27 May, 2018. A day and a half is all. One full day of classes, a morning of same, and a hour or two of lunch and announcements before teachers all break for summer. A day and a half until my summer of sketching and painting begins in earnest. I plan to fill many sketchbook pages between now and the end of July.
This is Memorial Day weekend and my personal unofficial kick off to summer. Heading down to the City Market, I wandered in search of mushrooms. Other than two vendors offering up Morels at the obscene price of $35 per pint, none were to be had. I’d heard there was a mushroom farm about an hour from here and that they sometimes had a stand at the market, but alas! Not this weekend.
The market is always a treasury of people though, and pen in hand I wandered from stall to stall, inhaling the cornucopia of scents and aromas, with an ever watchful eye out for interesting people, patterns, and clothing. An already hot day, perspiration rolled down my forehead and into my eyes; the back of my shirt was soaked through in minutes. And yet, the woman in the sketch (above) wore a long sleeve wool cardigan, shawl, and head wrap – and seemed none the worse for it.
Realizing I was only five blocks away from the place I’d discovered a few days earlier – the one that makes authentic Aussie sausage rolls, I strolled across a highway overpass and meandered purposefully toward 9th and Wyandotte.
Last weekend I visited an artist supply store merely to see what sketchbooks they kept in stock. Not only do they have a good range of different products, serendipitously the sketchbooks were on sale at half off. Thus emboldened, I made a selection of several pocket size (3.5 x 5.5 inch) versions. One was this Stillman & Birn Nova Series grey toned sketchbook. Now contrary to the experiences of many excellent sketchers, my own experience with Stillman & Birn sketchbooks has been, to put it charitably, kind of “meh.” But the grey paper felt good to the touch, and it’s got weight and heft to it that I found appealing. And, as it turned out, seems to take ink well.
I’m still unhappy with the opaque white pens I ordered a month or two back. The ink simply doesn’t flow as readily as my Uni-Ball does, and that means marks must be made very deliberately. I hate that those white marks cannot be made with the same degree of looseness without clogging.
This paper is heavy enough that I think it should take gouache nicely. I haven’t tried it yet, but may yet do so today or tomorrow. I want to take advantage of the paint opacity on the toned sheet and will be very happy if they combine well.
The size of this pocket sketchbook makes it easy to carry, and it’s approximately the same size as the small gouache painting series I’ve been working on recently. For sketching, however, I prefer a size or two larger. It’s tough to have a fluid line in a small format, whereas the larger real estate of an A4 or A5 works perfectly for me.