Experimenting with papers and water-based media:

I think I’m getting better at the digital photography thing.  As I’ve been able to alter my camera settings for the quality of light, I’m having to do less cleanup work in Photoshop.  Even the Photoshop work has become routine, at this point…I should see what more I can do with it (aside from prepping photos for the Web).

So, these two photos are my sketches of a Bok Choy Mue, with color.  I do have lineart photos of these (before the watercolor), but I’m not sure if it would be overkill to post those.

Ah, whatever.  It’ll be good for me to see the bok choy in process, as well.  This is what they looked like before I hit the paper with transparent watercolor:

Really, the point of posting these is to let you see how the paper handled with water.  It does warp appreciably with large areas of wash (like the Payne’s Grey shadows in there), but for small areas of light watercolor work, it does better than I expected.  (I’ve seen worse from papers which say they can take light washes, including another variant of paper produced by Maruman.)  And it’s fairly decent as a drawing paper, as well.

As I said in a prior post, you’ll likely want to tape these down to a flat surface before you hit them with water at all.  This is something that I didn’t think of doing until I realized that, having taken the paper out of its pad, there was nothing whatsoever to stop it from curling.  By the time I got to these with the Artists’ Tape, though (it’s low-tack and relatively easy to remove), they had already begun to warp — and to dry (to set) in a warped form.  I’ve left the borders around these images visible so that you can see what actually transpired.

I’ll have to see what happens when I tape the paper from the beginning.

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Ah — and, I almost forgot to show you what the cover of this pad looks like.  I bought it from Maido, a stationery store right across from Kinokuniya Books in Japan Center in San Francisco’s Japantown.  Because I had never used it before, I got a small size…and right now I’m thinking that next time I go back there, it will be OK to get this type of paper in a larger pad.  Here is a detail of the lower left corner:

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On looking up what “Zuan” is meaning to refer to, I see a listing on Amazon which says that “Zuan” means “Design,” and is likely the brand of this specific type of paper, while Maruman is the manufacturer.

“Postcard size” means what it says…this is a tiny pad!  Almost too small to work with, and probably easy to blow through, if you’re like me and you find out you like this paper, and you can only fit one object on each page–!!!

What I’m posting below is an example of Holbein gouache on top of Strathmore ArtAgain coal black paper.  This was also a relatively small test:  ArtAgain paper is not cheap!

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I’ve cropped things so that they don’t read as…well, weird.  Hahehehe.

The shine on this paper is also something that I’ve run across multiple times while trying to photograph it.  I’m not really sure what I can do about it, other than use an actual nice camera with a polarized lens…but I’m not that advanced, yet.  Otherwise, I’d have to get away from an angle where the light is bouncing into the camera lens, without blocking the light source itself…(sunlight, in this case).

Everything in this photo that is bright white (other than the “J. Herbin” label in the upper left, which is from a Uni-Ball Signo white gel pen, and the circle at top left, which was drawn with a toothpick used to stir up my Daler-Rowney Pro White), is Holbein Permanent White gouache.  The pink and blue marks are Alizarin Crimson and Peacock Blue gouache, mixed with the white, respectively.  The translucent whites are either Pro White ink (as with the surprised spiral), or watered-down gouache (I can’t remember which one the snake on the right side, is).

And as those of you who can read kanji know, I’m very early into learning how to write these things!  (I’ve written, “Japanese language,” “bright,” “as for I,” and “person,” here…in what makes sense, at least.)  It is much easier to write nihongo with a brush than it is to write English with a brush, though (you can see my jacked “Holbein”), likely due to Japanese language being designed to be written with a brush.  (I honestly don’t know what English language was designed to be written with…)

I think that’s all I’ve got, for now.  Work was positive — they didn’t even expect me to come in!  But it was really nice to get some of the backed-up labor out of the way, meaning tomorrow will be much easier…

I’ve just got to assemble the ingredients for my homework, tonight…

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Just trying to work out whatever’s in my mind, here:

I’m going to try to write, even though right now I’m feeling that I don’t have much to write about.  This, in turn, probably has happened because I haven’t been writing, daily.

Watercolor practice

I used some of the pre-mixed greens I had left on my palette, along with Sap Green, to “color in” (or add color to, or apply wash to) a couple of sketches I did of a Bok Choy Mue in one of my Maruman sketchpads…which I was amazed would take watercolor without warping too badly.  (It just says “Sketch Book” on the front, with no mention of branding other than the graphic design of the cover.)  You will want to tape the papers down, though, for best effect.

Although I did these last night, I didn’t take photos of them then, thinking that I would do it today.  However, I had to get up early for an appointment (woke, 7 AM) and ran out of steam at about 3:30 PM, sleeping through until dinnertime at about 7:30 PM.  So I still haven’t taken the photos…I’ll try and get one up of the Maruman sketch pad tomorrow.

