Stillman and Birn
Contact Us
Friday, January 30, 2015

Bali Ritual Dance

Artist: Cristina Urdiales, Spain
Artist Statement: I visited Bali in December, 2014. The island has some very distinctive dances, but the best known one is Kecak, a ritual depicting a battle between good and evil. Despite its religious origins, Kecak is so popular that it has been adapted for tourists. Kecak includes chanting and exotic music, mostly performed with drums and cymbals.

Drawing things in motion is a bit tricky but rewarding too. One of my favorite challenges is to draw local dancers when I’m traveling. I like to carry small equipment for these trips, so I can keep it at hand all times. Lately, I’ve been using a pocketsize Gamma Series sketchbook and the smallest Cotman Watercolor [Winsor & Newton] box that fit my handbag perfectly.

To draw people dancing, I need a few minutes to find the patterns that dancers tend to repeat, because I probably need them to be at the same pose two or three times to capture it correctly. When I’ve decided, I like to use a soft pencil first just to set the main flow lines. Then, I go for a very simple line sketch of the body using a waterproof marker (Faber-Castell Pitt Fine Tip, at the moment). I don’t worry about the clothing yet, I just try to get the pose correctly. It’s handy to have some hang on anatomy to complete the sketch, especially if dancers are fast. Finally, I can add some texture and cloth. No need to wait for any particular pose to do this, too. It’s difficult to find the time to add colors and such, so I usually finish by adding some simple shadowing in watercolor. I just check the light direction and place shadows where I think they should be after the dance is over. In this way I can manage to draw three or four performers during the same dance.

You can see my travel sketches at my blog: Been There, Drawn That

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, watercolor
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Portrait of Madame X: John Singer Sargent’s Most Famous and Most Infamous Painting

The BBC’s Jason Farago has written a great article about the scandal surrounding the creation and exhibition of Sargent’s great painting. From the first paragraph: “Her hair is twisted up, away from her shoulders – which are bare save for two straps, somewhat unconvincingly holding up her cinched, classical black gown. On her head is a little diamond tiara, but other than that and the ring she wears no jewelry. Between her long neck and the plunging, heart-shaped neckline of her dress lie acres of flesh, as cold and pale as ice milk.” Read the entire article here:

UPDATE:  This BBC Culture article is not accessible in the UK. We therefore created this link for it on Google Drive:


Friday, January 23, 2015

Still Hauling

Artist: Barbara Tapp
Artist Statement: I’ve been searching around for a winter scene here in California. I am looking for urban and industrial themes in my journaling this year and love the forms of machinery, buildings and street scenes. When I found this 60’s Chevy truck in the parking lot at Home Depot… there was my story! This vintage truck with its rusty patina and dent, parked amongst modern muscle trucks, spoke to me of loyalty, reliability, strength and love.I added the lumber on top and the guy loading in the back to suggest the work this pickup might be expected to do. The leafless trees gave me the winter scene I was looking for. I drew this is in my new 8.25 x 11.75 Epsilon Journal and a much larger area to sketch than my usual 7 x 10 size.

I free-handed the sketch in light pencil first, blocking the shapes. I then drew in a fine Sharpie a light outline of the pickup with a small amount of hatching allowing me to see a value study, keeping the area behind the wheels as my darkest areas. The watercolor washes were then layered over the underdrawing over a period of two hours. I love the way this paper does not absorb the paint, it does not bleed through and once dry can be lifted, allowing for highlights and tones. There is minor buckling but I keep clips on the sides.

I was experimenting back and forth with wash and line trying to capture the weathered Duco [automotive lacquer] in the winter afternoon light. This smooth paper is tricky but very rewarding. Ink glides over it and can go from very light to very dark without staining the paper. A lovely patchy appearance happens in the washes, giving spontaneity to the illustration.

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, watercolor
SURFACE: Epsilon Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Smooth Finish


Monday, January 19, 2015

Carson Cottage

Architectural illustrator Andrew Banks created this pen and ink study of a small, historic building situated in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. “This is a building I have had my eye on for quite a while but only until recently got around to sketching. Carson Cottage, a Victorian era building, built in 1888 sits in the Lincoln Park Zoo. The cottage was designed by Joseph Silsbee, accomplished 19th century architect, known for his contributions to the World Columbian Exposition. Originally built as a public “comfort station”, the building has since been restored and used by the Chicago Park District and local volunteer gardening program.

