View Full Version : Water Folio One (Moleskine A4 watercolor folio)

05-18-2010, 06:50 PM
I've started Water Folio One, titled it on the first page and got a reef scene sketched to pick up where I left off on The Goof Off Book. These are big pages, so they may get quite a variety of multiple images per page -- and occasional large paintings like what I did with the last one.

It'll fit on the scanner better. Here's the thread for it. There's going to be lots and lots and lots of little fish again!

05-18-2010, 10:44 PM
Here's the first painting in the new watercolor journal!

Coral II
8" x 10"
Daniel Smith Watercolors
A4 Moleskine Folio Watercolor Book 95lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference by lisilk for Weekend Drawing Event May 14-16

05-18-2010, 10:53 PM
This looks so peaceful. I could almost be snorkeling myself.

05-18-2010, 11:54 PM
Thank you! This is what I do instead of snorkeling. I've always wanted to but I don't know if I'm physically capable of it between asthma and other physical disabilities. I love drawing and painting reefs though, so I'm sure if I ever make it to a place like this and get special help being able to snorkel... that I'll go down with a pad of Yupo and some oil pastels or grease pencils to do corals plein air!

05-19-2010, 12:11 AM
Great start, Robert. Beautiful under sea painting. The colours are bright and cheery. I got a chance to snorkel in Hawaii about 35 years ago, and I still remember it. I had never seen such brightly coloured fish and they were everywhere. Anyway, glad to see you are starting another journal.


05-19-2010, 07:40 AM
Feeling awfully blue today, but your sketch made me feel better :)

05-19-2010, 11:00 AM
A beautiful start Robert.


05-19-2010, 01:41 PM
Thanks, Doug, I would love to visit Hawaii someday and snorkel. If they won't let me snorkel for health reasons (asthma and mobility problems), at least I'd love to go out in a glass bottom boat and see these beauties for myself someday. Only thing is, I should probably pack everything I own if I get to go because it'd be too hard to turn around and go back afterward!

Sandra, that is so awesome. There are paintings that do that for me too, if I'm having a hard day I'll feel better just seeing them. So glad to know my reefs make others as happy as they do me -- painting them is some serious pain relief at times.

Doug, thank you! Now I just need to keep on from the good start and not let this shuffle to the back of the stack for a year or two like my first Moleskine watercolor journal did.

05-19-2010, 06:15 PM
A great first page, Robert!

05-19-2010, 07:50 PM
Love the range of blues you have used,Robert. Looks like a real fish tank, to me, with those cute yellow fishes moving around.

05-19-2010, 09:33 PM
Thank you both! I'm happy and surprised at how popular the little yellow striped fish are. I'm glad that I put in so many of them.

Here's the finish -- I completed Page One by doing the Lucky Heron from this week's WDE, photo reference by lisilk. So both of these paintings are from the same WDE.

Page One - Moleskine Watercolor Folio
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Watercolor, Pigma Micron pens in blue-black and black.
90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo references by lisilk for May 14-16 Weekend Drawing Event.

Because the heron has a crab in its beak, it was hard to distinguish exactly where the beak tips were. I had to study the reference closely. I also measured proportions of beak length to neck length to body length and overall height, creating tick marks before building up the pencil sketch.

Once that was completed and corrected, I inked the heron with a blue-black Pigma Micron, including the two big branches dripping with Spanish moss that I put in for its background. Final stage, I used some of the dark blue watercolor mix left over from shadowing the coral reef on the bird. I mixed green in to make a gray-green, then brightened it with more green for the foreground clumps and browned it with some Quinacridone Burnt Orange for the bark of the tree. Last, I used a little Perinone Orange to do the heron's red eye and thinned that to salmon pink for the crab.

I'm very happy with it and think it goes well with Coral II -- both are from the Bahamas, both are nature paintings, the different styles help distinguish them from each other and a gap with text in it helps separate the two paintinsg along an interesting division. The layout was completely intuitive but I like how that came out.

05-19-2010, 09:47 PM
Robert, I am so glad you embraced this new forum. This page is amazing! I love all the blues in it. I have one of these A4 and the bigger A3, too, but I haven't gotten around to cracking them open yet. I intended them for plein air acrylic.

05-19-2010, 11:07 PM
The heron is great. I just love that style of ink and wash. You do it so well. I checked out a book from the library by Claudia Nice, because you mentioned her. I can only aspire.

05-20-2010, 12:10 AM
Yay you did the heron, and you did a much better job than I did. Maybe I should stick to ink and abandon the paints, hey? :)

05-20-2010, 12:28 AM
Julie, that's awesome! I considered getting the A3, but I wouldn't be able to fit it on my scanner and so I'd probably hardly ever use it. The A4 size is actually a better fit than all the 9" x 12" sketchbooks I've used, so it's wonderful. Thank you! I'm so glad you like this page. It's got so many that I know I'll do many, many more. I do have some acrylics so I might try those on paper too, done thin like watercolors.

Debby, thank you! Yes, this heron is the style I studied in Claudia Nice's book. That rocks that you found one of her books. I think she explains the basics of it in all the books regardless of what the subjects are. The one I bought is Painting with Watercolor. Pen & Ink, it combines Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor and Painting Nature in Pen & Ink with Watercolor. Almost all of her titles go into that style though. She did one just on pen and ink, but you can start doing washes over the pen drawing and it'll start looking like that.

05-20-2010, 01:09 AM
Really nice work, Robert! My wife is from Hawaii and many years ago when we were still in college, I spent a summer living with her family there. I worked a second shift job, and either surfed or snorkeled during the days - they lived pretty close to Hanauma Bay, an underwater preserve. So your sketch immediately reminded me of my trips there. Well done.

05-20-2010, 01:33 PM
Thank you! John, I wish I could go there and snorkel. I dream of someday getting to Hawaii and if they won't let me snorkel or scuba for health reasons, at least go out on a glass bottom boat and see these creatures in person. I've always loved reefs. Must have been great working second shift and getting to go out so many times.

Vivien Maloney
05-20-2010, 02:57 PM
Beautiful start to your new Journal Robert. The reef scene is so realistic it looks as if you had been there. And the Heron sketch is great.

05-20-2010, 03:04 PM
Thank you! I grew up on Jacques Cousteau and science books, Time-Life books and this one children's book titled "Pagu" about a hermit crab. It had gorgeous reef illustrations and completely caught my imagination. I've been trying to paint reefs ever since. My attempts at Sascha's age were... hilarious.

05-20-2010, 03:15 PM
Robert, I love your idea about the coral plein air :lol:
Painting under water must be the coolest experience ever for any artist out there :thumbsup: :D Wondering whether anyone has actually tried that ever. I mean artists are a bunch of crazy persons, so I wouldn't be surprised if someone has already done that, too ;)

05-20-2010, 08:55 PM
I always wondered why I didn't hear of someone doing that. It would make so much sense now that Yupo is available. Paper, wood or canvas wouldn't stand up to it, but plastic would. Grease pencils are what they use to mark up underwater construction sites, there are several types of things used for that sort of thing that'd work underwater.

It would make me roll on the floor laughing if I got out and managed to do it, only to find out I was the first to carry it out. Surely there are plenty of artists who snorkel or scuba dive, aren't there? And it's the sort of cool thing that having a friend come along to snap photos of you doing it would make for good press, the Sunday papers would love that sort of thing.

05-21-2010, 12:56 PM
Maybe they're afraid that taking oil pastels into the ocean will add up to the oil polution there? :D. Just kidding. No seriously, if I could scuba-dive and had all the necessary equipment at hand I would totally try this.:thumbsup:

Too bad though I don't even own Yupo paper, else I'd try painting under water in my sink first. Just to please my curiosity and to see how painting under water actually feels like. :D

05-21-2010, 02:26 PM
You know, I could try that. Just take an oil pastel and a piece of Yupo into the bathtub and see if I can sketch underwater, just sketch the faucet or something. That'd be enough to tell if it'd work. Some types of colored pencils might work too, though not the watersoluble sorts. The main thing would be to use a soft greasy or waxy nonwatersoluble medium and a surface that isn't damaged by total immersion. I'm not sure the Ampersand gesso boards would be hurt by it either, though I don't know if their backs are sealed waterproof enough to work for it.

Still, an artist in a tropical reef area could have a great shtick doing that, plein air under the sea... makes me wish I was healthy and lived in the Bahamas or Caribbean or something.

05-21-2010, 04:15 PM
Beautiful work. I'm looking forward to seeing more!

05-21-2010, 05:47 PM
Thank you! As asked, here's more... how could I resist a cat? Especially one with such a commanding presence!

Carly, the cat who owns M. Ginsberg
3 1/4" x 8 1/4"
Derwent Graphitint tinted watersoluble graphite pencils
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press paper.
Photo reference by mginsberg for May 21 Weekend Drawing Event.

I might be posting more today here or in Folio One, thanks to a good WDE and an ongoing Scavenger Hunt.

05-21-2010, 06:13 PM
You certainly got that imperious cat look here. :cat: Great ginger cat.

