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Newfoundland: Mission Complete!

September 5, 2012


Here it is! Two weeks in Newfoundland compressed into a sketchbook.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this part of the world. Certainly there were some areas of blasted wasteland (Tablelands, Gros Morne) – which was what I came for. The whole ‘One does not just walk into Mordor’ experience.

But I didn’t know I was going to see twisted forests of wind-tortured trees, crinkly little harbors with quaintly sagging docks and boat houses, and endless epic views over rocky headlands.

I absolutely recommend it. If you have a chance to take a trip out east – you won’t be disappointed by the landscape.

We were traveling in a group with family and friends, so I didn’t bring a painting setup. Just a small sketchbook and all the dregs of tiny tubes from 10 years ago when I used tiny tubes of watercolor.

Turned out this was perfect. I could carry the book everywhere, sketching while the kids beachcrawled or museum’d. Mostly I was playing catch-up, painting over the line drawings back at the hotel or when we stopped to eat. On the drive home I was able to catch up with a big batch of work, painting in my lap while playing navigator. (Take highway 1 for 400 miles, Destination on right).

The limitations of a small sketchbook turned out to be an advantage. It was a lot of fun being that portable. Sure, I wish I could have done some big paintings, but that wasn’t in the cards this time, so instead I have this book, and probably I’ll get to the paintings in the studio this winter.

12Aug_Newfoundland (1)

12Aug_Newfoundland (8)

12Aug_Newfoundland (7)

12Aug_Newfoundland (6)

12Aug_Newfoundland (5)

12Aug_Newfoundland (9)

12Aug_Newfoundland (3)

26 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2012 11:53 AM

    Nice view of The Narrows and harbor. NFLD is beautiful and unique. Your sketches well-captured that.

  2. September 5, 2012 11:58 AM

    I am jealous about how effortless this looks yet so intricate and detailed. What a great record of your holiday!

  3. September 5, 2012 12:37 PM

    WOW!!! Thanks so much for the fabulous tour through your sketchbook! The sketches are so full of vitality and life, and seeing them together as a flip-through makes me feel like I went on the trip too. I like that the ink you used wasn’t so strong as to detract from the color when you added the watercolors. What ink was it?

    • marctaro permalink*
      September 5, 2012 12:40 PM

      Hi Jamie! This time I’m using a Lamy pen with the ready made cartridge they offer. The ink isn’t waterproof, so the line will simply melt into the watercolor. It can be a little tricky at first, until you get used to how it tints the color. The line sort of adds a little paynes grey color to everywhere it touches.

      • September 5, 2012 2:01 PM

        Thank you for the reply, Marc. That’s what I get for always dumping the ink that’s in the cartridges and refilling it with something else. LOL… I’ll have to see if I have a black Lamy cartridge lying around here in the bottom of my pen box and check it out. Have you tried the Private Reserve Velvet Black? If you like black inks that wash with great character, I’d highly recommend that one! (Not lightfast though, of course.)

  4. September 5, 2012 12:44 PM

    Hi! I hope that you decide to scan all the sketchbook for the pleasure of all us.
    thank for sharing,from a big fan.

  5. September 5, 2012 1:07 PM

    Wonderful Book! you just got the spirit of the island!

  6. AnAis permalink
    September 5, 2012 1:34 PM

    What a good work, Marc.

  7. September 5, 2012 1:41 PM

    Absolutely wonderful, and inspiring, Marc. Thanks for sharing your work (and trip) with us!

  8. Sharon Fox permalink
    September 5, 2012 1:55 PM

    Amazing work – I love your use of colour, and the not use of colour, if you know what I mean. Let me know when you are teaching your next workshop, my husband and I would love to sketch with you. Can you tell me what colours are in your palette, or is that top secret?!



    • marctaro permalink*
      September 5, 2012 2:23 PM

      I’m not too unusual about what colors I think – sort of a standard ‘expanded primary’ palette:

      Ultramarine Blue (warm),Prussian Blue (cold) and Cerulean Blue (light )
      Cadmium Red (warm), Alizarn Crimson (cold), Cad Orange (‘light red’)
      Lemon Yellow and Yellow Ocher
      Burnt Sienna and Van Dyke Brown

      And special effects colors:
      Paynes grey (watch out! it’s a color that changes a lot when dry),
      A tint called ‘Lilac’ from Holbein I might add to skin and sky,
      and the very useful Sap Green (yes, you can mix any greens, but I like to start here and tint into it with all the others)

  9. September 5, 2012 4:25 PM

    What a great trip through your sketchbook! I love the energy of the drawings. Newfoundland Tourism should hire you to promote travel there.

    • marctaro permalink*
      September 5, 2012 5:01 PM

      Thanks :) and yes, they should indeed! I’d be very interested in a travel grant :)

  10. September 5, 2012 6:50 PM

    wow… that’s a dream!

  11. September 5, 2012 8:26 PM

    I love your book and the story it tells “or shows” about your journey. Can you buy that book in Montreal? If so, where do you buy these books by Stillman & Birn?

    • marctaro permalink*
      September 5, 2012 8:34 PM

      I haven’t yet found a place to buy them in Montreal – but they do have this list on their site of places to order from:

      I didn’t have to buy this particular one, they gave them out at the Urban Sketchers conference in Santo Domingo (you might have caught the SantoDo logo embossed on the front cover:)

      Next time out I’m going to try the Beta series they call “ultra heavy weight’ – looks like real watercolor paper bound into a hardcover.

  12. September 5, 2012 8:34 PM

    oooh! and what size is your book?

    • marctaro permalink*
      September 5, 2012 8:35 PM

      that’s a 5×8 – pretty much the typical ‘small black sketchbook size. They also make an 8.5×11.

  13. September 5, 2012 8:39 PM

    Too bad that we do not have these in Montreal then… but hey! Maybe a good excuse to go to one of these workshops one of these days. Thank you for the info Marc… amazing talent that you have…

  14. September 6, 2012 6:41 AM

    crazy good. Until I can get to one of your workshops, I’ll continue to be inspired by seeing your luscious linework and confident splashes of color.

  15. September 6, 2012 11:10 AM

    I loved the effect of the soluble ink. It somehow unified your stunning sketches–I would LOVE to watch you work!

  16. Mike Porter permalink
    September 9, 2012 1:44 PM

    A different sort of work than we were exposed to at the Portland workshop. Those demos were more like purposeful paintings to me than sketches. This collection is more like what I do. I use waterproof ink, but may get wild and use the other like you did to keep my work more loose.
    Will be in your city by the end of the month to see and sketch it. Best to your wife.

    • marctaro permalink*
      September 9, 2012 2:02 PM

      You’re coming to Montreal? Did you have time to hang out for an afternoon – perhaps do some sketching somewhere?

  17. May 12, 2015 1:15 AM

    Lovely sketches. The twisted trees are called tuckamore trees.

  18. behrm permalink
    May 3, 2017 2:08 PM

    Hello. I came across your Newfoundland Sketchbook Flip-through serendipitously on Youtube and noticed the Tuckamore Festival sketches. Having a friend who is involved with them, I sent on the link and they were pleased to see them. Not sure if they have contacted you yet, but The Festival Committee may do so. Thank you for sharing your work and your insight.


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