Some experiments

One intimidating thing about sketchbooks is the chance of having something bad preserved in a book with other good sketches. For the most part, I am filling up my 3×5 pentalic watercolor sketchbook with good sketches, but there are some duds. I painted over one of them with a layer of pink casein because I didn’t want to see it any more and I thought it would be good to have some toned pages. I wasn’t sure how painting watercolor over it would work, though. This is the result of a test this morning:


The paint really just sits on the surface and takes awhile to dry, but it’s certainly workable. I don’t think I’d do this normally–probably better to tone the paper with watercolor instead–but it’s a good way to cover up mistakes.

While waiting for that one to dry, I also wanted to test my old 3×5 watercolor moleskine. Just messing around with some colors, this is what I came up with:

Both paintings were done largely with a connoisseur travel round (thee tree was done with a small flat). I wanted to see how big a brush would work in these little books, as I’d previously been using smaller brushes that don’t allow for working as wet and loosely. If I were to go in for some finer work, a smaller brush would be useful just to work drier, but sticking with one, I think the larger brush is the way to go.

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Potomac River


There’s a place in the Potomac River not far from my house that’s really peaceful. Not too many people go there. I tried to capture that sense of calm with an earth color palette of Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, and Yellow Ochre. I think I’d do this a little differently again with the hanging branch left of center. The even split of the picture feels a little jarring. 

Riverwalk watercolor 


Tiny sketch of The Riverwalk in Frederick.

I used a small flat brush I converted to a travel brush and the tiny travel brush that comes with Winsor and Newton pocket kits. I always have the intention of using this setup when out, but tiny doesn’t necessarily mean faster. This took about an hour. Still, it was good to see that I can fit a fairly substantial scene in a small book.

For colors I kept it muted with yellow ochre, brown madder, cerulean blue, Prussian blue, sepia, and permanent green olive with a little white mixed in at the end for the lilly pads. 

Here’s a close up. Thanks for reading.