Thursday, September 18, 2014

Life Sketches in Pen and Watercolor

Life Sketches in Pen and Watercolor
7" square Stillman & Birn Zeta journal
Pigma Micron pen size 01
Yarka St. Petersburg "Extended" watercolors set

I love my Zeta journal. All my life, as far back as I can remember, I've done pen drawing and wanted it to come out like these. I started getting there with certain small subjects from life even as a child because my dad taught me to pencil carefully first before inking. I did a lot of pen sketches of my pet white rat, Puck.

So this week I'm the host for the regular Scavenger Hunt challenge on "Artwork from Life" forum at The host comes up with a list of 26 items to sketch from life, substitutions okay if you really don't have a cat or a figurine of a cat or a cat themed anything to draw. I suggested "Computer, because a CAT file in Windows is catalog," or "Person named Cat" since I know at least one. Several actually if I think back, but that's people not here at the moment. Of course my cat's very handy to draw and he's already in this one. He'll get in again under Animal and maybe under Matte since he's not shiny, and certainly if I do an eye from life it'd be more fun doing his than mine!

As luck would have it, I actually came up with a list that was hard for me. Usually that's other people's lists with items like "Something from your dining room" or "lawn mower" or something like that. I live in one room and the bathroom is separate from the loo, both shared with other tenants on my floor. Not in a suburban house with a car, driveway, living room, dining room, basement, attic, den, bedroom separate from studio, kitchen... it sort of boggles me sometimes how much space people have. No wonder most housemates are always bickering about cleaning up. 

So I did the list and I'm cherry picking the easy ones I have handy in my room. I'm sure I'll find more by the 22nd.

Love the 16 pen cube of Pigma Microns, All Sizes/Tips that I got from Blick recently. I use those a lot, actually use up these long lasting pens. They're perfectly waterproof so it's easy to pencil first and then ink, then start painting over it with a Niji waterbrush and any watercolor set I've got handy. Currently this is my new Yarka St. Petersburg Extended set. Extended has Rose in it and Rose Violet, two very useful colors, plus my favorite Russian (Hookers) Green and Ultramarine and Bright Blue (which I think is a Pthalo). Hansa Yellow. Raw Sienna and a redder earth that I really like, Shakhnazarskaya Red. Lovely earth red a bit softer and more transparent than English Red, which is also in it.

Yarka watercolors are particularly intense too. Very strong color and it dries nearly as bright as it looks wet. The lovely deep brown that predominates in the feather and rock is Voronezhskaya Black, actually more of a grayed brown sepia-ish color that I really love. The set has a warm and cold black. 

I might get the full range of these Yarka watercolors someday. Odd thing is, the cheapest way would be getting three full sets. Getting the two least overlapping sets and 12 extra colors would be more compact, but I'd pay $60 or so for the open stock pans instead of $40 for a third set. So I might just get the other sets in time and keep them stacked together. This was the best one for what I'm doing, though others have other favorites like Paynes Grey. 

Blick's doing a Zorn Palette Contest so I need to think about what I can paint in yellow ochre, Cadmium Red, Ivory Black and Chinese White. Could win $400 in watercolor supplies including 4 big tubes of those colors but also Kolinsky brushes and Arches watercolor block and pad. Very cool. Might go for something inspired by cave paintings since that's so much a cave painter's palette actually...

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