Reveal

Looking To Stretch Myself!

Aside from doing my Daily Art Practice aka a Watercolour Sketch a Day (mostly A5 size), for a while now I’ve been doing A4 size Watercolours. In my daily art practice I try new things (and make lots of mistakes) and occasionally, I will do one that I would like to do a larger version of. I still make mistakes when I do the larger ones, though. I’ve never agreed with ‘practice makes perfect’, I think it should be ‘practice makes better’. Hopefully, over time I will continue to get better!

I’m looking to stretch myself in my Art-practice at every opportunity.

  • Arto Watercolour Paper 300gsm Cold Pressed Medium Surface – 100% Cotton Acid Free
  • Winsor and Newton Artists paints
  • Neef brushes
  • Manuscript Dip-pens
  • Art Spectrum Artists Pigmented Black ink

These are my latest:

“Reeds In The Snow”
“Barren”
“Coastal Wash”
“Dreaming”
“On The Coast”
“Cliff-face”

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

February 2022

Sketchbooks – 2 favourites so far

It’s not so hard to imagine that there is no such thing as ‘the perfect Sketchbook’.

In my Watercolour/Line & Wash journey thus far I’ve tried a few different types and I would like to discuss two of my favourites.

Before I start though, I should mention what I use to do the line sketch as that alone can determine which type of sketchbook I use. I love using Dip Pens and also Pigment liners and as I’ve found, sometimes I have to use one or the other depending on which sketchbook I choose to use.

Moleskine: I’ve enjoyed using both A4 and the A5 versions. Currently, I’m using the A4 version as it will allow me to do 240 ‘Watercolour Sketch a Day’s’ in it. My daily sketches are mostly half A5 in size and the A4 sketchbook has 60 pages. The book is 25% Cotton and 200gsm which allows me to use both the Dip Pens and the Pigment Liners and it will take water, not a huge amount but some.

Winsor and Newton Visual Diary: I’ve only a couple of pages left in this one so I will soon be purchasing another. It is 100% Cotton and 200gsm in weight and so it takes substantially more water than the Moleskine, but interestingly, I cannot seem to use the Dip Pens in it so I use the Pigment Liners.

I’ve also tried the Strathmore Visual Journal in both A4 and A5 in both 90lb/200gsm and 140lb/300gsm and the latter copes with a lot more water but I found the paper doesn’t show the colours off as well as the two sketchbooks mentioned above, to me anyway.

Interestingly, when I use Art Spectrum waterproof ink in the Strathmore sketchbook, it takes longer to dry (up to half an hour) than if I use it in the Moleskine sketchbook.

I would be happy to hear people’s thoughts about any other sketchbooks that they would recommend that I try.

Written by David Johnson

16 December 2021

Dip Pen Fun!

A while ago, during my Watercolour Sketch a Day/Daily Art Practice venture I discovered the joys of ‘Line and Wash’ and started off with thin Artline pens then progressed to Staedtler Pigment Liners and still enjoy using them immensely.

Parallel to this I have been enjoying using a couple of Fountain Pens to write my poems with. I do so enjoy the ‘flow of the ink’ and just then general feeling one gets when writing with them. For me, there is no better writing experience.

In my Art ’travels’ I came across Dip Pens which hark back to olden days of a pen without ink, that one had to ‘dip’ to obtain the fluid to write with.

A few months ago, I purchased a set of Manuscript Nibs that came with two holders (pictured below and a bottle of Art Spectrum Pigment Ink). Since then I’ve added a ‘Postal’ Nib and had been seeking an appropriate reservoir to hold the ink (the Art Spectrum bottle comes with an eye-dropper so as a reservoir the bottle is impractical for that purpose).

After trying an inadequate plastic option I found a small screw-type glass bottle in a discount store for the princely sum of $2.50 and have been using that with some success.

Last weekend whilst on our Berrima NSW trip I found a Parker, ‘Quink’ ink bottle in the Sticky Beaks Antique store for $25.00 with its original box. Once I clean the dried ink out of it I will use it as the main reservoir.

I actually went into the store looking to see if they had an old-fashioned ink well. The had one made of Bakelite for $220.00, however, the ink reservoirs were so small that I couldn’t see the value.

For now, I am happy to use the two bottles as reservoirs and shall continue my search for an ink well that is of reasonable price and condition.

As far as sketching/drawing with the Dip Pens, I must say that I am enjoying the experience but still have much to learn.

Bye for now.

David Johnson

27 November 2020