I laid the sketch out in pencil. Situated in between large trees and surrounded by a tall garden of native plants, I wanted the composition of the sketch to capture the density of the building’s natural surroundings and how perfectly the building compliments its context. One of the things I love about Chicago is that within such a large metropolis, it is easy to find beautiful scenes like this. Unless you knew otherwise, one would assume this was sketched in a forest preserve or countryside somewhere. Positioning the cottage under a canopy and behind the dense garden, I “framed” the cottage in my sketch using the building’s context.

Using two fountain pens filled with black ink, each with a different sized nib, I was able to create some variety of line weights, distinguishing the foreground from background. I also used a brush pen, filled with a grey ink to create the shadows. I really liked how this Delta Series paper allowed me to push values without compromising the integrity of the paper at all. From the dark, bold lines in the trees to the cross hatching on the building and the garden in the foreground, I did not have to worry about how much I worked the drawing.”

MEDIA: Ink and ink wash
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Finish

Carson Cottage, Lincoln Park [BANKS] (1024x725)

Friday, January 16, 2015

At the Market

Bay-area designer Suhita Shirodkar sent us this drawing of a scene in her local fruit market. “I have always been fascinated by capturing crowds and activity, and this is one of a series of sketches created to study drawing crowds and busy places. This is a sketch of the Milk Pail Market, one of the last small, independent grocery stores in Mountain View, California. I especially love how much fruit they carry. I sketched this as I stood behind a huge pile of Manila Mangoes.

When drawing people-filled scenes from life, I lay in a very light structure to get my perspective and layout right, but then adopt a wait-and-watch technique, where I am ready to quick-capture people as they move into my scene. I drew in the whole scene using an Extra Fine Sharpie marker and then used watercolor. I’ve been a fan of the Beta paper since I first tested it: it holds up to really heavy washes and pooled colors without buckling. And the wirebound book I use lets my book fold up so I can work standing like I did for this piece.” Suhita posts her artwork regularly on her Facebook page:

MEDIA: Marker and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Suhita_whole foods

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Art Journal Pioneer Michel Renaud Killed at Charlie Hebdo Offices

[The following article was published on January 8th by the French newspaper, Libération. It was translated by watercolorist Martine Pittet. The article reports on the murder of Michel Renaud, the founder of “Rendez-Vous du Carnet de Voyage”, an annual international festival celebrating travel-related art journaling and writing. The festival is held in the ancient French city of Clermont-Ferrand. It is one of the most prestigious conferences of its kind, attracting art journalists as well as travel writers. Many of the participating artists are also members of the Urban Sketchers organization.]

“Michel Renaud, who founded the “Rendez-Vous du Carnet de Voyage” Festival, was among the twelve victims in the attack that took place in the Charlie Hebdo premises. He was 69.

Renaud was in Paris with his colleague Gérard Gaillard (who miraculously escaped the shooting), guests of the Charlie Hebdo team to discuss collaborating on future projects.

In the first part of his professional life, Michel Renaud was a journalist. He worked for Europe 1 Radio and the Figaro newspaper. In 1982, at age 37, he was contacted by Clermont-Ferrand Mayor, Roger Quilliot, who was looking for a city Communication Director. After several decades he resigned from this job and became a passionate traveler and the founder of his great festival “Rendez-Vous du Carnet de Voyage” (translation: rendezvous with travel journals).

Over the years, the event gained international recognition as THE art journalist’s festival. Thousands of visitors and exhibitors have come from all over the world to exchange and share cartoons, watercolours or testimonials in a merry and colourful five-day bazaar. Always interested in new talents and original ideas, Michel Renaud was attentive to everyone, whether the famous artist or young adventurer.

Since his death, the travel sketchers community has been posting an increasing number of testimonials on social media networks to pay tribute to Michel’s values: Intellectual curiosity, humanity, tolerance … all things the evil commando group hated and tried to silence.”

