Tuesday, September 27, 2016

sketchbook :: a new Seawhite sketchbook

I am continuing with the Raven Rocks overlook theme by exploring compositions and color in my sketchbook. Above is one of the last sketches that finished my Strathmore 500 Series 8.5 x 11 inch Mixed Media sketchbook. Here I used charcoal, watercolor, watercolor pencil, Neocolor II watercolor crayons, and Inktense blocks. Although I like the Stathmore Mixed Media sketchbooks as a sturdy studio sketchbook I had found another, new to me, sketchbook to try.
It's a sketchbook made by Seawhite of Brighton and I chose the 10 inch square format. It is cloth bound with a hard cover and has a whopping 190 pages, so it's a hefty book. One of the first things that I noticed is that it stays flat when opened so there is no struggle with clips or holding the pages down when trying to work in it. The paper is 140gsm(95lb) all media cartridge paper, and it is a nice, bright white. So far, it has held up very nicely to everything I have thrown at it. There is some buckling when the paper gets very wet (and I tend to do that) but I don't mind because it is a sketchbook after all. The sketch above was also done with mixed water media.
I was curious how it would be for straight watercolor painting and I was very pleased with the way the paper in this book handles paint. I like to paint very wet and drop in color to allow it to mix on the paper and that method worked well with this paper. I have had sketchbooks that were so heavily sized that the paint would just sit there which was very frustrating for the way I like to work. I also found that lifting paint was not a problem on this paper either, so the sizing seems about right. This sketch was done with watercolor only.
So all-in-all I am happy to be working in this sketchbook. My studio sketchbooks do become a mix of studies, notes, quick visual thinkings, an occasional watercolor or pencil sketch, and more notes. I like that this has a lot of pages to accommodate all of that. Although because of its size I doubt I'll be hauling it around very far for plein air painting, but I already have a nice watercolor sketchbook to fill that purpose. The sketch above is also with mixed water media. I have more exploring to do yet with this Raven Rocks theme.

Use cheap colors, if you will, but buy good paper - fifty percent and more of your watercolors depends on the paper you use. 
Work very wet and don't be afraid of the colors running into each other. 
Use more color, play with it, yell at me with color. 
Give me something dripping with sunlight - make some horrible free studies.
~Charles W. Hawthorne~


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