Saturday, November 28, 2020

Midnight in Donosita

ARTIST: Aaron Kelly, United States
ARTIST STATEMENT: I’m often attracted to spaces and views that I feel are overlooked. Spaces devoid of people or on the backside of a frequently used place. This painting is of the view from my hotel room in Donostia in 2019. (San Sebastián or Donostia is a coastal city and municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. It lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay_Ed.).

The streets below were quiet, with the only sound being the occasional taxi tires on the rain-slick road. I wanted to capture this urban midnight stillness.

While I occasionally paint plein air, I prefer to take photos and use them later as reference. Liberties were taken with this painting, and I don’t like to be obsessive with mimicking every detail of reality.

This piece was sketched with a cheap ballpoint pen (which I probably got from the hotel). The colors were laid in with watercolors, and some of the deeper tones are done with Dr. Ph Martin’s liquid watercolors.
Finally, the headlights and street lights were painted in gouache.

MEDIA: Ink, watercolor, gouache
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Aaron Kelly lives with his wife Raquel, dog Sage, and cat Kitton, in Los Angeles. Starting at an early age with finger painting, Aaron has nurtured a love for drawing and painting. He is particularly fond of pen and watercolor, which he uses as an outlet for his creative whims and explorations. Aaron works as an Art Director and Set Designer in the film industry.
Instagram: @saxton_art

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Morning on Ivanovskaya Gorka

ARTIST: Alex Gimein, Russia

ARTIST STATEMENT: This picture was drawn on the Ivanovskaya Gorka – my favorite place in Moscow. It’s one of the oldest parts of the city, located on one of the seven Moscow hills, with a lot of alleys, beautiful buildings and churches. I draw here all the time, this view is one of my favorites.

All of the line work was made on location with a pen and ink, and painted later in the studio with acrylic markers and colored pencils.

MEDIA: Fountain pen, permanent ink, acrylic markers, colored pencils
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Alex Gimein is an amateur artist and urban sketcher from Moscow, Russia. His favorite theme is the streets of old Moscow. He is inspired by the urban environment with all its attributes – courtyards, alleys, brick walls, drainpipes, air ducts. His favorite techniques are pen & ink and mixed media. He participated in several exhibitions, gives workshops on urban sketching

Instagram: @omally13art
Facebook: See Less

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Rainy Day Sketches

ARTIST: Alex Cfourpo, Sweden

ARTIST STATEMENT: I like to explore in the local forests on my bicycle and I often take pictures of places that stand out to me. But somehow a picture never really captures the right atmosphere or memory. So I started drawing them instead. Mostly on the rainy days when I don’t go out with the bicycle. I use mechanical pencil for the sketch and different fountain pens and technical drawing pens for the linework.

MEDIA: Graphite, Ink

SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Alex Cfourpo works as a tattoo artist and illustrator in Stockholm, Sweden. Their work consists mostly of pen and ink line drawings with a focus on organic, ornamental and nature motives. Always with lots of details, elements of fantasy and high precision. Instagram: @alexdrawdraw and @alexcfourpotattoo Facebook: Alex Cfourpo Tattoos Website:

Saturday, November 7, 2020

One of the Most Famous Rooms in Art Hstory: Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom”

via The Van Gogh Blog – via @theartnewspaper

It was autumn when Van Gogh first slept in the Yellow House and painted what must be the most famous bedroom in art history. The picture is a still life, although one on an enormous scale. What does it tell us about Vincent’s life on the eve of Gauguin’s arrival?

Van Gogh began renting the Yellow House in Arles in May 1888, but it was unfurnished and initially he kept his hotel room and just used the new place as a studio. In August he bought two beds, one for himself and the other for a guest, a fellow artist. He first slept in his own bed there in mid-September. “I can live and breathe, and think and paint”, he wrote with delight to his sister Wil.

It was in this room that Van Gogh composed some of his finest pictures. From Arles he wrote that “the most beautiful paintings are those one dreams of while smoking a pipe in one’s bed”. No doubt this was where he conceived the idea for “The Bedroom” (“La Chambre à Coucher”) (1888).