PORTRAIT: Wolfgang Krisai (from a 2011 photograph by Valentin Uta)
TRANSLATION: Martine Pittet

Michel Renaud

Friday, January 9, 2015

Painting Tutankhamun

British watercolorist Elaine Hill created this dramatic two-page spread and added the following description of her technique: “This is my watercolour painting of King Tut Ankh Amun’s (Tutankhamun) beautiful death mask created from a copyright free photo by Mr. Jon Bodsworth. I visited Egypt in 2010 where I actually saw the mask on a 50th birthday trip that was a present from my partner. I had always wanted to go and see the pyramids, Sphinx, tombs, temples and treasures, a result of childhood museum trips with my mother. I was inspired to do this painting because I’d kept the entrance tickets and I wanted to incorporate them into my artwork. I was also inspired by the challenge of creating the illusion of the metallic gleam of the gold of the mask.

I decided on the layout first. The tickets are quite big and I wanted to add some writing and the face of the mask. I decided on a portrait format and drew in the placement of the tickets and then drew in the mask in pencil. I tried various colours on a scrap of paper to find a base colour for the gold effect. Winsor & Newton Quinacridone Gold turned out the best for this as it can be a diluted pale yellow through to a deep golden yellow as a stronger mix. Here and there I added Daniel Smith Burnt Sienna for warm shading and the metallic effect was completed by blending with pale and dark purple mixes of DS Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Magenta. For the blue parts of the mask, I used Ultramarine Blue and added a touch of Burnt Sienna for the darker areas. (A background of DS Prussian Blue being duller than Ultramarine, made the mask stand out). I created a bit of sheen on the mask by dampening areas and lifting off some pigment. I then added some splatter for interest but I was careful to avoid the face. The last step was to attach the tickets with paper glue and then some writing, establishing a home for the tickets at last.

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, watercolor, paper collage
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

King Tut

Monday, January 5, 2015

On the Avenida Paulista, São Paulo

This past summer’s Urban Sketchers Symposium took place in the historic Brazilian town of Paraty, giving participating artists the chance to visit the nearby city of São Paulo. Swedish designer and Urban Sketchers’ correspondent Nina Johansson sent us the following drawing and report from her visit:

“This sketch is from Avenida Paulista in São Paulo. I had not expected to ever go to Brazil in my life, but there I was, grateful to have been part of the Urban Sketchers symposium in Paraty. I had seen the amazing sights of Rio de Janeiro before the event, and was on my way home to Sweden after only one night in São Paulo. I had heard slightly scary things about SP, how you always have to watch out, be careful, don´t travel around alone… But here I was, drawing along the busy Avenida Paulista, an avenue of a scale that is quite comparable to anything in Stockholm, together with a bunch of friends from three different continents. This moment made São Paulo a place I would love to come back to and see more of. It made me feel so clearly how every big bustling city is still mostly consisting of people, and when some of them are your friends, you are in a good place.”

This is the link to Nina Johansson’s blog: and this is the link to info about her acclaimed book drawings of Barcelona, “Drawing Around Sagrada Familia”: (US) (Europe)

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Avenue Paulista

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

May your 2015 be a year of good health, happiness and great art.
“A view of the Fireworks and Illuminations at his Grace the Duke of Richmonds’s at Whitehall and on the River Thames” (1749)
Hand-coloured etching
Beard Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Homage to Fermor

Illustrator Jeff Nelson explains in this post that he likes to do calligraphy drawings to accompany the books he’s reading. This one is a tribute to Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915 – 2011), who was regarded as England’s greatest travel writer and “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene.”

“My name is Jeff Nelson. I live and work as an illustrator in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I work on murals, menus, magazines, maps, signs, and whatever else that may require hand-rendering that comes my way. I recently discovered the travel writings of Patrick Leigh Fermor. When he was nineteen, he left Oxford and began walking across Europe. This was just after Hitler had come to power. Fermor’s knowledge of the lands through which he’s passing is thorough and quirky. It balances well with the interactions he has with the people he meets along the way while also providing some foreshadowing of the horrors to come. He was also an accomplished sketcher and portraitist who frequently thanked his hosts with a drawing.

