef in action, apart from a little char on the edges they worked very well.  We had a lovely lunch in the garden.

Lynette and Hannah, enjoying pizza

Lynette and Hannah, enjoying pizza

The wind flowers are out one of the few flowers blooming at this time of year, they are so lovely, I did the drawing of one in my journal and my sister took some lovely photos of them. The background of the windflower is done with the inktense pencils while the flower  is with the prismacolors.  You can see how intense the Derwents are, they really do live up to their name. On to the other pencils soon, don’t want to rush the pleasure of playing with my new toys. Karen

Pencil Case – a fitting home for my new pencils

 

New Pencil Box, Just waiting for more pencils

New Pencil Box, Just waiting for more pencils

 

Here is the new pencil box I made over the Easter break.  As I said in my previous post, I went a little crazy and bought more colour pencils.  I already had the large set of prismacolor pencils and I bought the extra 18 pencils that they brought out a while ago.  Then I went mad and bought the large set of Caran d’Arche Luminance pencils, so I now have to house 214 coloured pencils and I wanted them all in one place.  The only answer is build my own pencil case.

I had been considering my options and had thought of trays of colours in a box, like my tin for the prismacolors, but I found that the trays were messy to spread out.  I wanted to see all my colours in one glorious array.  So I went back to how the old Derwents were packaged in the staggered, folding box.  The prized box of 72 Derwents, my heart desire as a child, I never did get them in one box, I saved my pocket money and bought them one at a time until I had the full set, but never got the box purchasing them that way.  Clearly I am making up for a traumatised childhood!

Stage 1 - Dividers

Stage 1 – Dividers

Stage 2 - Putting the dividers together

Stage 2 – Putting the dividers together

I  needed three boxes though and ended up with the capacity for 240 pencils, enough to allow for extras.  I made them out of four rows of twenty pencils with four compartments of five pencils in each row.  I made the rows and glued them together, each one offset by 4cm.  Four of these made up my three boxes.  I then made an outside box to stick them into and then covered them in bookbinding cloth with side bits that would wrap around each other so the became a box and I could store them and most of all take them with me.  For extra trickiness I cut little hatches in the back where there was a gap so I had a place to keep extras like sharpeners, pencil rubbers etc.

Stage 3 - Dividers into the folding boxes

Stage 3 – Dividers into the folding boxes

I am really happy with the results, it is a bit stiff and doesn’t roll up completely square, but some of this will work out with use as it softens up.  The fact that it stands solidly on its own, means that I have all the colours in front of me which is handy.  I made little colour charts for behind the pencils, as I like them to go back into the same place.

Folded up

Folded up

I am just waiting now for the Luminance pencils to arrive from England and I can complete it.  You may still get an update on it as I haven’t completed the closures and I will need a new colour chart to include the new pencils and perhaps some decoration on the outside.

Time to play some more with the contents.

Karen

New Pencil Box, Just waiting for more pencils

New Pencil Box, Just waiting for more pencils