My week with Zeta!

It is fun to experiment with coloring agents and sketchbooks.  Sometimes there is a learning curve.  I have been sketching in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook  It has good quality smooth hot press paper,180 lb and in natural white.

I have been struggling with watercolor in this sketchbook.  I like to slosh on the color and drag the pigment down so it bleeds into the next color.  This is not easy and I still don’t think I have been able to accomplish this style of painting.  It is not a good a idea to grab a new sketchbook without first experimenting.   So after being disappointed with a dozen or more sketches I have finally had some time to experiment with the paper.

We have just come home from a 4 day sailing excursion down the Columbia River.  The following are some of the sketches from the trip.

boatThese ladies were moored next our sailboat at the St. Helens Marina.


Lots of people fishing at St. Helens marina into the evening.


The next morning I found this young mother in the park watching her children playing on the slides.

conversationWe spent two mornings at the St. Helens marina and both mornings these gentlemen met.  I was disappointed with my painting in these sketches so today I experimented!


The first sketch was painted with Daniel Smith paints and a No. 8 round brush.  Not a lot of control over the pigment with some blooming as I tried to pull down the pigment.  The paper soaks up the pigment quickly.  The second sketch was painted with Daniel Smith watercolors and a No. 12 round brush.  I had more success with the bigger brush.


The first sketch is with a Lamy Safari fountain pen, fine nib and J. Herbin Perle Noire water soluble ink.  The paper is perfect for pen and ink either gel pen or fountain pen.   The ink bled beautifully when I added water.  I decided to play around with a purple Kuretake brush pen.  The pigment did not move when you added water.  It had already set on the paper.  I started to have some issues so stopped and added a purple undershirt to the figure.  The second sketch is with a Uniball Vision gel pen and the color with Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils.  I started to play around with washes with Derwent Inktense pencils and Caran D’Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons to the side of the sketch.  The watercolor pencils, Inktense pencils and watersoluble crayons were a good match for the paper.

It was good to experiment and to be reminded of some of the other options I have besides watercolor.

Tomorrow I will be switching sketchbooks again.  I am starting a 4 week online course with Roz Stendahl and will be using a Strathmore 500 series mixed media sketchbook.  One of my favorite papers.   The course is “Drawing Life Subjects in Public”.  I am looking forward to the course Roz Stendahl is one of my favorite artists.  So I will be reporting on the course during the next four weeks.  There will be plenty of wonky drawings!


4 thoughts on “My week with Zeta!

  1. Those red and blue chairs really grabbed my attention! I like that everything else is muted in comparison.
    I also like the conversation and thoughts showing up in your art! Theses are all interesting snapshots of your days! Lots of tests and learning happening here. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy Rozs class!


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