I like to draw while I’m reading — it helps me remember. By the end of a book, I like to have a piece that sums up the overall feeling of my reading experience. In this case it was grandiose, over-the-top, yet playful typography. I used a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni 4H pencil, Pentel brush pen with Carbon Ink, and a Carbon Ink pen in my Stillman & Birn sketchbook. (I also used Graham’s 10-year-old Tawny Port, but that’s probably more information than anybody really wants.) My work can be seen at or under the name Jephemera on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

ED. NOTE: Leigh Fermor was a renowned author, scholar and soldier who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Greek resistance in Crete resistance during the Second World War. This article from the BBC describes one of his more audacious exploits, the abduction of a Nazi general from Crete in 1944.

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, ink wash
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish


jeffnelson (640x564)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Best U.S. Art Shows of 2014 (per Wall St. Journal)

Shown here: Matisse’s “Two Masks” (1947) from MoMA’s “Matisse: the Cut-Outs” exhibit through February 10. We’re going next week. Truly sorry we didn’t get to “Degas/Cassat” at Washington’s National Gallery before it closed. But “Madame Cezanne” at the Met (through March 15th) is definitely on our list.

Two Masks


Monday, December 22, 2014

Austere and Elegant

Thank you naturalist Jean Mackay for posting this unique art journal spread. It combines a botanical study of desiccated pods (they’re Baptisia australis; common name is False Blue Indigo) and a line from a Winter poem from the Victorian era. Jean says the Zeta Series paper was “a perfect match for both the lettering and watercolor”.

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth

Austere and elegant




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Canadian artist Owen Swain was one of the winners of our recent Holiday Giveaway. Owen posted about receiving his prize this week along with a drawing about it. The drawing is part of Owen’s daily drawing challenge which he celebrates during the Advent season. Here’s Owen’s report:

“I can hardly believe it myself. Stillman & Birn had a Holiday Giveaway that I saw on both Everyday Matters and Sketchbook Skool and I thought, OK, enter! Not only did I win but my selections arrived before Christmas, not after. Kudos on S&B for getting this shipped out fast to Canada.

Already a big fan of S&B products I am tickled to give the Beta Series a try. The Zeta and Gamma sketchbooks are beautiful and great fun to work in so I have no doubts this one will be as well. Have never used QoR High Chroma Watercolors. Looking forward to trying out this set of six paints. The box they are in, as I’ve seen in photos, features a mixing tray in the inside of the lid. Cool.

Now, the thing is, the package is just so Christmasy that I have decided to hold off opening it until the Day. I know. Weird. But oh what fun over the holidays and into the New Year! Reviews to come in 2015. Thanks, Stillman & Birn!” This is the link to Owen’s blog post:

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stillman & Birn Arrives in Thailand

We’re very pleased to share this photo supplied by Lamune, an upscale design and art material shop in downtown Bangkok.

Siam Square 10
Bangkok 10330
Phone +081-7203352


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wilberforce the Rabbit

When we get inquiries about which of our papers are suitable for pen and ink, we reply “all of them”. “But even the cold press surfaces, like Beta and Delta?” Yes, they are all mixed media papers and support inking techniques (plus of course varying amounts of wet media). Alaskan artist Michelle Hotchkiss illustrates the suitability of our cold press papers for line art with this intricate pen and ink drawing in a Beta Series sketchbook.

“The inspiration behind the drawing of ‘Wilberforce the Rabbit’ is an actual rabbit named Wilberforce. He is the pet of a friend and lives in a cabin in Alaska and spends the winters lounging in the heat from the wood stove, eating oatmeal and bananas and sipping on apple cider. When springtime finally comes after a long Alaskan winter, I imagine Wilberforce revels in the fresh air and warm sunshine, while hopping around under the flowers, enjoying being alive.

This drawing is in my Stillman & Birn Beta Series Sketchbook, using a very fine point 0.05 mm Copic Multiliner SP pen. I draw the texture of the fur by overlapping several light, short strokes of the pen. The surface of the Beta paper is perfect for making very fine lines, where the ink skips over the paper and creates an etched appearance. Mixing these very fine lines with heavier weight lines, where the pen marks are a bit more solid and darker, makes a very life-like fur texture on the Beta paper. I use the same short, light pen strokes for creating the shading in the flowers, grass and plants.