05-21-2010, 07:02 PM
Thank you! She looked so bossy and plump in the reference that she was irresistible. Okay, all cats are irresistible to me.

Here's another WDE, this time just loose watercolor:

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
3 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Sakura Koi Pocket Box watercolors
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press paper.
Photo reference by mginsberg

20 minute watercolor sketch using the 12 color pocket box to demonstrate it so I can review it on my art supply reviews blog (signature). I realized I'd done the good W&N field box but not its companion, the convenience where speed of setup counts one.

05-22-2010, 02:19 AM
Robert, such bright and pleasant color! Love your sea scene!


05-22-2010, 02:41 AM
Thank you! Most of my life I've done wimpy watercolors, faded and hard to see if you scan them. I learned better. :D

05-22-2010, 11:12 AM
That lighthouse is fantastic. The dramatic lighting and shadows really make it pop.

05-22-2010, 12:49 PM
Thank you! I went back to the WDE this morning and finished the page with the pink jellyfish from the invite:

Pink Jellyfish
4" x 8 1/4"
Daniel Smith watercolors and color Pigma Micron pens (orange, pink, violet)
A4 Moleskine Folio Watercolor Journal, 90lb cold press paper.
Photo reference by mginsberg for 5-21-2010 Weekend Drawing Event.

And here's the full Page Two, with everything together:

Water Folio One, Page Two
Derwent Graphitint, Sakura Koi watercolors, Daniel Smith watercolors, Pigma Micron pens in orange, pink and violet.
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press paper.
All photo references by Marianne Ginsberg for May 21-23 2010 WDE.

05-22-2010, 05:48 PM
Robert, the jellyfish made me recall such a great memory. A few years ago my husband and I visited the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. An amazing place and somewhere that we plan to visit again. The jellyfish area is so cool! Bleacher type seating and new age music. You could zone out for hours there. I've never seen such an enthralling area. You would love it! When I get back there, I will send you live pictures!

05-22-2010, 06:57 PM
Very cool jellyfish.

05-22-2010, 09:00 PM
Wow, thank you, Dena! That's where the photo refreence was from -- Marianne went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and got lots of good photos to post for the WDE. I would really appreciate that! Especially if you also get some fish, starfish, crabs, other colorful life forms ... anemones and creatures in shells... the jellies are fun but I love all the curious sea life out there.

Thanks, Debby! It was tricky, wet in wet is not something I do often or lightly.

05-23-2010, 05:19 AM
Love the watercolours, and that cat is so cute!

By the way, I see that you used Sakura Koi watercolours. This reminds me that I've seen a set of 18 colours + waterbrush at my art supply stores. I am very tempted by it, but am hesitating in forking out 12 euros (around 20 dollars), especially that I have now quite a large cotman set.

05-23-2010, 09:03 PM
Sandra, thank you! I do use Sakura Koi watercolours. A friend bought me the 12 colour set for my birthday in 2004. I found myself using it a lot because with the water brush, it's loony convenient for sketching.

It has its pitfalls and benefits.

I don't tend to mix colours in it much. I use them straight from the pan as they are and mingle them on the paper, which is a completely different technique. Almost like having a set of brush pens in those colours, but of course with variable water quantity by squeezing the brush.

The paint is comparable to Cotman -- strong, vivid, good saturation, non-toxic hues and in these sets, you can't purchase individual half pans the way you can for a Cotman set. The pocket box is sturdy and permanent. When I've used up my set, I'll probably try to carefully clean the molded palette and refill the pans with Daniel Smith tube watercolours.

I use it often on sick days, if I'm not up to getting up to clean the water jar or get water. I can still paint in bed easily with the Sakura Koi sets. I bought the 24 colour one when that came out, liked the way it had Quinacridone Rose and Payne's Grey and some other colours I love that aren't ever found in 12 colour sets. Yet the small set still finds its way into my hand more often than not because it's so small and handy.

I have several good sets and rotate them. I've accumulated them over the years and given one away to a student because I hardly ever used it -- a Pelikan transparent watercolours set. I'm starting to accumulate a sizable drawer and box of tube watercolours too. Your empty tin for half pans looked like a great idea and I may want to get something like that someday, start putting together a personal palette.

I would definitely recommend getting the water brush. That's the core of its convenience, cheaper when it's not with the set. The Niji brand one is good too, very similar. Derwent also has an excellent water brush. The key to that is greater ease, especially if watercolour's secondary, like just swiping a wash in on sketch-wash pencils or watercolour pencils. But there's no reason you couldn't use the water brush with the Bijou Box just as easily. It's one more thing to put in pocket but with the Bijou Box, it's that essential one more thing that makes up for it not having a water cup or bottle.

If you pick it up, you'll probably use it a lot for its convenience. But don't neglect your other watercolours for it, because other sets and using a regular brush will push more toward mixing in palette and using traditional techniques. I also recommend Pebeo masking fluid. It says Pebeo Drawing Gum on the label.

That's the thinnest, easiest to paint on masking fluid I've tried out of several. I wasted a lot of money on a Masquepen that even with a steel Super Nib gave a thick blobby line and large drips but clogged easily. It's easier to just dip a toothpick into the Pebeo and apply tiny drops where wanted or short thin lines. I've got a ruling pen on order to apply it with that hopefully will help a lot with masking cat whiskers.

Ari's whiskers are white, but I've been doing them in black mostly because it's easier to put them in with a pen. If I can get a thin enough line with mask, I can do some good watercolour portraits of my cat and get his Special Speckled Whiskers of Serendipity accurate! They're not all pure white -- some are speckled randomly. He occasionally puts one in my keyboard as a special gift.

He is cute. He's known he was cute since he was a six week old puffball who was about 3/4 fur with a face no bigger than the tip of my thumb inside a four inch round fluffball. He grew into his big hair but he's still adorably cute. He also appreciates compliments and purrs at you from my lap. I read him his fan posts sometimes and he always likes that.

05-24-2010, 09:25 AM
Page three is a demo inspired by an idea I had during a conversation in Purpalia's "Mes Carnets Moleskine" journal thread. I was trying to explain foliage clumps, thought of sponging as the easy way to get them and then decided it might work better to actually do a demo.

With typical catlike arrogance, I did the demo even though I have never sponge painted anything in my life. This is actually the first time I have ever used the little sponge that came in my Winsor & Newton Field Box, even though I've used a W&N Field Box since 1979. Go fig.

Sometimes there's an easier way to do things!

Sponge Tree Demo
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Winsor & Newton watercolours & small sea sponge
Sakura Pigma Micron pen for sketched trunk and captions
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolour journal.

If you've ever had any problem doing trees or just like how this looks, please try this demo. You will not be hijacking my thread if you post your results here. Please do. I'd love to know if I did the demo justice, so especially if you're a beginner, post your results and tell me if you had any problems. How else will I know if I left out something important?

I did the sketch lines in ink so that it could be seen, but suggested doing them in pencil because they'll vanish or can be erased. I would rate this as "easy" if I was posting it somewhere like eHow where they demand ratings.

05-24-2010, 09:53 AM
Nice demo Robert, I'll have to try that.


05-24-2010, 09:53 AM
Great demo, Robert.

05-24-2010, 10:06 AM
Ah, another watercolour journal from which I can gather inspiration :D I like how you achieve bright and intense colours! I'm also very amused at the idea of painting underwater - that would be interesting to see. The undersea scene on the first page is beautiful.
Will have to give your demo a try myself - I've used sponges and foam brushes for acrylic painting before but it never occurred to me to use them for watercolours too. Looks like a fun idea!

05-24-2010, 01:17 PM
Sponges aren't near as alien as a brush. I will have to give this a try. My first ever painted tree with watercolors would make a cat laugh.:o

05-24-2010, 02:36 PM
Thank you! Wow, I'm so glad this demo got such a big response. It just seemed natural to me to lay in the lights first and work darker since it's transparent, but otherwise treat it like the acrylic decorative painting sponging.

LOL Debby. I know what you mean about uncontrollable brushwork. I've had decades of practice now but I can still remember the misery at my earliest tries with transparent watercolor -- probably the most difficult of all paint mediums but also the most easily available with the least setup.

Aiylah, David, Debby, if you do the demo, please do feel free to post it in my thread. I'd love to see it.

05-24-2010, 06:30 PM
Awesome! Yup, trees! I love that lighthouse too! Thanks for the various tips. I can't wait for our waterbrushes! I'll also try your demo :)

05-24-2010, 09:40 PM
That's great! Your water brushes are going to make the whole thing so easy that it's like grabbing markers. I love those things. Half the quick watercolor sketches I do are with them, especially on bad days.

05-25-2010, 01:52 AM
Good little demo, Robert. I keep on forgetting to pick up a sponge when I go shopping. You can get some nice effects. Thanks for showing us.


05-25-2010, 11:57 AM
Robert, love your moleskine so far - all the pictures in it are fabulous- WOW!!

I love this demo and i'm going to give it a try...