On 16 October Vincent started work on the iconic picture, in order to give his brother Theo an idea of his new home. He advised Theo that “looking at the painting should rest the mind, or rather, the imagination”. For us, today, it gives a glimpse into his domestic life.

Although the bed looks narrow, Van Gogh described it as a “wide double bed” and it has two pillows beside the scarlet blanket. Was he hoping that he might find a woman to share it with? The two chairs prefigure a bold painting of his own “empty chair” which he would make a few weeks later (now at the National Gallery, London).

On the far wall his clothes hang on a row of hooks, along with the straw hat that protected him while working under the strong Provençal sun. On the washstand is a miniature still life—with a water flask and glass, jug and basin, soap, and three bottles (he also presumably kept his razor there). Above this hangs a mirror that he had just bought, presumably used both for grooming and capturing self-portraits.

The perspective almost seems to make the bedroom sway, as in a dream—but this is partly because of the room’s unusual trapezoid shape. The house had a diagonal frontage, where it where it faced a public garden, slicing off the room at an angle near the washstand. The bed seems to loom up at us, with the bedend appearing even higher than the bedhead.

Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo that the walls were “pale violet” in the painting. But his pigments have deteriorated: the cochineal red in the blended violet has faded, now leaving the walls a bluish tone. Specialists at the Van Gogh Museum have created a digital recolourised image of what the original painting might have looked like.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Gamma Series

The Stillman & Birn Gamma Series features medium grain heavyweight paper, at 150 GSM, and comes in a lovely warm Ivory tone. The Gamma Series has the exact same paper qualities and strengths of our Alpha Series, with the added benefits of a warm backdrop to suit your sketching and illustration needs. When using transparent media like watercolors, the Ivory paper will give your washes an extra note of warmth, perfect for portraits, studies, and urban sketches done where the light is bright and the sketching is plentiful. Available in various sizes, bindings, and 22×30 inch sheets, the Gamma Series is the perfect sketchbook to keep with you in these Autumn months.

Visit our Gamma Series gallery at: to view previously featured artwork done on Gamma Series paper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Magic River

ARTIST: David A Parfitt, United Kingdom

ARTIST STATEMENT: My watercolour paintings and monoprints are informed by being in the landscape. I make many drawings and sketchbook studies/experiments but it doesn’t mean that everything is used to develop a finished studio painting. This drawing probably won’t either. It was started during a woodland walk with our grandchildren and somewhere I used to walk with my grandfather when I was a child. The girls made up stories about ‘wood elves and the magic river’ while we walked so in my eyes this spot will always be known as the ‘Magic River’. I initially made a few pencil marks at the time and then finished the drawing with brush pens and ink at home.

I use watercolour in my finished work but recently to experiment more with tone, my sketches have been done with mechanical pencils, ink and brush pens. I use a green Sailor Fude de Mannen fountain pen and various Pentel colour brush pens which I have refilled with grey and black Diamine fountain pen ink.

MEDIA: Graphite and ink
SURFACE: Beta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: David A Parfitt is a watercolour painter and printmaker from Somerset, UK. He is an elected member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI). His work is based around the landscape of places which are close to him, both physically and spiritually and he tries to evoke a sense of place without the finished painting looking too contrived or deliberate.
Instagram: david_a_parfitt_ri
Twitter: @davidparfittRI
Facebook: David A Parfitt

Monday, October 19, 2020



ARTIST: Klavdiya Krinichnaya, Kazakhstan

ARTIST STATEMENT: For me, painting is like translating from one unfamiliar language to another (especially if you do it occasionally). What’s why I often use postcard format to avoid extra details. This was quick oil pastel study, made in one layer. Beige papers with delicate textures allows me to start working immediately, without toning or underpainting. I’ve used only a silicone tool to smooth out the strokes. The photo of this sunset was taken on a cold quarantine evening, when I walked empty streets. I had not reached the edge of town that time, but I could imagine the sun going down over the forest.

MEDIA: Oil pastel
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige – Medium Grain Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Klavdiya Krinichnaya grew up and started drawing in Crimea. Now she lives in Kazakhstan and paints local steppes, woods and skies. In her works she tries to find balance between realism and minimalism.

