Thursday, November 3, 2011


I have had this Strathmore Visual Journal now for months.  I bought it, thinking I'd use it for an online Strathmore Journal workshop I signed up for.  I never used it although I enjoyed watching the other students create things in their journals.  So...what do you do with a 90# watercolor paper journal?  Just use it for doodling and sketching, I guess.

So I got it out of the bookshelf in my art room and set up a little autumn still life of pumpkin, leaves in a holder, and pods from a tree in my step-daughter's yard (a sweet gum, I think).

Took a few photos.

Then sat down and sketched a couple of the set-ups out before deciding to add some color to one.

Painted wet on dry paper so the 90# paper wouldn't buckle or give me problems.  The only problem was my overworking the orange of the pumpkin and not getting a good shadow shape or color under the pumpkin (ugly brown!!) or the leaves (charcoal grey, are you kidding me??).

This will have to be a practice excuse, and I'll take a bit more time with the next one.  This one, unfortunately, isn't worth finishing up although the pumpkin looks pretty anemic.

What was my intention?  To create a popping painting using the orange and turquoise teal color against each other.  Perhaps simplifying the composition with nothing but the pumpkin (larger) against the turquoise blue would have been a better idea?
Ah, the best laid plans....

I could only show my finished, successful work - but I hope my mistakes help you learn as well as my successes (plus if I only showed the successes, you'd begin to think I knew what I was doing!!!).

I still have a tendency to rush through a painting and come out with a very unsuccessful result, as you can see.  But, what the heck, it's just sketch paper, and the time was not wasted, but used for learning how the 90# Strathmore paper works (since this was the first time I'd used it.).  Am I justifying this mess?  You bet'cha!!

Now time for a do-over since I still have the little pumpkin although the leaves have been drained of color (perhaps a chlorophyll vampire came on Halloween night?).

Unfortunately, this one isn't much better than the first - a bit to heavy on the colors.  Have to remind myself:  A Sketchbook is for Watercolor SKETCHES, not so much complete paintings and leave more to the imagination.  I like the little sweetgum tree things that I picked up from the ground, though (and I should have made little scary critters from the shadow shapes :)


Carol Blackburn said...

Mornin' Rhonda, it is nice to just play sometimes, isn't it!

conservativelybohemian said...

I like the colors and compositions. I'm with you. I'm too honest to not share even the so-called failures. And it a failure if we learn from it? I think not!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Carol and Sherry. I debated on whether I should show this or not but maybe it will help those who also have this sketchbook. I would say that a light wash with a pen and ink look would work the best - or colored pencils. The 90# paper doesn't like much fiddling with color; but I have the 140# book, too - will try that out next time to see how it works. Sherry, you're right; it's not a failure if we learn something about the new materials by fiddling and playing. There is a nice surface to this book but it doesn't take a lot of water and pigment working.