Tag Archives: Hahnemuhle Watercolour book

Muskoka River Take II

Muskoka River 2, Hahnemuhle 150 dpiHahnemuhle Watercolour book, Daniel Smith watercolour

I couldn’t let go of yesterday’s watercolour sketch of the Muskoka, in fact I found it a bit unsettling. In trying to express the energy of the rushing ice and water, I think I made the painting look frantic.

Looking at the photographic print I see large passages of smooth white water as it surged along. So I decided to try the sketch again today to see if I could convey the feeling of volume and speed without the frantic energy. I wanted to smooth the water out somewhat yet keep the sense of rapid movement.  At my early skill level I don’t have a lot in my kit bag of experience and technique but I gave it a good go and now I can dive into some of my books by very fine watercolour artists to learn and practice.

Four Tomatoes

Four Tomatoes;  Jan 31:18 Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolours

I dated this sketch incorrectly … Today is February 1st not the 2nd.

These were some really ripe tomatoes about to go into sauce so I decided to sketch and paint them first.

I took a risk and applied masking fluid on the branches and leaves and the paper handled it beautifully. It actually felt quite liberating to use the frisket instead of struggling to paint around such tiny tendrils.

The Muskoka River

Muskoka River;  Jan 31:18 Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith Watercolours

This is sketched using one of my black and white prints. I wanted to see if I could render the colours of the rocks appropriately as well as represent both the moving  waterfall as it flowed down the slope, as well as the ice covered and open areas at the bottom.

This is another one I want to paint again since I’m excited about what I’ve learned in this effort. Again, my darks are lacking and the sense of the water moving quickly down the slope is inadequate.


Chilling. Jan 29:18 Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book; Daniel Smith Paint; Platinum Carbon Pen

This is a rather domestic sketch and something I would normally do in my Stillman and Birn Alpha 6×9 but because I am committed to 30 sketches in the Hahnie ( yes a pet name … what can I say), here it is.

I did a light pencil sketch then straight to paint and then inked a bit. Sketching with the book on my lap certainly changes perspective.

Here I let myself sketch and paint much more loosely, wanting to break free of the mess of yesterday’s effort. It actually felt quite good.

Breakfast Pears

Breakfast Pears Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith Watercolours

With yesterday’s aloe vera I worked wet in dry so that I could practice layering a bit. After doing a light pencil sketch of the pears I soaked them with water being careful to leave the area around the stems dry. The green pear has an under layering of lemon yellow ( I did end up having some Sennelier) then sap green, and palette mud that consisted of a soup of greens. I dropped in some Potter’s Pink in the red area and then deepened it with Perylene Maroon.

The yellow pear has an initial wash of lemon yellow, then Mayan yellow and then Burnt Tiger’s Eye Genuine for the brown. I had also dropped a bit of the Tiger’s Eye into the green pear.

The shadow areas are, yes, palette mud. But I do know there is some Cerulean Blue Chromium in it since I’ve been playing with it lately to mix grey.

I really enjoyed wet in wet and felt much less frustrated than yesterday.

Sketch One in the Hahnemuhle

If you read my previous post you’ll remember that I have begun a personal challenge of 30 sketches in one sketchbook, in this case the Hahnemuhle. Here is today’s sketch.

                                              THE OLD ALOE VERA

The Old Aloe Vera Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)

The winter sun was streaming in gloriously over the aloe this morning. It was what enticed me to sketch it. But I had barely finished the pencil sketch when a dense blanket of winter grey swallowed the light. I lost the shadows on the plant and with them the wonderful curves and depth disappeared. So I did my best to recall, but didn’t get there. In retrospect I should have turned on a lamp and gone with artificial light.

I need practice with my greens. I don’t have lemon yellow on my palette because in Central Ontario when am I going to use it other that on a sweltering summer day when I might actually be sketching lemons? Okay … there are many more uses of lemons and lemon yellow. i.e. …. green.

THE 30 SKETCH CHALLENGE: Book 1 Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book

Since deciding that I needed to grow out of the Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook, I have been testing 3 sketchbooks: the Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, the Global Arts Watercolour Handbook, and the traditional Moleskine.

