Conservatory & a paper Verdict

Seattle’s Volunteer Park is the setting for a period Conservatory.
It was completed in 1912.    Follow this link for the rest of its history.

This sketch was started while awaiting the other sketchers for yesterday’s outing.  They arrived quite soon after I started so I only got the pencil sketch and some of the ink sketch completed.  The rest was finished at home from a photo.

I’d started a sketch of a Lady Slipper orchid.  I messed it up while painting.  I had also forgotten to use my new “Pen & Ink” brand sketchbook.  So I redid the orchid painting  from my photo taken at the Conservatory and did it in the new sketchbook.

Sad to say, I do not like the “Pen & Ink” brand sketchbook (see 26 December post).  I have to agree with this reviewer  when she writes, “I just don’t like the way they [watercolors] go down on this paper. The paper seems to absorb water in an odd way- a little too quickly, which makes mixing on the paper difficult. Blending ends up ill-defined…..Once the paint is dry, it seems to be quite difficult to re-activate the paint. Swirl over a painted section a few times and the paper gets a little crumbly.

Moleskine is 110 lb paper and this is 122 lb. But Moleskine feels heavier to the touch. I really noticed the difference. The fibers lift off when drafting tape edges are pulled off.  Same for blue painter’s tape.  It can’t be scrubbed at all.  Again, the fibers get crumbly.  I don’t like the flower painting but I’m not (yet) skilled enough to know whether it’s my technique or the paper.  Though in her Daniel Smith Beginning Watercolor class, Molly Murrah said, “You can do a bad painting on good paper but you can’t do a good painting on bad paper”.

Well, that’s out as an alternative to a bound book.  I guess it’s back to any suitable spiral bound sketch book.  There are a couple I’ve found.


About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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2 Responses to Conservatory & a paper Verdict

  1. Nice work on finishing the Conservatory sketch! I’m disappointed to hear your verdict on the Pen & Ink sketchbook… was hoping it would be a good alternative. The more I sketch, and the more different media I try, the more I agree with the general advice to get the best paper one can afford, because “you can’t do a good painting on bad paper.” I’ve been thinking about your loose paper vs. bound book dilemma, and it seems like it would be easy enough to place a self-healing mat under the page you want to remove, and use an Exacto knife to carefully cut the page out of a hardbound book close to the binding (as long as you left enough to keep the thread intact). It would be the same as tearing out a perfed page.

    • redharparts says:

      Thanks! And you’re probably right. I like Moleskine so much. If I really wanted to give, sell or exhibit a particular sketch I could remove it in that way. Though I’m leaning back to loose sheets of good watercolor paper in a 3 ring binder.

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