Monday, 29 June 2015

A Trip to Leicestershire and My Thoughts on Paper Substrates

A couple of weeks ago hubby and I looked in our diaries and found that unusually we had a completely free week ahead of us.  So we decided to go on an adventure to explore Leicestershire.  Of course this meant packing my sketching gear.     

Birdwatching in Rutland Water

My favourite sketch from the trip.  This is a new ‘environmentally friendly’ watercolour sketchbook that I bought from Amazon.  Perhaps the results are not exactly what I look for in my finished watercolour paintings but it is adequate enough for my sketching purposes.  

First Day Sights
Graphite, pen and coloured pencil

Drawn in a non-art dedicated notebook with very thin paper that I found in a stationery shop.  It does buckle a little with watercolour but it is only a sketchbook where I record visual entries and ideas.  Perhaps sometimes it is so easy to waste resources on ‘the best’ when something much cheaper or environmentally friendly is adequate enough for the task.    

Many moons ago when I was a beginner with watercolour, I always used the best paper I could afford to learn how to gain the best results from my pigments.  Nowadays I am more relaxed about the paper I choose to use. I adjust the paper quality to suit the creative task I am tackling.  For all my finished paintings and watercolour pigment explorations I always use good quality artist grade paper and materials. 

I am not going to say which brands I prefer because I do not want to influence anyone reading this blog.  All watercolour materials are a matter of choice.  What works for me may not work for someone else and their style.  There is so much on the market and so much conflicting advice about it all.  My simple advice to anyone is to try it out for yourself with small samples over time and give it more than one chance.   We need to grow into a particular brand of paper, brush and pigment.  It is a matter of giving ourselves time to get used to each brand’s individual characteristics.  Then at that point, you can make a fairer judgement of whether that particular brand is right for you and your individual style. 

A pen and wash sketch from my ‘environmentally friendly’ sketchbook.  Drawn plein air in Foxton Village with colour added later in the hotel.  

On the left: Graphite, pen and coloured pencil sketch in my notebook.  Adequate for me to draw in for a few minutes whilst having lunch at Foxton Locks.  Colour was added later to explore more fully a dull, cloudy day and shadow tones.       

On the right:  A pen and wash of Market Harborough’s church in my notebook.  Painted from a photo I took on site. I collect sketches of architecture and scenes that interest me.  These are not scenes that I will eventually produce as finished paintings.  They are just fun daily exercises done to keep the skill and inspiration flowing.  



  1. Your sketches are fantastic! What a fun time you had, love the page with your breakfast, but I do love ALL the pages! I know what you mean about the choosing paper for a sketchbook, it really does make a difference but defeats the purpose of why you are sketching to begin with.

  2. Dear Laura- your sketches are super. It goes to show if one has talent even something more modest in price works. When I am stymied with a painting it does get set aside but hopefully in time I will know what I want to do. So glad you shared your lovely pages friend. Looks like such a wonderful trip. Hugs

  3. I love that you were able to find moments to do quick sketches and longer sketches too. Both are important and we need to realize that not every sketch we do has to become a "masterpiece" or a finished product. One of my friends calls the quick sketches an artist's soccer drills. So many artists fail to realize that no matter how good we are we still need to practice. Looks like you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Sono veramente belli i tuoi lavori , mi piacciono tutti moltissimo , ma il secondo lavoro di Foxton Village è veramente super !


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