Category Archives: Art

Articles about art, drawing, painting, etc.

Art Haul

Lonely Autumn
Lonely Autumn

Recently, well in the last few months anyways, I’ve spent a lot of time using watercolours and I really quite enjoy them. I was fortunate to shop at Cass Arts at their Charing Cross location last time I was in London and they happened to be selling a Winsor & Newton 24 half pan metal sketchers box for just a little bit north of $60 Canadian. This, needless to say, was a huge bargain! Better yet, I use this set all the time, it’s my favourite and I have a few options…

Speaking of a few options, which leads me to the whole art haul thing, I wanted to find some empty half pans and there just happened to be a really good art store, Studio Six, near my dentist. As chance would have it, I was doing a dental checkup yesterday and took the opportunity to pop into the store to see if they had some colours I was looking for, along with the empty half pans. Sort of a success:

  • Winsor & Newton half-pans of Hooker’s Green and Sepia
  • Winsor & Newton 14 ml Indian Red tube (wanted a pan, they didn’t have)
  • Winsor & Newton 5 ml Quinacridone Violet (limited edition)
  • Dr. P.H. Martin’s Hydrus  Watercolour concentrate 1/2oz sets 2 & 3 (I had set 1)
  • QoR watercolour ground, cold press
  • Rubber cement pickup

The colours are pretty self-explanatory, but it was the indian red that led me on my quest to still try and get some empty half pans. So, off to SOHO Art Supplies, but no luck, though I did get:

  • Pentel Aquash small brush
  • Pentel Aquash large brush
  • Butcher’s tray

Well, since it was sort of on the way home, I decided to hit Curry’s Art Supplies, just in case…

  • Ox Gall
  • Gum Arabic
  • 2 Fluid 7×10 watercolour journals (140 lbs cold press)

Last, but not least, I hit DeSerres because it really was on the way. Still no half pans, but:

  • 16oz jar of Speedball super black india ink
  • 5 plastic droppers (handy for working with the mediums)
  • 3 Strathmore Visual Journals (140 lbs cold press)

The dangers of getting side-tracked on your quests! A couple of notes, though, on some of the more interesting items…

The Hydrus sets are really quite neat, but there seems to be a flaw with some of the colours in Set 3. A number of them have congealed a bit and so I reached out to the company and they’re shipping me a replacement set. Said by the 14th, but I suspect it’ll be a bit longer than that. Anyways, talk about responsive! I’ll buy their products again.

Update: The replacement came on the 13th, a day earlier! Full set 3 too, not just the bad colours. Have to say, I’m very impressed with the customer service there, they will get more of my business.

Raw Sienna Hydrus should be very fluid and so not be able to sit on the dropper.
Raw Sienna Hydrus should be very fluid and so not be able to sit on the dropper.

The QoR watercolour ground is supposed to allow you turn many surfaces into something you can then watercolour on. I figured that was cool enough to want to try out and the price is reasonable.

On the visual journals front, those are mostly what I paint on and I’ve discovered that I really quite like the Strathmore Visual Journals and the Fluid journals. They seem to hold a wash well, minimal buckling, and nice sturdy paper. I tried, and wanted to like, the Bee Paper Aquabee journal but, well, it’s terrible. It soaks up the water quickly, buckles at the hint of moisture, and easily bleeds through.


Learning to Draw

So, here’s the thing… I’ve always liked to draw and paint, but I suck at it. More specifically, I’ve operated under the impression that I suck at it and, to some degree, I still do. What I have learned, however, is that you can overcome that impression! In fact, what led me to think that way was a website on Fantasy drawing and art where I could see the progression of improvement by a number of artists over time. Suddenly the lightbulb went on and I realized that nobody starts as Leonardo DaVinci, they have to work at it!

Enter Betty Edwards and her wonderful book: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Betty talks about the mental blocks that we develop, especially when young, and why we give up on drawing instead of persisting through the learning curves. That changed a lot of things for me.

So, watch this space as I start learning. I’m not about to throw away the camera in favour of a brush, but I think it’s safe to say that I like visual arts and I plan to continue working on my skills in all those areas.

In the meanwhile, I’ve started working on this:

File 2016-02-15, 16 21 02

It’s probably about a third done. Lots of work still do on the petals and then I think I want to fill in the background more. Plain white is a bit boring. 🙂