This week I did a sketch of autumn leaves using both a new sketchbook and a fairly new-to-me palette of colors. I am not sure that was very smart. I should only try one new thing at a time!
The sketchbook I used is called: The Perfect Sketchbook. It was a kickstarter project featured on Indiegogo.
This is a casebound journal made with recycled leather and features an elastic band, and ribbon. It is a very attractive sketchbook and has my name engraved on the front.
I like the B5 size which is close to 8″ x 10″. The Perfect Sketchbook is filled with 290 gsm coldpress Fabriano Artistico. I haven’t had too much experience painting on this paper before. One of the things I like about this paper is that you can lift color fairly easily. Two things I didn’t care for were 1) The paper tended to curl a lot while painting my washes (although it eventually flattened out) and 2) It seemed to take a longer time to dry than other papers I have used in my sketchbooks. To be fair, my subject was painted using the negative painting method which uses more water and lots of layers. It could be this sketchbook will perform far differently when painting a simple sketch with less layers.
The first six colors I used for this sketch are part of Steve Mitchell’s “Favorite Eight:” Prussian Blue, Azo Green, Indian Yellow, Quinacridone Red, and Transparent Red Iron Oxide made by M. Graham. I have only used these colors once or twice so they are very new-to-me and I am still learning how to mix them. The last three colors: Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, and New Gamboge made by Daniel Smith are on my everyday palette.
I began by sketching my primary leaves lightly in pencil and then painting an under-painting of Azo Green, Indian Yellow and Transparent Red Iron Oxide. In this photo the paint is still wet.
After the under-painting dried completely, I began forming the primary leaves by painting the area around them with a darker version of the previous colors.
Next, I added the secondary leaves by painting the area around them with darker colors. In addition, I added some more color to the primary leaves being careful to paint around the veins.
I decided I needed to add some darks in places in the background in order to bring the leaves forward. To do this I went back to my usual palette and used Quinacridone Burnt Orange. In addition, I darkened the secondary leaves with Quinacridone Gold to push them back. I also brightened the primary leaves with some New Gamboge. Texture was added with a bit of splatter.
I have to say that I am still trying to learn how to mix Steve’s palette of his “Favorite Eight.” This looks a little “muddy” to me. I am used to more vibrant colors on my palette so these colors seem more muted to me by comparison. It is all a learning experience. Even the “failures” help us learn.
In the future I am making a note to self, “Only try one new thing at a time.”
Happy painting and sketching!