Instagram: @klaavdija

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Spy Cider: A Study in Light

ARTIST: Inna Gertsberg, Canada

ARTIST STATEMENT: I love grey toned paper for drawing/painting light. It captures the highlights magically. The chilled sweaty can and a glass jar were perfect models. I started with a quick graphite sketch and then followed up with watercolour dual brush pens to create the space and the shapes. The highlights are various kinds of white markers – from acrylic to white chalk.

MEDIA: Graphite, watercolor, acrylic, white chalk

SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Gray – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Inna Gertsberg was born and raised in the former Soviet Union, where she studied drawing and painting from age eight. She has worked as an advertising art director for most of her life, until recently returning to her first love – drawing. Inna’s ongoing project Draw Me a Monster, in which she creates monsters based on people’s requests, has attracted audiences from all over the world. For her work, Inna uses a range of media – from traditional pen and ink/watercolour, to digital illustration. She still does some commercial art direction and illustration to support her art supply addiction. Inna’s work can be seen at Instagram: @drawmeamonster FB:

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Marvelous Collection of Alvin Guilbert

ARTIST: Manelle Oliphant, USA

ARTIST STATEMENT: I started this project for MerMay 2020. (MerMay is a monthlong celebration about artwork about mermaids). It’s a story about letting go and having faith and there are mermaids in it. This is the book cover and I used ink and watercolor to create it.

MEDIA: Ink, Watercolors

SURFACE: Beta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Manelle’s love of stories began with the books and movies she enjoyed as a child. It was a happy day when her mom finally let her get her own library card. She spent much of her time checking out books of beautifully illustrated fairy tales.

Since then, she has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration from BYU-Idaho and has illustrated many children’s books. You can read her stories, artwork, and follow current projects on and on Instagram and Facebook @talesfantastic

Manelle lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and two cats.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Dream Koi

ARTIST: Dee Maurice, Canada

ARTIST STATEMENT: For this particular piece, I was experimenting with distress oxide inks; a combination of the sprays as well as the ink pads. I laid down a background with the distress inks, using stencils and sponges. Then I put a coat of matte medium over top of the inks to prevent them from reactivating from more wet media. I then used acrylics, wax pastels, paint markers and other various media to add the koi and other details. I love using my sketchbook as a way of experimenting with new media and techniques, it’s amazing to see what turns out when you’re just playing around!

MEDIA: Distress oxide inks, distress oxide spray, ink pads, matte medium, acrylic, water soluble wax pastels, paint markers.
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Gray – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I am a self taught artist from western Canada. I enjoy the challenge of trying to marry my two favourite subjects: bold abstract patterns and animal portraits. I’m always working on an animal piece of some type, either pet portraits or a more spiritual dive into an animal I connect with. My sketchbook time is incredibly sacred and cathartic, I deeply enjoy losing myself in my sketchbook where I feel I am free to express the truest form of my art without fear.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Fluorescent Florals

ARTIST: Janice C. Lee, Canada

ARTIST STATEMENT: It has been a dry, hot summer, but on this particular day it was raining. I chose an unconventional palette of black, fluorescent rose, and bright blue for a floral study. It was a therapeutic exercise. I gave 100% focus to the paint flowing from brush to paper. Competing colors vied for attention. Pigments settled down into place as water quietly vanished from my brushstrokes. Art was just what I needed to combat the fatigue and weariness of being a medical trainee during a pandemic. I had once put a prolonged hiatus on creating art to pursue a career in medicine. It took a pandemic to rekindle my passion for drawing and painting. Now, it is my place of reprieve and self-reflection.

MEDIA: Watercolor and white gel pen.

SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Janice Lee is currently a resident physician training to be a specialist in geriatric medicine. She has a growing love for florals and urban sketching. Her favorite mediums are watercolor and ink. You can follow her artistic journey on Instagram

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Chai in July

Artist: Shivani Jadon, Mumbai, India

ARTIST STATEMENT: Mumbai is known for its rains in the month of July. This year due to the lockdown, I had a chance to enjoy the rains at home with my favourite beverage, ‘chai’. With some inspiration from the net, I decided to paint this Gouache illustration. The colour palette used is primarily to depict an evening set up.