Brandon (my boyfriend) bought me a watercolor moleskine book - it's my first one.... i haven't used it yet, because i'm scared i do something 'ugly' in it - if only i could be guarenteed it would come out as great as yours... :)

05-25-2010, 11:57 AM
Robert, love your moleskine so far - all the pictures in it are fabulous- WOW!!

I love this demo and i'm going to give it a try...

Brandon (my boyfriend) bought me a watercolor moleskine book - it's my first one.... i haven't used it yet, because i'm scared i do something 'ugly' in it - if only i could be guarenteed it would come out as great as yours... :)

05-25-2010, 11:57 AM
Robert, love your moleskine so far - all the pictures in it are fabulous- WOW!!

I love this demo and i'm going to give it a try...

Brandon (my boyfriend) bought me a watercolor moleskine book - it's my first one.... i haven't used it yet, because i'm scared i do something 'ugly' in it - if only i could be guarenteed it would come out as great as yours... :)

05-25-2010, 11:58 AM
Robert, love your moleskine so far - all the pictures in it are fabulous- WOW!!

I love this demo and i'm going to give it a try...

Brandon (my boyfriend) bought me a watercolor moleskine book - it's my first one.... i haven't used it yet, because i'm scared i do something 'ugly' in it - if only i could be guarenteed it would come out as great as yours... :)

05-25-2010, 11:58 AM
Robert, love your moleskine so far - all the pictures in it are fabulous- WOW!!

I love this demo and i'm going to give it a try...

Brandon (my boyfriend) bought me a watercolor moleskine book - it's my first one.... i haven't used it yet, because i'm scared i do something 'ugly' in it - if only i could be guarenteed it would come out as great as yours... :)

05-25-2010, 11:58 AM
Robert, love your moleskine so far - all the pictures in it are fabulous- WOW!!

I love this demo and i'm going to give it a try...

Brandon (my boyfriend) bought me a watercolor moleskine book - it's my first one.... i haven't used it yet, because i'm scared i do something 'ugly' in it - if only i could be guarenteed it would come out as great as yours... :)

05-25-2010, 12:05 PM
Oh NO!!!!! Sorry about all the posts - my internet was just hanging and hanging and then when i refreshed - THERE WAS LIKE A MILLION POSTS!!!
SOrry everyone!!!

05-25-2010, 04:33 PM
Tania, thank you! That happens to me too sometimes, especially if my access is wobbling. My post goes through, then it goes through again and again and I come back to find I repeated it three times? It's still appreciated, I don't mind seeing the same compliments more than once.

Congratulations on your new Moleskine watercolor book! If you start in on it, yours will become as beautiful as mine at some point in it. But it takes doing something to the first page to let yourself go in it. So here's my suggestion, based on what I actually did in my original Moleskine watercolor journal.

Demonstrably, it worked. Right?

I started off with a color chart of my Winsor & Newton Field Box. The very first thing I put onto its expensive, archival pages was a simple list of my colors with swatches. I had a space next to it so I painted a very careful self portrait because I'd actually done people for a living in New Orleans and trusted I could get the likeness. Not in watercolor, but I slowed down, sketched it carefully first, then painted it in glazes so it wouldn't come out bad. It came out well.

So for you, pick the very easiest subject there is for you. The thing you've drawn the most. The subject you get right every time you do it, the safe image that's right at the heart of your comfort zone. Then do it slow and careful using every bit of your skill.

This will give Page One a grand, showoffy, professional look. It will wow anyone who picks it up. They don't need to know you did butterflies that way for the past fifteen years or that you were always good at rabbits or that your favorite stylized tree is something you worked out in grade school. What they see is something mature, finished, well done and polished... but you chose it for being the easiest thing you knew you could do well.

From there it's okay to experiment. From there even a few that don't turn out great can even get reworked later if you find out there's some new way to fix it. That happens. But the good looking page one with a color chart on it is also a reference for when you want to find out which shade of green would work for that thing on page 20.

Then every time you get new watercolors, chart them in the book. I should have started all the charts in the back so they'd be easy to find, working forward with charting. This is tremendously useful for finding out which set to grab for which effect and so on. I charted my watercolor pencils in it too. When I need to find charts, I grab the Moleskine.

They're all in one place now even if I need to flip through it to find them, and that makes them useful in a way that leaving them around on spare bits of paper wasn't. I'm not sure if I'll repeat them all in the Folio or not, because keeping the charts in my original Moleskine is also an excuse to keep it around when it's full. I have 10 1/2 sheets left, 21 pages.

It becomes a reference. So do some of the studies in it, if I want to develop larger paintings from them. Treat it like that, like it's your personal record of watercolor discoveries. When you try things, write notes about them, leave space for the notes and jot them in.

No matter how amazing a sketchbook it is, if it's got all that useful information it'll always be something to keep handy even when it's full. It will get beautiful because it can't help but become beautiful.

Here's a link to the thread with my original watercolor journal: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=559442 -- I started it because I was awed by Scattykat's nature journal, which she'd been doing for three years in multiple volumes. I thought hers was so beautiful and mine would never be that cool...

And now, mine's cool. My painting's improved a lot since the beginnings too. Page One is down in Post #9 because I wasn't sure if I wanted to post a page with a color chart on it. But now I do... it's great and it's a lot of help also to see how my colors look on screen. That helps me choose colors that do scan over colors that don't!

05-25-2010, 04:42 PM
Wow. . . I love that idea of putting the color charts together in one sketchook. Seems like such a simple idea but it sure didn't dawn on me when I made the ones I have. I am going to do mine all over in a book this weekend so they are all together. BRILLIANT! :thumbsup:

BTW, I don't have a moleskin watercolor as of yet, but they sure sound nice. Maybe when I order again I will splurge for one. But gotta work on filling up this little Pentalic first I reckon.

05-26-2010, 02:03 AM
They are great. They fold flat for scanning and the watercolor paper takes anything I want to throw at it.

05-27-2010, 06:09 AM
Robert, thank you so much for the advise - i feel allot better now!

As you know, i'm going art supply shopping this weekend, so maybe i'll start off my new book with some new supplies too :)

Your original watercolor journal is stunning - still busy looking through all the pages - by they way, your catseye marble looks GREAT!! no one commented on it back then, so i'm commenting on it now!! :)
You do marbles quite allot and they always come out so well, you did one for the scavenger hunt not to long ago and it looks stunning!!

i'm going to try what you said and do something on the first page that i know i can do well - Deep Breath.... HERE I GO!!

06-01-2010, 10:51 PM
How did I miss THIS one??? Great reef pic, you do those so well. LOVE the heron! Got to try the sponge tree too, great idea! :-)

06-02-2010, 12:04 AM
Thank you, Rachel! So glad you like this one. I should do more in it soon. Try the sponge tree, it's easy!

Tania, thank you. I don't know how I missed your post this long, must have been a bit spacy for a few days (actually, I was.) So glad you like the marbles. I love doing them, it's one of the most showoffy subjects I can do. I used to do them in colored pencils sometimes and then I discovered Claudia Nice -- doing marbles was half of why I bought the book, but I'm so glad I did.

I think I saw your first page already with swatches and painting, go you!

No... went looking and didn't see it yet. Go do it to it, scan or photo and post it! I can't wait. Come on, you can do it.

06-09-2010, 04:37 PM
This one seems to be drifting in the direction of demos and observations with notes. First the sponge tree demo, now I've started this series of Color Explorations.

Cadmium Tulips and a Lemon Jonquil
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolor pans
Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press paper.
Photo reference for Cadmium Tulips by scattykat for WDE June 5-7, 2010.

My daughter gave me a new-to-me watercolor set last week, a 24 color Winsor & Newton Artists' full pans set. Big full pans, most of them barely used at all. I thought it was a Cotman set when it fell over a few times and I helped her put the chips of paint back into their pans.

When I settled down to clean the palette and clean off the tops of the pans, I found out that some blues had gotten switched because each of the plastic pans has a color name and other information printed on it. I also found out that I had six genuine Cadmiums, genuine Cobalt, colors I'd put off buying because they're too expensive.

It's an older set, the color called Intense Blue looks exactly like Winsor Blue and Lemon Yellow Hue is renamed Winsor Lemon now. But "Intense Blue" is one of the things Pthalo gets called just like Winsor Blue is. The colors match up fine, I don't think I am actually using discontinued pigments in it.

The nice thing about watercolor pans is that they really don't ever go bad. So if you see old sets on eBay or something, snap them up for the bargain. Odds are they're still just fine and you'll have good watercolors at a low price.

I charted this set in my regular Moleskine watercolor journal, just a chart page like all the rest... but inspired in part by Raymond (Prismalos) and his beautiful "Dragons" color chart, I wanted to do something a little more interesting in the big one. I've demonstrated eight of the 24 colors. Now I'll be looking for sixteen more subjects among my photo references and still life objects, each predominantly the color of the pan I'm using. Pen lines are light and broken so that the color gets more emphasis.

I'm also making plenty of notes with each color too. Someone asked on another journal thread if I'd post more about colors, presumably in watercolor, so this series is my current answer. I might go from this into different sets or into mixing or whatever, but this has become my current cool project in an art journal.

At last, something to fill the gap after I finished that "Start a Sketchbook Habit" workshop.