This type of drawing is not quick and it took thousands and thousands of small pen strokes to create this drawing; but I find it very enjoyable and relaxing. The heavy weight of the Beta paper stands up extremely well to the many layers of ink as well as heavier pen lines, without bleeding, feathering or fraying. Thank you for making high quality sketchbooks and paper that is a perfect foundation for my art.” Thank you, Michelle!

MEDIA: Pen and ink
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish


Monday, December 8, 2014

Acrylic Study on Gessoed Paper

Guadalupe Diaz Hidalgo (Lupe) is a New York City portrait artist who uses Beta Series sketchbooks to create acrylic paint studies. These studies are used to plan a final rendering which will be on canvas or board. In the following, Lupe explains the process in which he primes Beta Series sheets for use with multiple layers of acrylic paint.

“As an old art teacher once told me, ‘to be a great painter you just have to paint’. So having a sketchbook that can handle paint seems like a great way to practice as much as you want without committing to the expense and space required to store canvases and boards.

I use a Stillman & Birn wirebound Beta Series sketchbook. Although the extra heavyweight paper can handle paint without preparation, I’ve found that priming it with gesso gives the surface a texture that is closer to that of a canvas or board. I do this by first taping a border on the paper and applying a few layers of gesso. What is great about this is that the additional layers won’t stress the paper. I’ve been doing this for two years and none of my work has warped or damaged. I always let the gesso dry overnight, giving the paper time to settle back into its original flat state. Once the paper is dry I can go crazy and paint to my heart’s desire.

I use acrylic paints and prefer to the Golden brand, but I’ve used several other brands and they all work fine on this paper. Acrylic is a great medium to use because it dries fast but still has a heavy body that allows you to experiment with a large range of painting techniques. I usually do a detail pencil sketch of the subject and start applying thin washes as a foundation to help me establish where colors, tones and highlights will go. And as I progress I add more paint giving my painting texture and body. I try not to get caught up with fine details because I consider this ‘sketching’: my goal is to simply capture the likeness of my subject within one or two sessions which usually adds up to a few hours. I have found that this process of creating preliminary studies with acrylics in my sketchbooks has made me a more confident painter. My work has improved and my actual paintings show it.” To see more of Lupe’s artwork, please visit his blog here:

MEDIA: Pencil and acrylic paint on gesso-primed sheet
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Acrylic Study _17

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Giveaway Winners Announced

These are the ten winners of our Holiday Giveaway. Each will receive High Chroma set of QoR Modern Watercolors from Golden Artist Colors plus their choice of a Beta Series or Zeta Series sketchbook.

Debo Boddiford
Brian Bullen
Carol Holt
s. Jane Mills
Marcia Milner-Brage
Janette Meetze
Martine Pacquet
Owen Swain
Jill Tattersall
Damian Wilcox

Winners were selected by chance using the true random number generator function from

Thanks to all for participating….our next contest will be in March.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Giveaway

We’re giving away ten gift sets of Stillman & Birn sketchbooks bundled with a case of QoR® Modern Watercolors from Golden Artist Colors. The watercolors are a QoR High Chroma Set, containing a six-tube palette of brilliant colors. The sketchbook is a 5½” x 8½” (14.0 x 21.6 cm.) hardbound, your choice of either a Beta Series (cold press) or Zeta Series (smooth).


Simply email us with your name to: We will automatically enter you into the contest. You will receive an email reply confirming your entry within 48 hours. Entry to this contest closes December 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST.

Winners will be picked at random on December 6, 2014 and will be announced on our blog and social media sites that day.

You must be over the age of 18 in order to enter. No purchase required. No geographical limitations.