MEDIA: Gouache

SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: The process of painting is a therapy session for me. I have been pursuing painting since childhood. As an avid traveller, I like visiting places which have unique landscapes and different cultures. Currently, I am working on a project depicting 100 days of India where I am recreating 100 paintings from 100 different places I have been to in India. My Instagram page (@shivanimakes) is a journey of patience, improvement and self-love.



Sunday, August 30, 2020

Puppy Portrait

ARTIST: London Vale, USA

ARTIST STATEMENT: I absolutely love photorealism. I find inspiration in exploring all the raw details and flaws I can possibly capture in both acting and creating visual art. The specificity of details are fascinating to me, and I hope to share as much life as I can in both forms of my work.For this piece, I loved the highlights and wanted to make them the star — the reflections in the puppy’s eyes, light catching on his wavy fur, and the texture of his damp little nose all came together to make him look so sweet and cuddly. Stillman & Birn’s beige toned paper provided a perfect mid tone for his fur, which helped me build rich depth in the shadows and make those special features pop when I added them at the end with white gouache.

MEDIA: Watercolor & Gouache

SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: London Vale is an actress and award-winning painter who creates art in her Los Angeles studio, employing oil paint, watercolor, colored pencils & illustration markers in her work, as well as printing stationery by hand on a traditional printing press from the 1800s. Recently her artwork has gotten some of its own screen time in the Bryan Cranston produced Amazon series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. She is a member of the California Arts Club.Instagram, Facebook & Twitter: @LondonValeInkWebsite:

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Apple Study on Black Surface

ARTIST: Ankit Jasmatiya, India

ARTIST STATEMENT: This is the reverse process artwork in which we need to go from dark to light. The surface is black and I can directly start using white charcoal pencil and finding light values. A process of this kind allows you to have a better understanding about light and shade.

I usually work on graphite, charcoal and soft pastels. I used various draftsmanship techniques for this study for achieving negative drawing, lighting effects, blocking method, subtraction method etc.

MEDIA: White charcoal pencil, compressed charcoal and other charcoal pencil, watercolor brush for dry blending.
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Black – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I am Ankit Jasmatiya, an artist based in Noida, India and passionate about pencils and mostly dry media as it gives me the freedom to work anywhere and anytime. Most of my artworks are based on portraits and my objective is to create the artistic expression of the face. I want to spread awareness towards art all over the world. To achieve this, I am uploading art tutorials on my YouTube channel where I have more than 280,000 subscribers, so that everyone can learn art.

Social media handles:
Youtube URL:
Instagram page:

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Epsilon Series

Heavyweight: 150 gsm
Shade: White
Surface: Smooth
Media: Pen & Ink, dry media, light wash

Saturday, August 8, 2020

James Bowing

ARTIST: Dominique Eichi, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: The process of this piece was to explore and discover what watercolor can do once you let go most of the control of it and add a drawing of an image with details using an 005 ink pen. Thus, creating two opposites. This brings a duality that becomes attractive.

I painted on a page in my sketchbook with a paint brush dipped in water first, then added watercolor to match as best as possible the image I wanted to create of the raven. This part was where I purposefully lost control. Because once you add water to your paper the watercolor goes in different directions that become unexpected and surprising. Once it dried I added the drawing of the raven with a black 005 ink pen and finished it with some details with a white fine marker pen.

I like to use a Stillman and Birn sketchbook Beta series for its capacity to take quite a bit of water and since I like a smooth surface for my ink pen details this works really well for both kind of mediums. Also, these sketchbooks lay flat when opened and I enjoy that detail when using two pages spread for one art piece.

