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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Peterskirche (St. Peter’s Church)

Artist: Wolfgang Krisai, Austria
Artist Statement: This is a drawing of Vienna’s Peterskirsche, a church built in the Baroque style in the 18th century. It is situated in The Graben, one of the most famous streets in Vienna’s First District, the city center. The church was built in a very compact form, revealing a much larger interior space then would appear possible from its facade. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Vienna.

Urban sketching is the most important branch of my art. I draw sketches of buildings, landscapes or people in Austria, where I live, as well as abroad on my travels. For me it is a way of more intensely absorbing the beauties of a town or a country than I could by taking photographs. When I walk through a town I always see compositions for drawings, and whenever I have time I make it become real.

Currently I use a Sillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook. Sometimes I draw the outlines with pencil to fix the proportions, then I draw the linear part with Faber Castell PITT Artist pen F black, erase the pencil an do the coloring with Caran d’Ache Pablo colored pencils. A colored drawing of 1 page takes me about half an hour, depending on the complexity of the subject.

I use color pencils to save time, as there is no messing about with brushes, watercolors and water. As I only take with me about 20 different colors (my own, not the standard choice) it is a nice challenge to mix the colors to get the shade I need.

MEDIA: Pencil, Ink, Colored Pencil
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Peterskirche

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

24-Color “Full Spectrum” Paint Box

Canadian watercolorist and Urban Sketcher Marc Taro Holmes shares his “full spectrum” watercolor palette and explains why he upgraded to a larger size paint box. [This is ] “…a quick shot of my ‘large’ paint box. Not really that large – only 5×8″ when open. But twice as many colors as my previous 3×5″ bijoux box. And much more mixing area with that flip out panel below. I like to pack small, but upsizing was worth it for the mixing area alone. The smaller bijoux carries 14 colors, so that’s not the problem – it’s having only the small lid in which to mix that is limiting.” http://bit.ly/1GXN03C

Full Spectrum Palette

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Jail Bird

Artist: Carol Lowne, United States
Artist Statement: I sketched and painted the “Jail Bird” chicken from a reference photo; it seemed fitting as I was snowbound and confined at the time to a hotel room in Pennsylvania. I love the simplicity of certain animal shapes (like the chicken here) and the brilliant color of this rooster’s comb and wattle. It seemed most appropriate for this image to draw the head with a few light pen and ink lines with a Faber-Castell Pitt pen (S) and actually draw the negative space around the bird. I kept details to a minimum, only hinting at feathers for example. The expression on this bird’s face was perfect to leave him ‘behind the bars’ of chicken wire. Also, I often write short notes to myself on the sketchbook pages to remind myself of the circumstance that prompted the drawing.

Vignette formats are a favorite of mine and I enjoy fading the edges of my sketches out, leaving them unframed — which is what I did here because the bird’s expression was my focal point and the viewer’s imagination can fill in the rest of the scene. My travel watercolor palette currently has QoR watercolors in it and I limit myself to just 12 colors plus a white gouache for occasional tinting (not used in this sketch).

As a recent student enrollee in SketchBook Skool, I have returned to sketching after a hiatus of 8 years. SketchBook Skool gave me the permission I needed to not be my own self-destructive critic, and the encouragement I needed to draw something every day….which is exactly what I have done since last July. The circulation of my sketches is quite limited at the moment but I regularly post to the SketchBook Skool Community and to my friends on social media.

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

Jail Bird

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Artist: Patrick Ng, Singapore
Artist Statement: I sketched this drawing on location on the corner of Swanston & Flinders St. in the gorgeous city of Melbourne when we visited in December. I usually sketch direct with my Hero fountain pen (with fude nib), loaded with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink. So I stood there under the sun for an hour doing just the line work and details.

I usually tackle the skies first, before adding color to the main subject (the station) and the surroundings (like the trees and wires).I didn’t have time to finish adding colors on location; it was done a couple days later from memory (mostly of the lighting), although I did take a photo of the location for reference. I used Daniel Smith watercolors. I had wanted to do a drawing of this Australian landmark for a long time and I was glad that I finally got the chance. The next time I visit I’d love to do a full size painting of the station.

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

Flinder St Station

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Rebirth of the Rialto

Brenda Swenson [ Brenda Swenson Watercolors ] posted this beautiful two-page spread of the historic and shuttered Rialto Theater in South Pasadena. The L.A. Times reports that “a prominent L.A. redeveloper of older buildings purchased the theater last month and hopes to turn it into an entertainment venue that could include a bar and screenings of old movies. The 1,200-seat theater, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the last single-screen movie theaters in Southern California.