06-09-2010, 07:06 PM
Next in the series, starting page five.

Alizarin Crimson Cardinal
4" x 8 1/4"
Sakura Pigma Micron size 08 black and Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolor
Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo reference by Bart Rulon from Artist's Photo Reference: Songbirds & Other Birds.

Some Cadmium Red Light was used to shade the highlights on upper chest and top of crest, but all dark and middle areas are pure strong Alizarin Crimson.

Alizarin Crimson is Lightfastness "B" as Winsor & Newton warns, one step below artist grade lightfastness. Permanent Alizarin Crimson is extremely lightfast though, and the original isn't too bad, just not up to modern standards. It is a staining color, very hard to lift out after it's down. If you mix it with Ultramarine you get a gorgeous violet or black depending on how strong you make it. Alizarin Crimson is a good darkener for reds.

The stem is Burnt Umber with Viridian Hue charged in and then some Burnt Sienna to bring it back toward brown again since it got too green. The buds are pure Sap Green.

06-09-2010, 09:46 PM
Alizarin Cardinal, Purple Lake Gloxinia, Ultramarine Cineraria
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen size 08 black
Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolor
Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, cold press 90lb paper.
Photo references for flowers by Gary Greene from Artist's Photo Reference: Flowers, for the cardinal by Bart Rulon from Artist's Photo Reference: Songbirds & Other Birds.

Three more important colors in the Color Explorations series. Ultramarine and Alizarin go together, making either a rich black or the best purple you can get unless you have Permanent Rose (which makes brighter purples, as does Opera Rose or most Rose colors). I like this as a two page spread, it's pretty cool.

06-09-2010, 09:53 PM
Thanks for the color information. Part of my hesitation about water colors is the differences in what is opaque, what is staining, and what is granulating and what difference it would make in a painting. Learning all that is more intimidating than learning to play the flute at 8 years old. Your drawings are lovely. The use of flowers is perfect for this information. Your cardinal is a delight to the eyes.

06-09-2010, 11:51 PM
Such beautiful color explorations, Robert. No quick little filled in squares for you. LOL

06-10-2010, 09:02 AM
You copy-cat you! LOL! Love the flowers and cardinal, great way to do a color chart! After seeing the dragons I thought about doing something similar in the back of my moleskin but alas, I will probably just stick with a simple color chart! I did think of doing a flower bloom in each color though, and may do that with one of my range of pencils at some point. I have 4/5 sets I need to get down to be able to see what they look like!
Looking forward to seeing what colors you'll do next :-)

06-10-2010, 11:56 AM
Debby, thank you! It does help to understand transparency, staining, granulation and all those different properties in different watercolors. One place I've found useful for information is the Winsor & Newton website: http://www.winsornewton.com/ has a lot of tutorials and background that helped me. Another is http://www.danielsmith.com because they have a lot of information per color and 226 colors. They don't have actual Cadmiums but anything else, I've found it there with lots of information on it.

Then there's just experimenting with them. That helps more than anything. If you want to test how opaque a color is, paint it over a black waterproof pen line and see how much it obscures it. They're all useful in different ways. The most transparent ones are good for glazes over paintings that have dried, the more opaque ones make good bottom layers and the staining colors are often the really gorgeous colors.

Michelle, thanks! I already did the painted in squares chart for this set, before I saw Raymond's gorgeous dragons page. That decided me to explore them in more depth than just a patch.


There's a photo of the set with the first chart I did, the one that's in the book with all my other charts. But I like this series more, it's helping me to get used to them and their particular qualities. Some of these pigments are new to me, like the Cadmiums that I haven't used often. I think I have one of them in my Field Box but the rest are all new.

Making notes about them is helping too. I know this stuff, but when I write it out it's easier to remember.

Rachel, a series of flower blooms in each color with colored pencils would be awesome. I think Raymond's started something here. The dragons page is so inspirational.

06-10-2010, 03:23 PM
Here's another page with five more colors explored, the rest of the Cool Colors middle row in the set. I used both Pthalo Blue aka Intense Blue and Cerulean Blue on the bluebird, because Cerulean matched its chest feathers perfectly but didn't go deep enough to use on its wings and I thought the contrast might be interesting and useful. Intense Blue/Pthalo Blue when thinned with enough water seems to make a good match with Cerulean Blue anyway, but the texture is different and Cerulean Blue is not staining -- while Pthalo Blue is very staining.

That makes Cerulean good for glazes, also it's great for skies if you want to be able to lift out clouds with clear water and a soft cloth. Pthalo, you'd never get anywhere near white doing that. Cerulean means "sky" anyway, so this color that's a perfect match for the Sky Blue crayon when you were little, is just Sky Blue in fancier language.

At a fancier price too -- Cerulean Blue is one of those expensive pigments people don't usually invest in until they're sure if they like watercolor. When something says "genuine" I tend to assume it's toxic, in fact, with all artist grade watercolors I don't lick the brush or get it into my coffee.

Unless it's earth tones. Some of the red or gold or brown earth tones are non toxic by nature, just colored dirt that gets scraped up, ground, triple milled and filtered and mixed with proprietary binders to create artist grade paint. Cheaper student sets often use the actual earth tone pigments for those cheaper pigments, but don't grind them as fine -- you can really see the difference in strength when you use a better grade of paint.

I threw out a big cup of coffee yesterday because of one splattered droplet of Cadmium Orange and had to wash the cup out thoroughly. That was frustrating! But I could see it blooming on the coffee surface, Cadmiums are strong pigments.

Water Folio One, Page Six
Color Explorations Continued
Sakura Pigma Micron pen size 05 black
Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolor pans
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

06-10-2010, 04:57 PM
Page Six is another stunner! Just loving all these colors! Great way to show the colors at their potential. Love them all :-)

06-10-2010, 07:36 PM
Rachel, thank you. I love all these colors too, doing this has shown me how great they are by themselves. This page completes the series -- the last eight colors in the set are now profiled with samples.

Color Explorations - Earth Tones
Water Folio Page Seven
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen
Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolor
Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press paper.
Everything on this page except the moon is from life, moon painted from several Google images.

06-10-2010, 08:14 PM
What a great idea! Test out all the colours by using them in little paintings. They all look great. What a nice set you have, Robert. Your daughter knows you well.


WC Lee
06-10-2010, 09:01 PM
great looking sketchbook :) I like how you divide the page up into sections for each sketch and notes. I could never be that neat :lol:

06-10-2010, 09:47 PM
Thank you both! Yes, Doug, she does know me well! I have several gifts from her that I treasure -- this set, the Lukas set, the Kolinsky brushes she gave me one year, the Cretaceous leaf fossil that I painted for Burnt Umber.

WC, I've only recently started getting used to dividing a page that well. Up till last year I was bad at it, would get one or two small drawings on a page and then have too much space to look good but not enough to do anything in. I didn't get the hang of large sketchbook pages till recently, a few months ago.

06-10-2010, 10:56 PM
Oh wow! This page is so cool! I just love all those natural rocks and shells and ... another sharks tooth?
There is a place, a little rock shack in Big Bend that I go to whenever my friend and I go hiking there that sells all SORTS of amazing stuff... fossils, teeth, semi-precious stones, rocks, native american pieces, (genuine and replicas), cactus, fossils, (some rare stuff too), minerals, natural mercury containing rock, cactus, did I mention rocks? LOL! You'd LOVE it! Next time I go I'll try and pick you up something cool because you obviously like to draw things like this! I think you'd be like a kid at Xmas in this little place!
I love the shells... I have some treasured shells here from my island home that are really pretty, which I intend to draw. Now - what is that red stone you drew? Carnelian? Pretty!

06-10-2010, 11:18 PM
Very nice presentation of colors and notes. This is an awesome way to do a color chart.

06-10-2010, 11:43 PM
Nice rock collection you have there, Robert. Is that little round one at the end a snowflake obsidian? Your colors are so clean and vibrant!

06-11-2010, 12:07 PM
Rachel, thank you! Yes, that little black object for Ivory Black is another shark's tooth, polished shiny by the sea. My daughter lent me a book that had a bag of them tucked inside the cover. It's painted a bit larger than life, they're quite small but very varied in shape. I might do some more of them.

I probably would be like a kid at Christmas in that shop you described. I love fossils and crystals and minerals. Used to have some stone arrowheads as a kid but I don't have those any more, may go looking for one on eBay. I'm not sure what the red stone is, whether it's carnelian or jasper -- it's got beautiful color though, an exact match for Light Red so I used it for that. Very shiny, tried to convey that with the highlights.

Debby, thank you! I was inspired by Raymond (Prismalos) and his page of dragon faces for his color chart. Had to do something interesting even though I already had a swatch chart of these colors.

Michelle, thanks! The little round one at the end is a painting of the moon, I marked off a round with a circle template, painted it Ivory Black and then painted over it with three layers of Chinese White to do the moon's markings. I probably should've done a piece of snowflake obsidian. I've got one somewhere and that would've been perfect to show how Chinese White looks on black -- heck, I could've dropped it in and let it push the black out of the way in a blossom.