MEDIA: Ink, watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I grew up in Manhattan, NY as a child then studied in Geneva, Switzerland and became an interior architect. These studies gave me such a confidence of being able to do anything with my hands. I now live in San Diego, California where I have been an avid Urban Sketcher drawing on location. COVID has forced me to focus more on creating at home and experimenting but also brought some fresh waves of creativity. This piece “James Bowing” was part of a challenge (for me) of laying down watercolor before drawing the image. I’m glad to experiment with various constraints sometimes because it gives me an opportunity to be challenged and grow. You can find more of my work on my Instagram @dominiqueeichi and Facebook @ Dominique Eichi.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Left Overgrown

ARTIST: Katrina Pomerance, Netherlands

ARTIST STATEMENT: After living my whole life outside the city, where just a step away there’s nothing but fields and forests, then finding myself moving to the Netherlands, to live in the city centre, I’ve craved the healing power of nature more than ever.

Sketchbooks are places where I can visit forests, fields, mountains at any time, to find peace and to quiet my mind. This gouache painting captured a moment when I revisited my home country.

Two years had passed since the last time I was there, when flower beds were just freshly planted. At first, I was overwhelmed, how much they have grown, how full of Midsummer green and blooms. It was almost impossible to recognize the original flower bed layout.

Plants had made their way, without me being there. I wanted to keep this moment, the lushness and the peak of the growing season, as well as the freewill of nature. So even when I’m not there physically, I can still feel the momentum, when you can almost see the power of nature bursting out of every leaf and stem.

MEDIA: Gouache
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Katrina Pomerance is an independent Latvian artist currently based in the Netherlands, Eindhoven. After studying in the Fine Arts program, she has achieved Illustrator diploma and primary works with traditional mediums, such as gouache, oil paints and acrylics. Being raised in a rural area, the love and appreciation for nature, weaves throughout all of her artworks. Katrina’s work encourages its viewers to seek out nature’s pillow and rest our puzzled minds. Her work is currently visible on Instagram – @studiokathi or Facebook –

Sunday, July 26, 2020


ARTIST: Stephen Gardner, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: I started this project during COVID19 lockdown, I’m attempting to paint a portrait of everyone I know as a way of dealing with the separation we all feel. I paint one portrait each morning in a 90 minute session before I start working on other assignments.

MEDIA: Gouache and graphite
SURFACE: Beta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: English-born but living in the US since 1989, Stephen Gardner is a professional illustrator and educator. Stephen recently moved to Savannah, GA to teach full time at SCAD after spending 30 years living in New York. Stephen has illustrated over 250 book covers and have worked in the editorial and advertising markets for both American and European clients.
@gardnerstp (Instagram)

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Green Sea Turtle

ARTIST: Katy O’Neal Killingsworth, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: I have been working primarily in transparent watercolor over the last few years, but have ventured into gouache lately. The black paper has been a fun background for the opaque layers of gouache. I try to keep up with a monthly painting challenge by Denise Soden of the YouTube channel “In Liquid Color” and the month I painted this turtle the challenge was sea life. Challenges are a good way for me to get out of my normal subject of florals and landscapes.

MEDIA: Gouache
SURFACE: Nova Series – Black

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Katy O’Neal Killingsworth, an artist and art educator, lives in Arkansas with her husband, kids, dogs, and pet chickens. She likes to paint things from her backyard, such as flowers, leaves, and toads.

Instagram: @therustenhenstudio

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Self-Portrait in Quarantine

ARTIST: Jimena Lagunilla, Spain

ARTIST STATEMENT: I work with many students and colleagues and my subject of study is the human body. When the COVID-19 quarantine suddenly interrupted our everyday life, it had and still has to this day, a very big impact on my routine. I found myself in this surreal situation of not being allowed to leave the apartment, adapting in the best way possible to isolation and forceful self-reflection. The portrait is not intentionally expressing any emotions. But it is what it is: a face after spending too many hours behind the screen and after a very long quarantine day.

MEDIA: Colour pencils
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Jimena Lagunilla has been working for the last years as anatomy teacher at the School of Art ESDIP in Madrid, Spain. She studies life drawing techniques and teaches the anatomical structure of the human body.

She has studied Fine Arts in Madrid and got her MA in Illustration at the University of the Art of London.
Instagram: @la_lagunilla