The unique formulation of QoR Watercolors accentuates the luminosity and brilliance of pigments even after drying. QoR provides the subtlety, transparency and flow of a great watercolor, with colors that have as much vibrancy and fire as the best acrylic or oil paint. This High Chroma Set, packed in a deluxe metal case, contains six 0.17 oz (5 ml) tubes of the following colors:

• Cobalt Teal
• Green Gold
• Quinacridone Gold
• Transparent Pyrrole Orange
• Quinacridone Magenta
• Dioxazine Purple

Stillman & Birn Beta and Zeta Series contain extra heavyweight mixed media papers which will support a wide variety of both dry and wet media. With exceptional wet strength and a surface that also readily accepts line art and multiple erasures, these robust papers allow artists to combine drawing and painting techniques on the same sheet. Archival quality.

• Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press
• Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth

Holiday Giveaway_2015_Graphic ver 5a

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Eagle Head

Elaine Hill, from Lancashire, England, recently posted this powerful drawing of an eagle’s head and we asked Elaine to describe her vision and technique. “I’m an office worker and painting is my hobby. I have painted since I was a child but I recently started to study a very comprehensive online art course provided by . An exercise in the Animal section of the Watercolour Academy given by Tutor Glynis Barnes-Mellish, had a great photo of an eagle’s head that inspired me to paint this picture. Working full time, I don’t always get much chance to paint. So earlier this year I joined the ‘Artists Journal Workshop’ on Facebook and this led to my working in a sketchbook.

After studying the photograph, I penciled in the drawing of the eagle, keeping it to the right so that I would have space on the left for any writing. I intentionally made the drawing large enough for the dramatic effect of the head extending to both the top and the bottom of the page. I then painted pale washes of colours over the pages, pinks yellows, burnt sienna, and turquoise. When the paper dried, I began to work on creating the texture of the shiny beak and the glassy eye using wet paint on dry, then adding more washes of darker-toned colours for the feathers, painted in the direction that the feathers grow. I then used Uni Posca felt tip pens to sharpen and darken details, such as bringing out the shine on the hard beak, the texture of the feathers and highlighting the reflection in the eye. I also like to spatter the pages with colour, which adds a bit of magic. Lastly, I drew the border in one of the colours I’ve used in the picture, taking the lines only up to the edge of the eagle; this created the illusion of bringing the head of the bird forward.

A big thank you to ArtTutor for the inspiration to create this artwork and allowing me to show you my painting.

MEDIA: Pencil, watercolor, ink
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – White – 270 gsm – Smooth Finish


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wild Wave

Felicity Flutter is an English graphic designer and landscape artist, whose artwork is inspired by the Kent and Sussex countryside near her home. Felicity recently created an exciting seascape that she posted here. We asked her for a report about her unusual technique in which she combines pencil drawing with watercolor painting.

“A painting can be similar to a signature, I am told that my watercolour work is very recognizable. However I am eager to experiment with new subject matter, techniques and materials. I have recently begun combining my love of drawing with watercolours. This meant that I needed to search for a paper which would suit both wet and dry mediums. I contacted Stillman & Birn and tested out the free samples of different papers they had sent me.

I found the Beta Series paper (extra heavyweight, white, cold press) was just what I had been looking for. I like to keep a rhythm while I am painting, continually readjusting colours and tones as I work. This paper is robust enough for me to both apply my pencil mark-making and to build up layers of watercolour and washes until I have achieved the balance I am trying to attain in my paintings.

My process for producing ‘Wild Wave’ began with a reference photo I took at Winchelsea Beach on a blustery October day. I brightened the reference photo on my computer and looked at close ups to study the forms and colours more closely; I then interpreted this into what would work as a painting.

I began the creating the painting with a loose drawing to indicate areas of light and dark. This was followed by wet washes of watercolour over the entire paper. The next stage was to draw the details in, once the paint was dry, with a shading technique using a range of Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils H/B/2B/4B and 6B. I then continued to apply layers of Winsor & Newton Artists’ Watercolours until I had built up the range of tones and colours which I felt worked best. I could not erase any of my pencil marks or this would have removed some of the watercolour paint so I needed to get it right first time.

I had left some areas of white paper but the final stage involved adding the splashes of white foam. To achieve a random effect, I masked off some of the painting with scraps of paper before ‘flicking’ opaque white to get the finest blobs of spray.”

Online sources to see more of Felicity Flutter’s artwork: and

MEDIA: Pencil and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish