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Saturday, February 6, 2010

#004 Sapsucker Holes in Birch

We went to the Coast yesterday. I sketched this birch on location, and added color after I got home. The small holes were drilled by a sapsucker (a type of woodpecker). I don’t know what caused the large bruise on the right side.

My goal is to experiment … and this experiment reminds me why I basically quit painting in my journal – note klutzy brush strokes and wrinkled paper. All my journals are hardbound, 8 ½ x 11”. Even if I just go to the dump, I throw the journal in the van. My old journals had grey backs and a much better quality of paper. They took watercolor reasonably well. But several years ago I couldn’t find them and switched to a black one – 90# paper. I even think the old ones of those are better than my new ones. The last few years I’ve been writing and sketching in them so it really didn’t matter. They take a ‘dry’ watercolor reasonably well.

But now that I’m painting again, I thought I’d try something with some loose paint in my current journal. Big disappointment. The paper just soaks paint and wrinkles. I’ll have to remember to do my field sketching on better paper. I’ve read there are Moleskeine watercolor books, but I really don’t want to spend that much money when I fill 75% of my paper with mad scribbling (writing). I’ll just have to remember to keep decent paper in the car – unless someone knows of a wonderful 8 ½ x 12 hardbound sketchbook. Spiral bound never survive the abuse I give them.


Teri C said...

Despite your paper problem this is beautifully done and so 'birchy'!

I would definitely start scouting for a better weight paper than 90# I ran into the same problem and Moleskine is not the answer. It does take WC better than the 90 but not much. I think Strathmore puts out a nice 140# field sketchbook but it is spiral. I saw this at Dick Blick http://www.dickblick.com/products/strathmore-400-series-field-watercolor-sketch-book/
Maybe you will find the spiral will work this time.
Maybe you could just try it and see what you think.
I don't want you to get discouraged over bad paper--my experience is still fresh in my mind.

Elva Paulson said...

Hi Teri: That Strathmore 140# paper is pretty nice. My Challenge painting #002 (Wolf Moon) is painted on it. After your comment I went to Dick Blick website to see if you were talking about the same paper that I used for Wolf Moon -- it is. Dick Blick has a terrific sale on right now. Guess I'd better order.

Also, even Strathmore's Super Deluxe Sketch book (#93 paper) is worlds better than my hardbound journal. I'll just keep my hardbound journal black and white and keep good paper in the car. The spiral bound books are fine for that (I dont' eat lunch on them, put it in my pack, sit on ithem, ..... I really abuse my hardbound journals!

Good paper is a joy. ... and the journey figuring out what I really like is a pleasant voyage.

Kelly said...

...love this painting. We get yellow-bellied sapsuckers here in the winter, but I don't get to see them very often. I love coming across trees in the woods that show a sapsucker has been around. You've capture it perfectly. I really like your nature paintings.

kslaughter said...

Lovely sketch, Elva~~have you ever tried AquaBee sketchbooks? They come in several formats--I have a square one that I really like. I think I ordered mine from Cheap Joes. Good luck!

Laure Ferlita said...

Catchet and Canson both put out spiral bound wc paper books that are nice to work on (and don't break the bank). I think JoAnn's carries a wc book by Canson or Strathmore. With the coupon it should be very cost effective. I don't know of any hardbound sketchbooks that are going to take wc well. Most have paper for sketching.

I don't find your brushstrokes "klutzy" - I think they add a nice textural feel to the piece that works quite well. This may not have been your intended result, but it is quite nice all the same.

Krista Meister said...

I have not had success in WC with HandBook, Aquabee, or Moleskine (even the WC version!). I guess I am too heavy-handed with pigment and water. Have you tried making your own? There are a lot of good resources on the internet.

This is a very nice sketch done on location, Elva.