Monday, January 21, 2008

More Fun In The Snow

I've been having some fun with this little folded-paper sketchbook I made by following the instructions given on Nina Johansson's blog. (Thank you, Nina! I tried to link to you but couldn't get it to work for me. Still the techno-dummy on the block.)

It was really easy to do with just a ruler, scissors, a few minutes of measuring and cutting, and a sheet of BFK Rives printmaking paper that I got for Christmas. It folds easily and is heavy enough to take watercolour washes without buckling too much. The soft, almost fuzzy texture absorbs the paint in interesting ways, giving slightly blurred edges, which work well for me since that's how I view the world through my thick bifocals. I think the off-white colour works surprisingly well with these little snow scenes. There's no gouache used on the tree branch; the whitest areas are the natural colour of the paper.

I definitely want to try to make a more permanent sketchbook with this paper. The only fault I find with the little quickie book is that it has no firm cover, so it's hard to use the double spread. A somewhat larger book with a sturdy cardboard cover would be great.

I've been dabbling in watercolour for decades, using it frequently for sketching but always growling, "I'm not a watercolour painter", because for me the famous "happy accidents" never seemed to happen. There were lots of accidents, but none of them were happy. Results were almost always disappointing. I wasn't using cheap paper, either, although many of the images posted here such as the one below, were just scrawled in my Robert Bateman sketchbook.

Now, strangely enough, I have found two good papers in one month. The other one is handmade by a company with an Italian name - Rossini? Rossellini? - I've foolishly gone and lost the label. It was a sample pack of about five small sheets that I bought somewhere, sometime, probably at Wallack's in Kingston a year ago last September, which was the last time I was in a bricks-and-mortar art supply store. I seriously need me some more of this stuff. I have only one sheet left.

The paint seems to take on a life of its own on this paper, but in a good way this time. It does not race around in puddles and go splat. It looks for a good place to settle, and a good colour to settle with. It's so cool to just float the colours on and watch what happens. An expensive entertainment, I suppose, but worth at least the price of a good box of chocolates, and it isn't fattening. Oh, yes, this paper did curl a little, but I never did stretch it. The need to stretch paper is another reason I've never prospered with watercolour.


laureline said...

Agnes, these are fantastic! I especially like the first one and the last ones--that last one is the perfect rendering of a cold, foggy morning! There's something Whistlerian going on in these!

Agnes said...

Laura, thank you. It truly gives me a thrill to hear you say that. I'm always fascinated by the faraway shoreline, and by scenes that are mostly empty space, and especially by fog and snow, but I always fear people will think I just overused the water, or got the camera out of focus, or that my attention wandered and I forgot to finish the picture.

paris parfait said...

These snow scenes are wonderful! So moody and dreamlike. And thank you for your lovely comments on my blog! Now that I've found yours, will be back to visit often!

Britt-Arnhild said...

You have captured winter perfectly :-)

Claudia said...

Hello Agnes,
I visited your blog today and like your watercolours very much.
Kind regards from
Claudia, Germany.

Agnes said...

Tara, Britt-Arnhild, and Claudia, thank you so much for visiting.

DoReyMe said...

Very lovely work. I think, one of watercolours best kept secrets...really good art supplies. The difference between good paper + bad paper, is amazing. Also, the quality of the paints. This is one area where you really get what you paid for. And the paper name you're looking for, is it "Toscana" or "Italia" made by the Cartiera Magnani company founded in 1404!
It's fabulous + cut in really perfect sizes.
cheers...e in montreal