The colors are all at full brilliance because they're not mixed with anything, so all of these paintings in the series look unusually bright and intense. Mixing with near neighbors on the color wheel doesn't reduce intensity much but as it gets farther away, mixes get more muted.

I might have to try that anyway sometime, it'd be cool.

Not sure what I'll do next in here but I will probably do something with it today, I'm having way too much fun with these.

06-11-2010, 04:36 PM
OMG, Robert.. wish I had a lot more time to comment.. I LOVE the whole journal!! The last page is terrific.. the earth colors so rich and the pen/ink drawings amazing!!! I will be back later to make more of a detailed message. :) You really did a GREAT job!

06-11-2010, 08:27 PM
Wow, thank you, Rose! So glad you like this one. I'll have to keep going with it.

06-11-2010, 10:12 PM
This is so wonderful. I love how you have been doing the colour samples and info. So bright and colourful and informative. They are just beautiful pages to look at. I always wonder what fantastic things I will see here next. Thanks so much.

06-12-2010, 08:17 AM
I am amazed at how much painting you can get done.. and it's all fabulous. Love the birds so much, and your flowers are always so rich and delightful. :)

06-12-2010, 10:16 AM
Thank you both! Today's a new day and while it's overcast outside, I'm full of ideas for what I'd like to paint today.

06-12-2010, 10:42 AM
What a clever way to test your color pallette. Cool stuff!


06-14-2010, 07:04 PM
Thank you! Here's another page with a watercolor mixing demo - this seems to be the art journal that gets lots of demos in it!

A Watercolor Mixing Demo
8 1/4" x 11 3/4" (A4 size)
Sakura Pigma Micron pens (black) and Winsor & Newton Artists' watercolor pans
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal 90lb cold press paper.

Everything's freehand from imagination, no references. But I did use a circle guage for the circles because it was handy and fun. Lots faster than approximating with a pencil and then correcting with slow careful inking.

06-14-2010, 07:36 PM
Oh wow! LOVE that iris!!! I'm lovin' all these colours!

06-14-2010, 09:00 PM
More great color information. I like how you are demonstrating the colors and techniques. This is actually making sense to me. I've done color mixing with colored pencils, but paints are intimidating. Other color mixing things I've seen are a chart or a wheel. Seeing the chart, the wheel and a painted example with explanations on the page really works. Do I see a water color instruction book in your future?

06-14-2010, 10:41 PM
Rachel, thank you! So glad you like the wild blue, purple and red iris. I took some liberties with the color in order to show the mingling dramatically. But who knows? They come in so many colors that some gardener or nursery may wind up hybridizing and breeding it!

Debby, thank you. I'm so glad that this page is helping you. I am seriously thinking of doing another website like my Oil Pastels site, only on Water Mediums. Not just watercolor but also watercolor pencils, pen and wash techniques, acrylics, anything that gets diluted with water. Maybe even watersoluble oil paints if I pick up a starter set of them sometime. Watersoluble oil pastels articles and videos would of course be reposted on both sites.

What's cool is that I can use these pages on the site once I start setting it up, just break up the scans so that instead of reducing the whole page to where the text isn't legible each example is its own illustration. Might take some fooling around with the text to make it all fall into neat little rectangles but that shouldn't be too hard.

It's spooky to think though that I might wind up doing it in this book, something that would be publishable by scanning and printing. I'd probably still want to redo the text with prettier calligraphy if I did. This is just block letters for clarity and easy reading.

A lot of Claudia Nice's book looks like that -- examples she did and step by step demos with what looks like hand written text on the page. The pages are laid out well too. I think she's a strong influence on this. But of course I'm using different pens and I think my penwork has a different style. I'm still working toward her level of realism.

06-15-2010, 01:54 PM
Much delight with the new watercolors! I put little swatches of these three Autumn Shades into my regular Moleskine watercolor journal, but I also spread out and gave this Terry Harrison specialty threesome its own page. It makes a surprisingly pleasant limited palette by itself.

I was going to chart all three of the three color sets and the Shadow color on one page, but when I opened the tube of Sunlit Gold, it was under pressure. A good 1/4" long blob spurted out onto the palette. I couldn't use that up on one little leaf. So I decided to devote this entire page to the possibilities of just the first trio, Autumn Shades.

Color Explorations: Terry Harrison's Autumn Shades
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Daler Rowney Artists' Watercolor "Autumn Shades" set
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Everything on the page is from memory, no references used.

06-15-2010, 03:42 PM
Lovely colors in this "set"? Are there only 3 colors in it? The sunflowers, leaves and twig are great. I think you are developing your own style of pen and wash. Do let us know if you get a water media site up and running, that would be cool.

06-15-2010, 05:02 PM
I agree with Debby, it is very useful seeing all these tests and I'd LOVE a watercolor site! (so I can learn how to use the watercolor pencils i've not bought yet.... but plan to)! :D
Love the autumn colors and flowers here, theres just so much depth to it all and only using 3 colors... amazing! :clap:

06-15-2010, 06:31 PM
Thank you both! Maybe I am developing a style, Debby. I hadn't thought about it consciously, but I'm doing a lot of it and maybe pen drawing is something like handwriting -- once you know how your personality comes into it. I know that the closer I come to Claudia Nice's work, the less it looks like hers. I've been going looser and lighter on the pen shading on some of my latest.

Yep, there's only three colors in the Autumn Shades set. It's on sale for $12.95 or something like that at Cheap Joe's, so is the Terry Harrison Three Greens set and the Charles Evans set, which seems to be all about seascapes. Shadow is one color and it was $6.95 or something like that, but they're normally higher. These are Daler Rowney Artists' watercolors and I think the three sets are just bundled like the Daniel Smith Triads. I think you can also get the colors separately, but it was cheaper to buy the set.

Shadow is a muted violet, so it may make a good monochrome color. I'm not sure what I'll do with Three Greens except that it'll probably be a landscape or some plants.

Rachel, thanks! It's fun using just three colors sometimes. I've been letting the colors suggest the subject and then painting whatever they make me think of - maple leaves turn orange (or red or yellow), I know those jagged edged oval leaves always turn bright yellow and the oak leaf was the dried brown they get when all the color's gone. From there I realized that yeah, sunflowers have all those colors in them, so why not give this threesome its own page?

I did this again with the seascape collection from Charles Evans -- same thing, three small tubes on sale as a collection in a little box.

Here's a photo of the new watercolors that I took for the Art Supply Addicts thread in Oil Pastel Talk forum.


If they came out with a three color set of reds, that might make a complete full palette in itself. I've been debating whether using all of them together would be a good landscape palette without anything else -- but I'd want an actual true red in case of flowers.

The sand color didn't scan on the sand under the sharks, but it scanned in the darkest areas on the fluorite crystal. My scanner has problems with light colors sometimes so it's hard to convey the sense of it, but the actual painting has a definite value step between the white paper and the English Sand color. There's a touch of Burnt Shadow in a purplish stripe on the fluorite crystal, because I didn't want to leave that out.

Color Explorations - Charles Evans collection
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Daler-Rowney Artists' Watercolours Charles Evans trio plus Burnt Shadow
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Everything from memory except the fluorite crystal, which was sketched and painted from life. It's actually greener than the English Sand color but close enough to be interesting.

06-15-2010, 08:19 PM
Oooo I like this! Gosh, you really are getting so good with the pen and wash! I think its one of my favorite mediums from you now. Love the sea and the sting ray and sharks, and the white one is great too... thats just how they look from underneath! I've swam with sting rays, kissed one on the head! (Yea... Stingray City, Cayman Islands!) I have a little metal statue of one right here next to me, a souvenir that reminds me of that day :) It really is amazing what you can do with just 3 colors! The crystals are great! I have a bunch of them somewhere, I should dig them out of storage...

06-15-2010, 10:31 PM
Wow, thank you! It means a lot that you've seen them in life from below and I got it right. I've seen them in aquariums and trusted my memory, but so glad I got it right. I'm having fun theming it all on the colors I'm using.

Tomorrow I've got four more to do, Shadow (a muted violet) and Terry Harrison's Three Greens. That'll be fun.

06-16-2010, 12:39 AM
The seascape is great. I like the crystals too.

I can see I have a lot to learn if I ever want to get into water colors. *sigh* All the different companies and all the types of pigments and using people's names (whom I'm ashamed to admit, I don't know) on sets. So, yeah, if you get that water media site up, I'll be sure to check it out.

06-16-2010, 01:15 AM
What a great underwater painting! The sharks are terrific!

06-16-2010, 09:57 AM
quick Q... I'm presuming it was a sting ray... or is it another type of shark? The tail looks more shark like? I don't know my sharks real well!

06-16-2010, 02:47 PM
Thank you! Yes, it's a ray, Rachel. I was undecided between a sting ray and a different type of ray (some have little shark tails on the ends of long tails) so I went for the latter, then extended it a bit. So it's an Imaginary Sting Ray.