The Hahnemuhle is not easily available here in Canada, both the Global Arts and Moleskine are. Since the Hahnemuhle has been looking a little precious to me because it is of such obvious quality, I’ve been somewhat intimidated about using it(translate- didn’t want to muck it up with my beginner sketches). So I decided to dive into it first.

Here is why I have given myself this challenge: I will only learn the qualities and challenges of a sketchbook if I use it consistently over time. It is also the only way I will be able to get a feel for the book and know it is ‘mine’.

Here is what I need in a sketchbook:

1. It needs to be light weight but not small. 5×8 or 6×9 is the perfect size for me so far.

2. The ability to work on both sides of the page without shadowing.

3. It must be able to take more than a light wash and not dry up   instantly.

4. Priced reasonably enough so that I can use it daily and not break the bank. (Alpha scores big here)

5. Lots of pages. (Love my Alpha for this)

6. Available in Canada. ( Yay Stillman and Birn!)

7. Have some texture.

I know … basically what I’m asking for is watercolour paper bound in a sketchbook at sketchbook prices!

Now that I’ve listed those things they go on the back burner until I’ve finished this challenge. The upside is that I will be sketching regularly, planning to do 30 sketches within 40 days. I need discipline in this area since it so easy for me to be distracted by what presents itself as more important. And, I’m lazy. The other upside is that given the attention, my sketching and use of watercolour will improve.

Feel free to join me in this. I would be happy to hear from you if you do!

January Sketches 2018

                                             HOLDING AN ORANGE

Orange in Hand and on plate Alpha 5x9 S&B From Jan 2018Stillman and Birn  Alpha 6×9

I filled my first Alpha sketchbook in November and although I had intended to not start another, I found myself missing the familiarity of it. I was playing with making orange and sketching my hand. I used Buff Titanium and Potter’s Pink  on the hand which looks terribly lifeless.

                                              ORANGE PEELS

Orange peels Alpha 5x9 S&B From Jan 2018Stillman and Birns  Alpha 6×9

The orange peels and the orange in the first sketch were mixed from Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange and New Gamboge.



Clementine orange Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

I had the Hahnemuhle a few weeks before I started using it. It felt too good to use at my level of skill. Finally I dove in. I’m discovering that I treat my sketches differently using the Hahnemuhle and I’m loving that I can layer in it.

                                            THE POTTERY SHED

The Pottery shed Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

There is so much to learn about painting snow, and I suppose the good news is, I have the rest of the winter to practice!





November and December 2017 sketches

                                                         LEAF TEMPEST

Leaf Tempest on Hwy 27 (used masking fluid on leaves) Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha, Daniel Smith watercolours

Driving home from town on a blustery November day I was delighted by the golden leaves dancing and swirling through the air in this leaf tempest. I wondered how I could sketch this scene so that the leaves could be painted free of any background wash and I knew I wouldn’t be able to skillfully  paint around them. I needed to protect the white paper within the leave shapes I had sketched out.

This meant using masking fluid, but would it rip up the paper in my Alpha skethcbook? I decided to jump in and give it a go, masking the leaves, the white lines in the road, the fence posts and the rocks at the base of the tree.

                              STRANGE SKY ON THE 10th LINE

Strange sky on the 10th Line Moleskine watercolour bookMoleskine Watercolour Journal, Daniel Smith watercolours

Driving the side roads around my town provides opportunity for great views of expansive skies. My goal was to work loosely and to use colour well.

                              ICE CREAM SHOP IN THORNTON

Ice Cream shop in Thornton Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolours

This was a much tighter sketch than I’ve been doing and my first effort in my new Hahnemuhle sketchbook. I was excited to try this book and ordered it based on a review Mary Owings of Owingsart did on his YouTube channel.


                          ICE FISHERMAN ON LAKE SIMCOE

Ice Fisheerman Lake Simcoe Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

I have made this sketch before in my Alpha and written about it in an earlier post. I repeated it because I wanted to increase the contrast and make the day appear brighter. And of course, I wanted to correct the perspective on the ice hut.

                           THE HOUSE DOWN THE HILL IN WINTER

South Window house Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolours

The view down the hill from my south window is beautiful on a sunny, snow draped day. I’m finding I’m more willing to use colour freely in the Hahnemuhle and Moleskin. I’m excited to learn how to paint snow.