Above: the April 19 page spread from my 2009 fake journal. I used Ziller Acrylic ink with a dip pen and Schmincke pan watercolors. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Fake journals, just like regular visual journals, can provide the opportunity to experiment with materials. I've used Schmincke pan watercolors for decades, but never as my primary, day in, day out, palette. My color choices with this palette are similar to my main watercolor palette (which consists primarily of Daniel Smith watercolors and some M. Graham watercolors), but there are some differences, nuances. There are some colors that are hold overs from before my last major palette overhaul in 2003. (After that overhaul I created smaller palettes to carry with me, but those smaller palettes were based on my selections for the 2003 palette.)
Click here if you would like to see a PDF of my palette selection process. When you arrive at "Leisure Reading" click on "Adding and Deleting Pigments…" under the "Educational Content?" heading.)One of the benefits of using the Schmincke pan watercolor palette for this year's fake journal is that day after day I've had to confront my color choices and rethink them. The process can be most readily seen when looking at the turkey sketches that appear throughout the fake journal (April 1, 4, 10, 12, already posted; and 21, 26, and ??—there are 3 more days—of drawings not posted yet). These drawings provide a record, interesting to me of my search for the correct mix of blue for the turkey heads. It is also a record of a lot of looking in different types of light, from different distances, and my wavering on whether, after all local color was the right choice. Perhaps next year the idea of local color is something my fake journal author can address?
The image in today's post from April 19 is actually the sister post to the image in yesterday's post (April 18). On two separate days I deal with the idea of shadows on white feathers using different selections of color.
See how much fun this can be? And you didn't believe me!
Gulls and Canada Geese also have repeat appearances in this year's fake journal and they too show me a record of what I'm playing with. Since the author of the journal is someone who is painting and sketching birds the WHOLE day, only warm up or cool down sketches appear in her personal journal and she is happily unfettered by the need to get things down exactly. She will write notes to herself about spacing and sizing and color, but the impression I get is of someone who is much more fussy in her "real" artwork, the work of her daily life. (Perhaps I needed also to keep her "work journal" as well as her personal journal!)
At any rate, those are some quick thoughts on my Schmincke pan watercolors and their use in this year's fake journal. I think testing something out over several consecutive days is always the most efficient way to establish pros and cons, good points, bad points, artistic felicities. What more pleasant way to accomplish this than in a fake journal? So much more accommodating and inviting than a workbook of charts. (Though I have to say, one of my colored pencil students once informed me that she loved making charts and indeed her workbook backed up her statement—the most lovely, artful charts you could ever imagine which still yielded all the "required" and desired information.)
Colors on my Schmincke Pan Watercolor Palette
Note, this palette is the only one I have that still contains a cadmium paint—I don't use cadmium colors much at all. I also don't normally work with this many colors; but all these colors fit nicely as half pans in a small 3-3/4 x 5 inch Schmincke box which I adapted to hold 4 rows of pans instead of 3. When I travel I like to have more colors along with me because I don't know what I'll find. It gives me different options. I have to say I prefer using my smaller palettes with fewer colors, but then they are so small I can have them always with me (about 1 x 1.5 inches). In general I prefer to use colors that are made with single pigments.
Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Aureolin Modern Yellow, Translucent Yellow, Indian Yellow, Titanium Gold Ochre, Yellow Ochre, Translucent Orange, Burnt Sienna, English Venetian Red, Vermillion, Cadmium Red light, Permanent Carmine, Deep Red, Purple Magenta, Madder Brown, Manganese Violet, Dark Indigo Blue, Delft Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Helio Blue Reddish, Helio Cerulean, Helio Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise, Phthalo Green, Zinc White
To see a chart of this palette click here.
Here is the text from the page spread featured above:
Verso to recto:
09.04.19 7:20 p.m. [side label]
I'm still not calm. It's 9:30 p.m. now. I was sketching the neighborhood chicken after dinner. Two head studies done. A quick body sketch because of the way she was holding her foot was just finished. Up comes Michelle, at my side, about 10 feet away. She shoots the chicken, literally to pieces, feathers floating up and away. The bulk of the body limp when moments ago she'd been looking at me with coy eyes. The noise had been so sudden, so loud. And then silence. I guess when I threw down my sketchbook the wash around the body sketch smeared all over my hand because the teal blue and the black ink was [sic] all over Michelle's collar where I grabbed her. Later Chuck told me he couldn't hear what I said to Michelle—and he was right there—his hand on her gun hand. Lou walked her back into the compound and Chuck took me for a walk. He didn't try to talk 'til we came back.
Now that it's over all I remember is what I was thinking while I was sketching the hen—"I haven't had chicken since I was a child. I miss it."
When Chuck and I got back from our walk there were a couple feathers clinging to the underside of the hedge, and some maroon black spots in the dirt.
Chuck and I filled out breach of protocol reports and an endange[r]ment complaint. She's being evaluated.
[label] curious, tilting her head.