Mickey, thanks! So glad you like my underwater scene. Not all seascapes are the beach on the surface. :D

Debby, I've come to the conclusion all the good artist brands are fine for water colors. I collect a lot of art supplies and enjoy trying new brands and new colors, but you don't need that many to enjoy watercolor. Any decent set of ten or twelve probably has all the essential colors in it, though it helps to be sure there's both a Warm Red (orangy) and a Cool Red (purplish) and a Warm Blue (purplish) and a Cool Blue (greenish) as well as a lemon yellow (Cold) and orangy yellow (Warm), plus at least one green, a gold color, a reddish brown and a dark brown or black. That turns up in almost all the 12 color sets.

I'm just a color nut who likes getting new supplies. I get inspired when I get a new color or a new pigment to fool with. It'll make me think of something and I'll find a use for it whatever it is. The more convenience colors I have, the less mixing I need to do and the more mixing I do just for fun.

It doesn't matter if you haven't heard of Charles Evans. I really hadn't either though one of the ads for the set showed a good seascape. He's from the UK, I think, and obviously did some books and DVDs on watercolor instruction. Named signature sets like that, the artist is usually also a how-to author. Just like in pastels, Terry Ludwig pastels have the Maggie Price Basics set of 60 which is a very good starter set, the signature sets are often keyed to someone's specific instruction books.

I saw the Terry Harrison sets way back in 2004 when I was just starting to replace my lost supplies. They were intriguing and I liked the greens and the idea of a Shadow color for convenience, but I got other stuff. Then recently I bought a Terry Harrison book on sale at North Light Bookstore: Watercolor Mountains, Valleys & Streams.

Of course his lessons and demos do use Shadow and his three convenience greens. I have all the other colors in his palette in my Winsor & Newton full pans set, but when I saw the signature sets on sale at Cheap Joe's, I decided to go ahead and try them. I like them a lot. Burnt Shadow looks an awful lot like Mars Violet, which I have in other mediums and not in watercolor.

So today I'll get started on a page for Three Greens and maybe include Shadow on that page too so that I've got something to contrast with them in the paintings.

Vivien Maloney
06-16-2010, 02:55 PM
This is a really interesting and beautiful Journal, Robert. I love your Stingray painting and the yellow sunflowers really sing. Also find your colour mixing of watercolours very informative. Can't wait to see more.

06-16-2010, 05:54 PM
Viv, thank you! Today I did another page for Shadow and Three Greens, all Terry Harrison convenience colors. They made me think of the foliage outside my window, so I had a little fun with it and moved some branches around.

Color Explorations - 3 Greens and Shadow
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Pigma Micron pen and Daler Rowney Artists' watercolor
A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.
All from imagination or life, I rearranged some branches in the trees outside my window and painted that foliage and bark loosely without pen work.

06-16-2010, 06:11 PM
Man! Love those greens... my favorite colour! Those Iris look perfect too, what a lovely shade of purple. I'm going to HAVE to try some more pen work, only did a scribble one time on a scrap piece of paper but enjoyed it, so more of that is in the future. Love the tree.... I've been working on my little tree all afternoon (i'm SO slow!). But i'm trying hard not to be overly fussy with it. I want to be able to do things quickly, or quicker than I'm used to. Just enough to give an idea of what it is, capture the object in a short (ish) period of time! Not happening real fast LOL! I get into the details too much! More practice needed...

06-16-2010, 06:32 PM
It helps to pencil it in first and then do the penwork. I know it sounds slower, but except for something like painting that foliage from life it actually goes faster because I'm not stopping to decide what to do next. I'm doing that at the pencil stage and then correcting it with the pen, then coloring it. Just fell into a rhythm with it and through these last three pages, gotten to see that I'm a lot better at drawing from memory than I used to be.

I think a few months of Scavenger Hunt really helped too.

06-16-2010, 07:20 PM
Then every time you get new watercolors, chart them in the book. I should have started all the charts in the back so they'd be easy to find, working forward with charting. This is tremendously useful for finding out which set to grab for which effect and so on. I charted my watercolor pencils in it too. When I need to find charts, I grab the Moleskine.

Robert, Great idea for my new w/c moleskine! Thanks!

06-16-2010, 07:44 PM
Dena, you won't regret it. If you start your charts on the back of the last page and work forward, but start your paintings in the front and work toward the back, it'll eventually fill up in the middle -- and you'll always have a record of your colors in a place you can easily find it. That rocks. Enjoy!

06-16-2010, 07:55 PM
Those are some lovely greens. I love green, one of my favorite colors. And the shadow color is a wonder. Great leaves, irises and trees.

06-16-2010, 08:46 PM
Thank you! This page was fun for me. I think these are my favorite colors of the whole batch. Of course using them all together is going to be fun too. I got out my Harrison book and have been reading a bit about how he uses them. I'll probably apply it in my own way though.

06-19-2010, 05:59 PM
Awesome pages, Robert! Your water folio is now swimming with art AND infromation! Thanks for sharing! Agreed on what Debby said about the properties of each color is quite intimidating but also fun to explore!

It's been a busy week, always a pleasure looking at your sketchbooks!

AZ Traveler
06-19-2010, 06:34 PM
yea, what Raymond said ... :wink2:

Always great posts and information, Robert. KUDOS. :thumbsup:


06-19-2010, 10:29 PM
Wow, thank you both! I don't know how this one happened to start drifting into a theme of demos and information, but now it's a pattern. So I'll keep on with it.

06-23-2010, 11:07 PM
I painted my cat. No text this time, maybe it doesn't need a demo on every page. He was laying on the bed, beautiful as always, I couldn't resist him. Grabbed a water brush and the Koi pans, used the black and painted fast without sketching or hesitation.

Scavenger Hunt 181, #22 - Someone I Love
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Sakura Koi pan watercolor, black monochrome
90lb cold press watercolor paper (A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal)

He kept moving around in his sleep so I painted fast in my Asian influenced style. Once in a while I need to paint like this in order to loosen up, every time I do I come back to the realism with better balance.

I think I'm getting a little better at this Asian style, some of the strokes came out more varied this time and I had good control of values.

06-24-2010, 07:28 AM
Oh, Robert! These are great! They may be quick and loose and free, but you've captured a lot of movement and character in them.

06-24-2010, 09:57 AM
Amazing! Man would I love to be able to draw that fast and that well! Just how long would it take you to sketch these out like this? What part of Ari do you start off with?? Head? Eyes? They're all beautiful...

06-24-2010, 03:05 PM
Thank you both! Rachel, I start with his nose and muzzle. I always start with his nose and muzzle. If I'm lucky, he doesn't move till I get his head in. I don't spend long on them, maybe five minutes tops. I paint intuitively and very fast, not worrying about whether it comes out well. When I do that often, it starts coming out well.

06-24-2010, 08:01 PM
Ni-ice... Beautiful sketches of Ari.

06-24-2010, 08:48 PM
Thank you! Most of my life I've done wimpy watercolors, faded and hard to see if you scan them. I learned better. :D

Hi Robert!

I'm still playing catch-up on commenting in this forum and I finally got to this FANTASTIC watercolor sketchbook. I could not help chuckling over your comment above. Yes, you certainly DID learn better. :lol: :lol: :lol:

There are so many images here that I love. I was struck by page 4 with your color explorations. I love the look of that page and I started reading your notes. I laughed when I saw "Cadmiums - don't lick the brushes!" We have learned in my Saturday painting group to use covered coffee cups because of how often we accidently dip the brushes in the coffee instead of the water!

In fact, I love all of your color explorations pages that you did (inspired by Prismalos!). I think you do have the beginnings of a very good book on color theory going here. I guess my very favorite would be page 8 because I am so partial to the Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson combo. How doesn't the beautiful range of reds, violets, purples, blues you can get with that combo. And the little patches of greys that you got mixing them with yellow are exquisite! I'll be spending more time studying these pages when I get a little more time.


06-24-2010, 09:10 PM
Debby, thank you!

Jean, thank you! I'm so glad you're enjoying this book and the demos I did in it. I should do more. After doing the page of monochrome Ari sketches in Asian style, maybe I could do one about that style and how I get him sketched that quickly. Thank you for reminding me this book does have a theme and might become a good book on color theory and watercolor techniques. It will probably have more than color demos in it.

06-24-2010, 10:01 PM
Yes, would love more on how you do those watercolor sketches! Interesting you start with the nose... thanks :-)

06-27-2010, 03:01 PM
Here it is -- a page on a couple of the techniques used in the Asian style paintings.

Page 13 of Water Folio
8 1/4" x 11"
Lamp Black watercolor & Pigma Micron pen
90lb cold press watercolor paper

06-27-2010, 03:30 PM
So complex, yet so simple. I expect like anything else, it just takes practice.

06-27-2010, 10:12 PM
Yep. I might go on with this if I can find the source book tomorrow, show examples of the four classic strokes.

06-30-2010, 06:53 AM
Great tips! Good usage for black and colors people rarely use too! Like Debby said, you DID learn better! :D

I actually feel a bit of regret of totally abandoning drawing for a long time only to take it up once again, but well :) Thanks for the inspiration!