The building was closed to the public in 2010 after a piece of the facade broke off and crashed onto the sidewalk. Built in 1925, the Rialto’s architecture is an odd mashup of Spanish Baroque and Egyptian kitsch. The interior features several original murals and a drinking fountain made of Batchelder tile, a mark of California Arts and Crafts design.” http://lat.ms/1xP5sYk

MEDIA: Watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Rialto Theater Pasadena

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Portrait of Daisy Pearl

Artist: Riko Colin Chock, United States
Artist Statement: This quick sketch is another try at understanding the properties of gouache and a little bit of facial anatomy. I used as a reference a photo from the fantastic iPhone app Sktchy.

What struck me about the particular reference photo were the beautiful colors of the subject’s hair and the nearly identical colors of her sunglasses and jacket. I used a Russett Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle pencil to create a light wash to roughly block in the shapes and then started painting with Schmincke Horadam gouache in Stillman & Birn’s wonderfully robust Beta Series sketchbook. I post my artwork on my Flickr photostream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rikocolin/sets/

MEDIA: Water-soluble colored pencil and gouache
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Portrait of Daisy Pearl

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Iced Latte in Bangkok

Artist: Suppachai Vong (lllouis), Thailand
Artist Statement: I am a Thai artist, living in Bangkok. On Sunday afternoon I went to Siam Square, the heart of Bangkok’s shopping and entertainment district. I stopped at Lamune, the upscale stationery store, where I bought a Beta Series sketchbook. Then I went to the nearby Starbucks, got an iced latte and decided to draw the interior of the coffee shop while sipping my drink.

I started off with a loose pencil sketch. After that, I inked the sketch using a graphic liner, after which I added Winsor & Newton watercolors. I used a wash and glaze technique. I established the basic structure of my composition with the first washes and then refined the coloration with light layers of additional pigment. I spent around one hour on this artwork.

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

Starbucks Bangkok

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Callidoodle

Artist: Leigh Reyes, Philippines
Artist Statement: My drawings have words and my words have drawings. I “callidoodle” – many of my drawings, incorporate calligraphic strokes, for directional texture. My preferred pens are fountain pens with flexible nibs.

For this drawing, I appropriated this pose from a picture of me many years back, but it’s really all about her hair swirling with her thoughts. The ink is primarily Pilot Blue Black, with areas in Diamine Registrar’s ink. The washes came from the remnants of muddy browns and grays in my watercolor box. Zeta Series sketchbooks can handle mixed techniques and media with grace. They’re my new favorite.

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

Leigh Reyes

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Summer Breezes

Artist: Faustine Vaughn
Artist’s Statement: I am still a beginner in the process of finding my preferred art medium, so have been playing with inks, watercolors, markers, you name it. I love that my 7×7 Zeta Series sketchbook has taken most everything I’ve thrown at it well. Whatever media I use, I love the bright happy colors, and the whiteness of Zeta’s paper really makes them pop. This weekend, while it was cold and snowy outside, I finally had the chance to play with these Tombow (Dual Brush) markers, and these warm sunny colors just had to come out and play. This particular drawing – with the green palm fronds on yellow background – reminds me a lot of a past vacation to Miami – summer breezes, green trees and bright, bright sunshine. I sketched a basic outline with a Micron pen, then colored the areas in with the brush tip of the markers, and then outlined them with the fine tip of a black marker.

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

Summer Breezes

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

David Lynch: Graffiti Expresses Contempt for Community

From this Guardian article: “It takes someone as unshakably avant garde in his credentials as David Lynch to state the obvious: that scrawled and spray-painted inchoate messages on every corner of every city do not actually enrich our world. It is boring and expresses a generalised contempt for community. It is treated with absurd reverence by people who should know better.” We couldn’t agree more. http://bit.ly/1BtqPvn

Grafitti

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Storm Troopers

Artist: Allison Sohn
Artist Statement: People draw a lot of Star Wars imagery; as an authorized Lucasfilm artist, I’ve done my share. I think the way to make your art memorable, especially when drawing something like Storm Troopers, which can be so very same-y, is to do it in a way that makes your work stand out from the rest. Show people something they may not have seen before. I tried to do this using a unique lighting scenario, and if the paper couldn’t take how much ink I was laying into it, I would have failed.

