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Sketching the Jardin Botanique

August 13, 2012

Spent the afternoon at the Jardin Botanique sketching in the Chinese Garden. The Lotus are in bloom. It’s a pretty amazing show. A carpet of giant leaves and pink blossoms as big as a baby. Well, a premature baby.

These days I’ve been doing so much painting on location, I’d almost forgotten what it was like to draw spontaneously in a sketchbook. (Answer – a lot of fun! Much less stress than trying to get a ‘good’ painting every time).

We’re about to go on a family vacation to Newfoundland. Which some Canadians call “the Rock”. For reasons I expect to become clear on arrival.

I don’t think I’ll be able to schlep around my full size painting setup with the Fam in tow – so I’m field testing a small 5×8″ Stillman and Birn sketchbook and some Lamy calligraphy pens.

I’m really intrigued with the water-based ink in the Lamy ready-made cartridges. When you touch it with water, it melts the line work. A nice effect. The line softens where there is color, and at the same time greys off your wash. I think I don’t mind that. It’s a little out of control, which I like. Kind of an natural neutralizing effect. I’ll be playing with this on the trip – we’ll see if I still like it when we come back.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2012 9:05 PM

    Nice set marc. I like all the white space.

  2. August 13, 2012 9:26 PM

    They look great scanned. And not too much seam in there. This bodes well for Newfoundland.

    • August 13, 2012 9:30 PM

      I think I want to be even more minimal with the color – since I really will be doing things on the fly. May try a few with just water and the LamyLine. See how that goes.

      • August 13, 2012 10:30 PM

        My old friend Charles Reid uses some spit and his thumb. Why not try that?

  3. October 19, 2012 2:14 PM

    Hi Marc, I bought some watercolor pencils today, General Kimberly. What other tools can you suggest for a beginning urban sketcher? I found two urban sketch groups locally in Chapel Hill and Raleigh.

    • October 19, 2012 8:38 PM

      There’s so much one can try! One thing is a good sketchbook. I really like the Stillman and Birn brand books – the paper can take the water quite well. Lets you do a lot with a page without getting frustrated with the paper wrinkling. The alpha series is great. Beta is super-great. Let see – A lot of people like Lamy fountain pens to sketch with. Ink line can add a lot of structure to stuff. Lets you be more free with color. It never ends with trying art stuff :) But I have done a lot of drawing with ballpoint – so fountain pens are totally optional. So, thats some basic stuff. It doesnt take much – because the main thing is fitting it in a small bag, so you can have it with you all the time :)

      • October 19, 2012 10:51 PM

        Thanks for your detailed response! I did a cool sketch tonight of a beer pint glass using my new watercolor pencils. Once it dried I laid down darker strokes on the edges using the black pencil. I saw Micron pens today in the student store at UNC, but I remember your passionate response to Micron: “Who uses those anyway?!” LOL :)

  4. October 21, 2012 10:59 AM

    Hah. Now, the problem with drawing and chatting – (which is my favorite pastime) – is that I’ll say anything that comes into my head. I’m sure some Micron fans would get up in arms – but me, I’ve never been able to make them work. They just seem so dry and miserly. :) I like a juicy pen!

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