06-30-2010, 07:13 AM
What a lovely idea with the colour theory, great illustrations! I also had to grin at the "Don't lick the brush" on the cadmium page, haha. Also your cat sketches are looking great. I agree, it's a good idea to "loosen up" with the paints every now and again in between realism/studies. Let the mind flow free :D

06-30-2010, 07:34 AM
Raymond, thanks! Don't worry about abandoning drawing for a while, it's more important you took it up again. Also I'd bet if you look at your older drawings, before the lapse, and the newest ones after it ... you improved during the time you weren't drawing.

That's happened to me every time I had a long hiatus. It didn't matter, because I was still looking at everything as if I was going to draw it. Sometimes those long gaps are rumination, to digest what you learned.

Aiylah, thank you! I've been doing that a lot more lately, it helps me keep a good balance and not overdetail when I do realism studies.

07-10-2010, 10:39 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Jul-2010/70184-Folio-Water-Page-14.jpg Whoops! I've been posting pages from this into the wrong thread! So I'll repost the old ones here so that it's all in one thread at least, and continue the other thread with the pen drawings that are in the real Folio One -- the Moleskine Sketchbook Folio, not the watercolor one.

Page 14 - Color Explorations of my newest Daniel Smith watercolors.

Page 15 - continued Color Explorations of 20 new DS watercolors.

Page 16 - the rest of my new Color Explorations.

Page 17 - Mixtures and combinations including a really good tomato from life and some notes on using colored penwork.

Now we come to today's. I decided to start putting Color Explorations of the Daniel Smith watercolors I already had. So I got out the old palettes to use all the colors together and because the Weekend Drawing Event challenge was to use a primary palette, I did a page entirely using the Daniel Smith Primary Triad. These are the first DS watercolors I bought and it's an excellent set.

If you've never used artist grade watercolor or tried Daniel Smith ones, it's still on sale at a bargain price that usually also includes free shipping. It's one of the few primary triads I've used that gives a decent purple and a decent green in mixing, albeit neither are as bright as a pure color from the tube.

A4 Moleskine Watercolor Folio, Page 18
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Daniel Smith "Primary Triad" watercolors
Sakura Pigma Micron pen
90lb cold press watercolor paper.
Photo references for Eastern Bluebird and Dragonfly by just_chaos.

07-11-2010, 04:56 AM
Oooh I really like page 18 - very taken with anything with dragonflies, but also liking the colours and whole composition of the page - the watercolours are beautiful.

07-11-2010, 10:16 PM
Nicely done. Amazing what can be done with only 3 colors. The bird is my favorite.

07-11-2010, 11:57 PM
Thank you both! It's possible to get almost anything with a good primary triad. It's just inconvenient because of the need to keep mixing. On the other hand, your palette mud will be very pure doing that, all the neutrals are subtly united by being the same mixture with varying proportions. I had fun doing the neutrals on page 18 and did succeed in getting deep dark neutrals too.

07-12-2010, 03:05 AM
WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Great pages, as it has been said, it's amazing what you can do with only 3 colours.... incredible!! I like all of them, not sure which is my favorite... The tomato on page 17 looks fabulous & i like the little bird on page 18 too. but honestly, everything looks STUNNING!!

07-12-2010, 05:31 AM
What an amazing reference this sketchbook is, and so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

07-12-2010, 01:31 PM
Thank you both! This is what I've been trying to do in sketchbooks for years, so it's a thrill that it's finally coming out the way I always wanted it to.

07-12-2010, 02:33 PM
wow! What a beautiful array of color! I love it ALL! Love your marbles, you do them so well. :-)

Vivien Maloney
07-12-2010, 02:38 PM
Wow Robert you have been busy! These are gorgeous! Love them all.

07-24-2010, 03:10 PM
Thank you! Sorry for such a late reply. I'm getting back to it today because I just got some new Daniel Smith watercolors in and realized I hadn't done Color Explorations for the entire Color Map set or my personal batch of Luminescent ones. That's Palette 1. Palette 2 is the ones I've charted except for the Primary Triad. Palette 3 with my latest purchases is up to 19 colors and I've got two more on the way because of that "Free shipping with no minimum order" deal that Daniel Smith is running till the 26th.

Which means I've got 39 more Daniel Smith colors to profile with small representative paintings and notes about how they handle! I just got Palette 3 organized and laid out yesterday though, so it's handy for today. Onward! I'll post later when I've got a page done.

07-24-2010, 08:19 PM
Ah well, that took all afternoon. But here it is, the latest page in my Water Folio, next up in the Color Explorations series. Most of these are from imagination, but the Megalodon tooth fossil is from life.

My file isn't uploading, so I'll try attaching it.

07-24-2010, 10:17 PM
Nice page! Love that serpent! Also thats amazing how the color "green gold" can vary so much when thinned! Great shine on the strawberries!

07-24-2010, 10:52 PM
Thanks! Oh, I forgot to mention this. If you squint at the Alizarin Crimson/Diopside Green yin/yang symbol till all the color drops out, the design vanishes in favor of a black center shading out evenly lighter at the sides. It's very striking, demonstrates the way red and green can have exactly the same values and look so different!

07-24-2010, 11:19 PM
hmm... I'm trying to squint but maybe i'm doing something wrong? But I do believe I understand what you're saying :-) However... on squinting something did jump out at me!! Theres a face in that red side!!! see it? Looking up Serpentine stones...

07-24-2010, 11:24 PM
Yep, I can see it - profile facing to the right with a long hooked nose and pointy chin leading into a long pointy beard. Mouth open sort of grumpy. That's neat.

One more note about the Goethite. Notice that on the scan, I sloshed some of the paint outside the lines. After I scanned I was annoyed with this, so picked up a 1/4" watercolor flat brush, dampened it and tried to lift the excess back to the line.

Wow. It cleaned up completely. Goethite lifts so totally that it's back to white and looks as if I never made the mistake. So that's something useful to know about the color, especially for deliberate lifting, like pulling light colored grass blades out in front of a Goethite rock or shrub.

07-24-2010, 11:29 PM
This is fantastic and all from imagination? I am very impressed. I don't think I have that much data stored in my imagination :) Great work!

07-25-2010, 07:09 AM
Goethite looks an interesting pigment, I've never heard of that one

07-25-2010, 01:39 PM
Deb, thanks! It's fun testing my memory when I do the Color Explorations instead of looking up references.

Vivien, I hadn't heard of Goethite either until Daniel Smith put out a limited edition "Surf and Shore" triad with Goethite, Ultramarine Turquoise and Indanthrone Blue. I hadn't heard of any of them but I bought it and it's fun. Knowing it lifts that completely is going to make it very useful. I've used the blues more for quite some time but having something that I can pull white details out of is great.

07-25-2010, 05:30 PM
*sigh* I'm going to be an old, old lady before I can achieve the quality of work you do in your sketchbooks. These are marvelous. I keep looking at that whole page.

07-25-2010, 07:00 PM
Each page in this book is its own wonder. Absolutely delightful to look at, and so hugely informative. I'm learning so much from each little drawing/painting. Its a good job I can't get Daniel Smith colours here, I want ALL of them. You make them look jewel like. I love this book.

07-25-2010, 07:44 PM
Lovely colours on page 19 Robert, very jewel-like ;)

07-25-2010, 11:30 PM
Thank you! Xina, they're only available from Daniel Smith itself but I think they do ship world wide. You could check out their shipping costs. Jackie, thanks! I love jewel-like colors, it's why I have more of them than earth tones. Debby, I'm already an old man, you've got time! Seriously, my sketchbooks did not look this good a couple of years ago.

07-26-2010, 08:11 AM
Lovely page Robert - i like that tooth & the strawberry!!

07-26-2010, 12:07 PM
ditto - can't get Daniel Smith - but I'll keep a lookout for that colour in another brand

07-26-2010, 01:44 PM
Thank you! I hope Goethite is made by other companies, it's a beautiful golden brown. So is transparent yellow oxide. I finished painting Color Explorations for what's in that third palette, though I have a space in it waiting for Pthalo Green Blue Shade. Maybe some of these colors will be new to you too!

Color Explorations, Water Folio One, page 20
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Pigma Micron pen and Daniel Smith watercolors
90lb cold press watercolor paper in A4 Moleskine watercolor folio.
All from imagination, inspired by the colors I was using.

07-26-2010, 02:08 PM

the violet is the only one I don't know there but it's very similar to violet I do have

I really like Pthalo blue and green - they are really important for the sea in Cornwall to get anything like the glow it has (along with all the reflections of ultramarine, cerulean and cobalt)

That bright little beetle is pretty

I tend to buy a wide range of blues, yellows and reds - the reds extending to magenta. It's then possible to get the colours I want with mixing and working wet in wet so the colours happen on the paper.

07-26-2010, 04:33 PM
Yep. I like having tube secondaries too though, sometimes they're brighter and sometimes it's just easier to mix from starting with those. That violet has many names, you might have the same pigment as I do.

07-26-2010, 05:21 PM
Love page 20! That butterfly is beautiful and so is the squirrel and the sky view... all of it! Definitely different colors but love them, cause you don't see them by themselves all that often.