When I work in marker on the Alpha Series paper, I’m prepared for the paper to be a bit thirsty – I may go through a little more ink, but I know I’ll also get wonderful blending ability. The markers I use are refillable, so I don’t worry about them going dry. I start by drawing my image [in pencil], and then laying down an area of flat color large enough to work detail into, but not so large that it will fully dry before I can go back into it with other colors. Then I blend those other colors in, going over it again and again with different color markers until I get the desired results.

The Stillman & Birn papers really take this sort of work so well. They don’t ripple with the excess ink; they don’t pill up from my constantly going over it and over it again. With the Alpha paper, there is surprisingly little bleed through, considering how much ink I lay into an image. I think it’s just ideal for the sort of watercolor effect I like to go for with my markers.

MEDIA: Pencil and markers
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Ed. Note: You can see more of Allison Sohn’s artwork on her Deviant Art photostream here: http://allisonsohn.deviantart.com/

Allison was kind enough to also share four fascinating work-in-progress shots of this piece. These illustrate the layering process from the pencil underdrawing to the finished work. These are posted here below the finished work.

Storm Troopers

Storm Troopers – Final Artwork

 

Storm Troopers Layer 2

Storm Troopers Layer 2

Storm Troopers Layer 4

Storm Troopers Layer 4

Storm Troopers Layer 7

Storm Troopers Layer 7

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Freehand Sketching

Larry Marshall has written a great review about a book that will be of interest to most artists.  http://www.larrydmarshall.com/book-review-freehand-sketching-an-introduction/

FreehandSketching

 

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Channeling Dürer

Artist: Anya Toomre
Artist Statement: I am enrolled in the online Sketchbook Skool and was presented with the creative challenge of stealing an admired artist’s work. I chose Albrecht Dürer because the animals he has drawn have always fascinated me. I knew about his Hare and Walrus, but only recently came across his Rhinoceros. Given some of the inaccuracies, like the horn on the base of the neck, and scales on the legs and feet, I wonder on what he based his drawing. Dürer’s Rhino is a intriguing drawing; it seems whimsical to me, although likely not his intent, and has wonderful line work. I tried to copy his version as closely as I could.

I sketched the basic body and bigger shapes of the Rhino in pencil onto my Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook. The subject looks complicated but as I started inking it with my current favorite pen, a Copic multi liner 0.3 mm, the design came together smoothly. I tried to break each section and area down, as Dürer had drawn his. Once I got down the main elements, filling in the rest of the shape became more meditative and relaxing. That was a good thing since it took a long time to actually complete. I enjoyed playing with the date and initials on the original to reflect what I’d drawn but also to honor Dürer’s label as well. His Rhinoceros was from 1515, five hundred years ago, so I only needed to change two numbers. His signature was usually the initials ‘AD’. Mine are ‘AT’. It wasn’t a major design shift to change a ‘D’ into a ‘T’. Those were small things but were fun to also incorporate into the picture.

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

Anya Toomre Durer rhino 2015 300 dpi WM

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Monday, March 9, 2015

March Giveaway Winners Announced

StillmanMarchGiveaway_2015_Winners (3)

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Winter Cardinals

Artist: Amy Norkitis
Artist statement: I have been consistently drawing and painting in sketchbooks for about six years. I rarely do any artwork outside of a sketchbook. I love that my artwork is contained in one place and is so portable. If I’m drawing on location, I just grab my bag and toss in my sketchbook, some pens, and my travel watercolor kit and I’m ready to go!

However, it’s been cold and I’ve been staying inside more, so I did this painting sitting at my kitchen table looking out of the window at my neighbor’s new bird feeder – the cardinals are loving whatever seed is in there! There were so many of them, and they looked so beautiful and bright against the snow and greenery that I felt inspired to try to capture the moment in my sketchbook.

I started with a light wash of watercolor; no pens or pencils first because I wanted the painting to stay loose. I added about three more fairly light glazes of watercolor, letting each layer dry before putting down the next. I’ll admit, when I finished with the watercolors I wasn’t too happy with it, but I very rarely give up on a sketch. I decided at this point to add a quick outline with a black (Micron) pen. I liked it a bit more, but something still seemed to be missing. I then added a loose pattern of snow with a white (Gellyroll) pen, and that seemed to pull it all together for me!

