Dryburgh Abbey – Featured by Stillman And Birn

 

Purchase Weatherd Scottish Abbey

 

During the break I took over the last few weeks, I learned that Stillman And Birn, makers of wonderful sketchbooks, had featured my watercolour paining of Dryburgh Abbey, not only on their website, but on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages as well.  I am not an affiliate, so imagine my joy at the news!

 

I wanted to take a painting project with me to fill the long hours of travel time on the plane while travelling to England.  Of the places we visited in Scotland, Dryburgh Abbey is one of my favourites.  I enjoyed the tranquil moment standing alone in front of this aged and wet stone abbey chapter house ruin so much that it became the subject of my painting.

 

You can read about the artist statement I wrote for the feature on Stillman And Birns’ blog.

 

I am really very excited about it all.  So I thought I do a full review of the Stillman And Birn Beta Series paper and on why I love working with it.

 

 

 

 

At the time of my travel I didn’t have a travel-size sketchbook.  I am very heavy-handed with water when it comes to watercolour, so the new sketchbook had to be able to handle that. During my research, I came across Stillman and Birn.  Their Beta series sketchbook with 270 gsm weight paper seemed ideal to me.  I also like the white paper of the Beta series instead of the ivory of many others.

 

The Stillman And Birn paper stayed smooth despite my water usage. I didn’t see even the tiniest bit of the lint-like effect that other papers get when used with watercolour.  It also warped very little, which I was able to easily fix once the painting had dried. 

 

The Beta series is not rough like cold press watercolour paper, neither is it as smooth as the hot press ones.  It has an in-between texture.  I love to play with different painting media and the texture of the sketchbook handled them all beautifully.  I pulled out a few examples so you can get a good idea. 

 

 

 

 

The Dryburgh Abbey painting was done with watercolour pencils.  The picture above shows how much I had finished on the plane using a waterbrush.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Canoe Prismacolour Marker And Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Markers typically work best on smooth paper, but this paper was smooth enough for me to blend and lift off paint with ease on this marker landscape and canoe painting.

Note – if you use markers, the pigment does seep into the back of the page.  Therefore, you won’t be able to use the back side.  I only use the right side of a sketchbook, so it was not a problem for me.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Cat On The Wall Prismacolor Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The sketchbook is great for quick, fun, comic-book style marker and ink sketches too.  I was able to layer different markers and blend them without hard edges showing.  I used a Micron pen to draw the black ink outlines.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Lavender Field Painting Derwent Pastel Pencils | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The paper has enough grain for pastel pencils to work just as well.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Vintage Tiles Winsor & Newton Watercolour Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I used Winsor Newton watercolor markers to paint these rusted tiles.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Dance Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I worked with mixed media on this one – markers, ink and pen.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Steampunk Fleur De Lis Painting Marker & Winsor Newton Ink | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Water soluble Winsor Newton Ink gave me the vibrancy I needed for the steampunk Fleur-de-lis and the blue background.  I also used pens and pencils for the details and shading.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Birch Trees In Snow Schmincke Horadam Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Of course, it does superbly well with watercolour.  Once I painted the background, I went over with more saturated paint for the details on the trees, finishing the painting off with white paint for the snow. 

When I originally posted this painting, many of you chose this one as your favourite and wrote lovely words about it.  Since I prefer colder temperatures, I used this one as the watercolour example.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks | Whims And Fancies

 

 

If you are looking into trying out sketching, painting, or journalling, I highly recommend the Stillman And Birn Beta Series sketchbooks.  You get 25-26 sheets per sketchbook.  It is thick paper, which makes it suitable for both dry and wet media.  As you see, I have used all kinds of painting media along with pens on this paper.  Currently I am working on a travel journal, hopefully I will be able to share more with you soon.

 

Drawback

Update

Since I have written this review I have worked on very wet on wet paintings.  The paper does not handle that kind of the water at all.  It becomes too soft and starts to lint severely.   It was an exersize in frustration.  I suggest using 100% cotton Fabriano or Fluid paper.  Fluid is a cheaper option of the two and does very well with wet on wet paintings.

Other than that Stillmand & Birn is quite a versatile sketchbook.

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, I am also working on a small quilt for my kitties.  I will be joining in One Monthly Goal hosted by Elm Street Quilts.  My goal is to finish making the blocks.  I will also talk a bit about palette at that time.