07-26-2010, 06:00 PM
Love that Indanthrone Blue! Gorgeous color. Another wonderful page.

:lol: :lol: Just how young do you think I am? See you've been drawing almost your whole life. I've been too scattered. I explored music, sewing, embroidery, mechanical drafting and design, needle felting, drawing and candy making. And, while I enjoy drawing very much, it's secondary to my candy business. Which, I might add is in the midst of a giant leap forward as I'm negotiating a kitchen space to rent to expand things. So, for me art on paper will have to secondary to art in sugar. :D Hence my comment. :lol:

07-26-2010, 10:17 PM
Thank you, Rachel. That's why I'm doing these. Colors that I don't often use by themselves, I don't always remember how they look by themselves. So this is a guide to how they handle.

Debby, thanks. I don't know, you don't seem that old to me. I'm 55 and I've done a variety of different things too, not that many though. Your candy thing sounds so cool. Can you message me a link to your site or email me your catalog? Every time you mention these confections I get tempted.

07-26-2010, 11:30 PM
I thought we were about the same age. I'm only 3 years younger than you and you are my husband's age. :lol: I'll keep you posted when I get my web site up and running. After my kitchen pre-opening inspection tomorrow, I'll know if this is going to work or not. Next, I'll be working on the web site.

07-27-2010, 04:24 AM
Stunning page Robert, that Moonglow picture is so mystical, i like it! The butterfly is also beautiful - amazing that it's all from your imagination!! Wow!

07-27-2010, 08:49 AM
Thanks, Tania! I've been having fun with these just doing what the color makes me think of.

Debby, you can't be old if you're younger than I am. I'm not old. lol

That explains it about your tempting candy business. If you don't have the website up yet for people to order, that's why I can't order. I've been tempted since you first talked about honey lollipops.

07-27-2010, 09:36 AM
Did somebody say candy???? I have an insatiable sweet tooth :) Let me know about your website, too, Debby!

Robert, excellent studies here. I took note of how you use the colors here that you don't normally use in your paintings. I will have to do that with my paints...such an excellent idea.

07-27-2010, 09:51 AM
LOL mmmm honey lollypops.... drooling over keyboard...

07-27-2010, 10:10 AM
You are both younger than me by a long shot, and I'm not old!

Vivien Maloney
07-27-2010, 03:37 PM
And I'm probably older than everyone but I'm not saying! Another great page Rogert. I love the butterfly and your moonlight scene.

07-27-2010, 03:48 PM
Another superb page Robert. That butterfly is incredible, how on earth do you do these without a reference? They are all so perfect and you make the colours glow with the ink drawing.
Itsheer delight to look at these pages and the unexpected things you come up with, that shimmering little green beetle and the delicate colouring of the green leaves to show th subtle difference in the layerng. I relly like the little moon piece with too.


07-27-2010, 09:00 PM
Wow, thank you! I tend to sketch subjects that I've done often from life or photos, it's easier to remember them. Sometimes I'm just remembering reference photos I've seen or don't have any more. That scene with the moon was an experiment in the style of a painting I saw in a hospital 25 years ago.

I thought it was cool, but I did mine vertical and added the moon with clouds drifting over it instead of doing the sun seen through fog - it really isn't the same as what inspired it. It was also inspired by an old illustration with a werewolf in it (the clouds drifting over the moon) and by some vertical Chinese paintings.

Hm. I guess when I make things up, while I do remember other things I've seen, I combine them freely.

07-27-2010, 10:10 PM
That's why it pays to keep sketching Robert, constant practise and it has to etch itself on your memory and become more natural eventually! I think it shows in your confidence to tackle all sorts of subjects and your strong use of your different medium, it is a pleasure to browse your sketchbooks and inspiring too ;)

07-28-2010, 06:21 PM
Jackie, that's exactly it. Once I've drawn something, I remember it easier. Every time I remember more of it. Frequently drawing the same subject in different poses and light helps me do it from memory and imagination, or similar subjects. Some of my long study of Ari has helped me with doing big cats.

Today I've done another page of Color Explorations, this time with the Daniel Smith "Color Map" set. These ten colors form a complete palette in themselves, something that fascinated me for a long time. Eventually I swapped several duplicates to a friend and bought the set on sale. I keep it in a folding palette along with a spectrum of Luminescent colors and one useful near-black, Sodalite Genuine.

Color Explorations: Color Map set
8 1/4" x 11 3/4"
Daniel Smith "Color Map" watercolors
90lb cold press watercolor paper, A4 Moleskine Folio watercolor journal.
All from imagination or memory.

07-28-2010, 10:08 PM
You use strong bright colours so well! I like the "not quite a colour wheel" - so much more interesting than dobs on a page (or scribbles like mine often are lol!) I know you mentioned you like using the jewel like colours but do you have a specific favourite do you think?

07-29-2010, 12:45 AM
Wonderful colors. Interesting that it's not a full color wheel but you can use it as a full palette. Do you have an order of doing writing and painting? I know you've mentioned that you frequently start with a light pencil sketch. I was just wondering if the writing part came when you were inking before you painted, or last after everything was complete and dry.

07-29-2010, 01:37 AM
Debby, I usually sketch and sometimes put the text in while doing the drawing. On these I sometimes don't bother with the pencil stage, just sketch with the pen. It depends on what I'm doing. It's always at that stage because I use text blocks to fill awkward points in the composition. Working around the art, I need to know where it is - but do know what color I'm using. Sometimes I do it after painting.

I don't usually do it before placing the art though, but if I pencil I might start with the text once I know where the art will go.

I'll do one drawing and its text, then the next and its text. Sometimes two or three and then paint them in order. Sometimes one at a time. I just relax doing this. I compose the text pretty much to fit the space.

I had fun doing that eight point mandala. The example on Daniel Smith's site had the eight bright colors in a circle and the two Quinacridones off to the sides, so I followed that rather than making a ten spot color wheel with the Quinacridones tucked in between Hansa Yellow and Perinone Orange. I realized I could have afterward -- but I still like my mandala.

Debby, it's an unbalanced color wheel. If you count Perinone Orange as orange rather than as a warm red, then it is one that's had two extra tertiaries stuffed in on the cool side. That throws off the balance of having the complements exactly opposite each other, except that Rhodonite and Amazonite are near perfect complements. They make a beautiful gray with a violet cast if you get the mix exactly right. I would have had to do a longer mixing bar and also do my mixes on the palette in order to get it though.

I can mix anything I want with that set. The Quinacridones are great mixers. There are complements of everything in it, there's enough variety I can make any neutral or muted color I want, and all the hues are so intense that when I need something bright, it's there. Hansa Yellow and Perinone Orange make a gorgeously bright orange range, so the absence of a yellow-orange or a mid-orange rather than a red-orange isn't a big inconvenience.

07-29-2010, 08:46 AM
oooh, that colour wheel is so cool!!! looks like something a joker would wear - love it!! great page & thanks again for jotting down all your observations - so nice to read them.

07-29-2010, 08:53 AM
Robert, I'm beginning to think that you own every color made my every manufacturer. LOL These pages are just wonderful!

07-29-2010, 01:01 PM
Tania, thank you! Yes, it does look a bit like something for a joker or a jester to wear, that's cool! I didn't think of it while I was doing it but I've been fond of medieval costumes and art for a very long time, it probably came in as an influence.

Mickey, thanks -- but hardly. I've got 59 colors from Daniel Smith and they make 245... so I've got a long, long way to go to try them all even from one manufacturer. Admittedly the one with the biggest line. I once considered trying to get all 90 of the colors Winsor & Newton makes available but I don't think it's that likely.

Getting new colors now and then is exciting though. It stimulates me, and when I get them I wind up using them in different ways. Systematically going through all of the Daniel Smith watercolors has begun teaching me more about different types of pigments, granulating, opaque, staining, transparent... it's a lot of fun. I've discovered a lot of new favorites like the Quinacridones that way.

06-07-2015, 02:48 PM
This is so lovely! Beautiful range of blue hues, love the sea flora colours just kissed by it, and the vibrancy of those fishies :)

06-28-2015, 05:08 AM
Nice new book :)

Kurt Jackson painted underwater off the Scilly Isles. You might be able to track down a video of it as I did see one some time ago.

06-28-2015, 09:28 AM
Vivien, that'd be so fantastic. Unfortunately this entire book got left behind when I moved four years ago. Very frustrating. I liked it a lot but I've got plenty of Stillman & Birn ones now. Might get it back and finish it one day. I also got the dots sheet, so I might start over using the dots sheet and see what I can do about charting everything Daniel Smith produces!

07-20-2015, 07:37 PM
Absolutely beautiful. I fell in love with the first sketch and while leafing through the pages, I kept saying I like this too, and this... and this... :) Thank you for sharing.
And the first one is the star of the whole show for me.

07-21-2015, 07:31 PM
Wow, thank you, Nick! I miss this book, meant to finish it!

Joan T
08-16-2015, 12:40 PM
I love seeing your vibrant colors in these. I went through the thread quickly. Looks like you have a lot of brands of wc paints. Great sketches!