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

Winter Cardinals

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Sargent Returns to the Prado

Velásquez’ painting “Las Meninas” famously inspired a major tribute by Picasso. But John Singer Sargent was among the many other artists also greatly influenced by the Velásquez and he copied it when he visited Madrid’s Prado Museum in his youth. Later, Sargent used the inspiration of “Las Meninas” to create his society portrait “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit”. Now Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has loaned the Sargent to the Prado and this is the first time the two great paintings will be exhibited side by side. http://bit.ly/18ncSbr via Zech Ray

Sargent returns to the Prado

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Field Trip to Molbak’s

Artist: Charlene Collins Freeman
Artist Statement: I am a sketcher, watercolorist and art instructor. I am drawn to objects and scenes which, through their ordinary and familiar qualities, take on a sense of beauty. Something catches my eye, something common, and in the process of sketching it, it strikes me as extraordinary. There is great beauty in the everyday quiet moments that surround us.

I have been painting and sketching for most of my life. About ten years ago I started thinking about leaving the corporate world and becoming a full-time artist. The more I day dreamed about it, the more the idea took hold. Within a few years I found myself quitting my day job and jumping in to painting, sketching and teaching art. Best. Gig. Ever.

One of my preferred avenues for opening students up to creativity is sketchbooking. Developing a habit of visually documenting one’s life can be an extremely rewarding, life-long habit. I believe that through art and play adults and children alike are able to understand their world and to establish connections to different areas in their life. Through art we are better able to understand and fall in love with the world around us.

This sketch was done on site during a sketchbook field trip with my students to Molbak’s, a local beautiful home and garden shop in Woodinville, Washington. [Charlene’s website: www.charlenecollinsfreeman]

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

Molbak's

 

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Monday, March 2, 2015

March Giveaway

We’re giving away ten Stillman & Birn sketchbooks bundled with a 25-piece graphite collection, the Pitt Monochrome Studio Set from Faber-Castell®. The deluxe graphite set contains both traditional as well as woodless pencils plus water-soluble graphite. The sketchbook is a 9” x 6” hardbound, a choice of either a Alpha Series (white) or Gamma Series (ivory).

———————–

TO ENTER:
Simply email us with your name to: contest@stillmanandbirn.com. We will automatically enter you. You will receive an email reply confirming your entry within 48 hours. Entry to this contest closes March 8, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.

NOTIFICATION:
Winners will be picked at random on March 9, 2015 and will be announced on our blog and social media sites that day.

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

———————–

ABOUT FABER CASTELL® PITT MONOCHROME STUDIO SET:
Contains 25 assorted pieces including CASTELL® 9000 pencils, CASTELL® 9000 Jumbo pencils, PITT Graphite Pure woodless pencils, Graphite Aquarelles (water-soluble graphite) plus accessories.
Castell 9000®: Superior leads made of finely ground graphite and clay.
CASTELL® 9000 Jumbo: Oversized, professional quality 5.3mm lead with extra break-resistant graphite tips.
PITT Graphite Pure: Solid graphite, lacquer coated for use like a pencil. Can be sharpened like a conventional wood-cased pencil. Suitable for expressive shading of large areas.
Graphite Aquarelles: Graphite aquarelle watercolor pencils feature a water-soluble graphite core that dissolves completely with a wet brush, leaving behind a soft coat of graphite that dries to waterproof finish. Use them to shade, add depth or create your own unique graphite paintings.

ABOUT STILLMAN & BIRN ALPHA SERIES & GAMMA SERIES:
Stillman & Birn Alpha and Gamma Series contain heavyweight mixed media papers which will support a wide variety of both dry media and repeated washes with 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.
• Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Surface
• Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Surface

StillmanMarchGiveaway_2015 rev

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Santorini

Artist: Nat Nattapan, Thailand
Artist Statement: The beautiful Greek island of Santorini is my most favorite place. I created this drawing with a Lamy fountain pen loaded with carbon black ink and then added Winsor & Newton watercolor. It took me one hour do to do the sketch and then another hour to do add the watercolor.

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

santorini

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stillman & Birn at Art Materials Expo – Duluth, Ga.

We’ll be exhibiting at three-day Art Material Expo this weekend at the Gwinnett Center outside of Atlanta. Great deals on Stillman & Birn and most other art material brands too.

Gwinnett Center – 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway – Duluth, GA 30097

Friday, February 20 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 21 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday, February 22 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

At Art Material Expo:
•Special prices on the products artists reach for everyday!
•Product demonstrations on new materials and techniques!
•Special Presentations from internationally known artists!
•Classes for children through the advanced artist!
•Presentations from local community art organizations!

 

Final-AME-logo

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