 

Until then,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.

 

 

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Of Flowers And Trees


Stained Glass Flower Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Lately it has been wet around here and my plans for planting our now fairly bare garden have been stagnant.  In the meantime, I moved on to working on a little indoor flower project.  This is another one of those long-forgotten quilts.  I designed my favourite flower quilt patterns in the style of stained glass window panels.  As I was drawing the flowers, they took on shapes of mineral crystals.  Since I love geology, the blocks are all named after my favourite minerals – Garnet Primrose, Kyanite Iris, Olivine Tulip and Selenite Clematis.  I made the initial blocks with the Downton Abbey fabrics.

 

 

Stained Glass Flower Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I didn’t want an usual 4 x 5 block arrangement for this quilt.  I wanted something completely different, a special layout for this one.  Until I had the layout designed, I didn’t know how many blocks I needed to make and progress stalled.  The four blocks went into the cabinet not to see the light of day again for a long time. Now it is finally time to dust off the pieces and start working on the rest of the quilt.

This is the layout I came up with.  I imagined walking through a very big garden made up of smaller, sectional gardens.  Enchanted Garden is what came to mind as the name.  Now that the layout is done, I can start making the rest of the flowers.

   

Since I always get asked about the pattern links, you can purchase the stained glass flower quilt patterns in my shop.

 

They are quite easy to make 12″ blocks.  Many thanks to those of you who purchased the patterns already.

 

 

Derwent Pastel Pencils Evening Sky Drawing | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I do love nature and my most favourite are the trees.  One evening, I sat down to relax with my sketchbook while running one of my favourite movies in the background.  It was early March, the trees were still very bare and the sky took on beautiful colours at sunset.  Using pastel pencils I was trying to capture those colours peeking through the silhouette of a tree.

 

 

Sennelier Oil Pastel And Derwent Pastel Pencils | Whims And Fancies

 

A few notes about oil pastel and pastel

  

Although they share the name pastel, oil pastel and pastel are really quite different from each other and cannot be used together.  I used paper stumps to blend the pastel pencils.  I tried to use the stumps to blend the oil pastel, but using my fingers proved more effective.  The heat from my finger warmed up the oil in the oil pastels, which in turn blended the colours a lot better.

 

I didn’t buy any special paper for the pastel pencils.  They worked great on Strathmore 400 Series 80lb drawing paper.  For the oil pastels, however, I used a thicker paper so the oil from the pastel would not seep through.  I used Canson 150lb smooth surface paper for the oil pastels.  I would like the try the oil pastels on canvas one day.

 

Pastel sticks create quite a lot of chalk-dust, pencils create a lot less.  That’s why I like the pastel pencils better.  They blend very easily, they smudge easily too.  Oil pastels have mineral oil which never really dries completely, so they would smudge as well.  Therefore, both of them need sealing. I used Grumbacher Matte Finish Final Fixative to seal both of them.  One thin coat was enough for the pastel pencils, but the oil pastels needed three thin coats.  I did take the time to let each coat completely dry before applying the next one.  I suggest you try out the sealant on a small test sample before you apply it to your finished painting.

 

I couldn’t find much information on this and had to figure a lot of this out by playing.  So, in case you paint, I thought you might find this information helpful.

 

 

Van Gogh style Field Of Wildflower Oil Pastel Painting with Sennelier Oil Pastel | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I painted this Field Of Wild Flowers with oil pastels in the style of Van Gogh.  As you can see, they behave quite differently than pastel pencils.  I wrote about his painting a couple of weeks ago in The Master And The Apprentice.

 

 

Copic Marker Landscape Painting | Whims And Fancies

 

 

One Friday, it was raining outside and I was feeling like doodling after work, but without taking out a whole pile of painting paraphernalia.  So I pulled out my box full of markers.  I have never used markers for landscape painting before, so this was a first for me.  Markers can get quite expensive and they can’t be mixed together to create new colours. Since I don’t have an unlimited supply, I lined up the shades I had at home and doodled away at this picture of trees in the morning at the local park while listening to the patter of rain.

 

 

Spring Vetch Flower | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I leave you with a photo of a tiny little Spring Vetch adding its splash of colour to the countryside around here.

Hope you find some inspiration in flowers and trees this week as well!
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

 

 

 

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