I’m still kind of tired, but then:  I did take medications at about 9 PM (on time) because I have plans for tomorrow.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I neglected self-care tonight and got too sedated to be functional in 15 minutes…just a warning.

Ah! But!

I also found that my Strathmore ArtAgain paper (a deep black paper which I used in one of my older posts) is heavy enough to withstand wet media!  I haven’t yet tried to use washes on it, but it’s very apparent that I can draw and write on it with gouache and a paintbrush, and it doesn’t warp with light use of water.  This is an idea I got from Sarah Sullivan, though my approach differs from hers.

Basically, for me, using light media on dark paper allows me to paint in the light, as versus darkening something and progressively preserving the lights.  And using gouache (opaque watercolor) allows me to use Titanium White (also known as Permanent White; contrasted, I am thinking, with Lithopone) without concern of breathing in Titanium Dioxide dust.

Breathing nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide dust has raised concerns about carcinogenicity, but I wouldn’t have known that without inquiring why so many pastels now had CA Prop 65 warnings, and CL (Caution Label) signifiers on them, even without heavy metal components.  It could be overkill by Prop 65 — but it has made me more aware of how I use pastels in my own work.

In a home environment, I don’t want to get the dust in the carpet and then vacuum up the dust, because all that may do is redistribute the dust, not contain it (I’m not sure if a HEPA filter is sufficient to contain nanoparticles, which are so small that they are transparent).

This means that if I use pastels — which I kind of don’t like to do anymore, given that it isn’t even good to get the pigments on one’s skin (and certain pigments do stain the skin and likely are absorbed transdermally [if one can’t get them off or out]), and I hate having to seal my drawings (which under normal circumstances can be very toxic — even using Aqua Net as a “non-toxic” cheap alternative in volume enough to seal a pastel painting smells noxious) — I would want to do it somewhere away from air intake vents and over a hard surface, so that I can mop up the loose dust.

To be clear:  the danger of cancer from Titanium Dioxide is not a toxic one, it is a mechanical one.  Loose airborne particles of Titanium Dioxide can get into your lungs and just never leave, and over time that can cause irritation (at least) and leave you at risk of lung problems…but just read your MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets) to be sure.

It is nice to be able to manipulate pastels with one’s fingers, but it…just seems hazardous, right now.  Especially as it is very…apparent when in a classroom with a lot of kids using pastels, and wearing a dust mask, how full the air is of pastel particles when one removes that dust mask (I can literally smell the pastel dust, though a particle mask will block the smell).  I started wearing a dust mask, in turn, because I kept sneezing and smelling pastel for hours after a painting session.

If I were going to work with the broad sides of sticks of color, I might want to try the Prismacolor Art Stix — they’re colored sticks made of the pigmented cores of Prismacolor colored pencils.  I haven’t used the Art Stix yet, but I would expect them to have a different working method than pastels (even Prismacolor NuPastels — a hard pastel which is relatively nontoxic).  And, no, Prismacolor isn’t paying me, here.

For the record, I am not sure if coming into contact with colored pencil colors is hazardous or not (though I think the pigments are bound in oil or wax, and thus not hazardous…but I don’t know what happens when that stuff is hit with Gamsol [“odorless mineral spirits”], just to let you know that this is an option and that I haven’t tried it, and don’t know its hazards.  Gamsol, used primarily in oil painting, is used to liquefy — at least oil-based — colored pencils in order to get them to look like aquarelles, or watercolor pencils.  Prismacolors are wax-based, though; whether this works with oil-based pencils only, or both, I don’t know.  Also, I’m fairly certain Gamsol is toxic, but it’s supposed to be better than regular “mineral spirits”).

I do know that there is nowhere near as much dust with colored pencil as with pastel or pastel pencil.  There is some dust associated with colored pencil use (especially when applying heavy strokes), but I haven’t found it to be more than a small nuisance.

But anyway — I tested out two white inks on ArtAgain paper the other night, and found that both J.Herbin (?  I don’t know this brand; I just had a bottle of their white ink) and Daler-Rowney Process (“Pro”) White absorbed into the paper and faded.  Holbein Permanent White gouache, on the other hand, stayed on the surface of the paper and actually brightened as it dried.  Other colors can work as tints with white, but may not show up on their own against black (for instance, Alizarin Crimson).  There’s an argument for getting the 40 ml tube of Permanent White…(no, I’m not doing it yet)…

I would post my test paper, but I got into practicing brush lettering in Japanese, and it probably looks horrible compared to native calligraphy and says things I didn’t intend it to, so I…think I’ll save that.  ^_^;;

That aside, I now know why one of my books tells me to write “mu” in a way different from that in which I learned it:  it’s just too complicated to work with a brush, otherwise.

I’m getting a bit frustrated with not moving forward more quickly with the Japanese; then again, it isn’t my top priority.  Work, school, and keeping myself balanced, are.

Speaking of which, I’ve got to decide whether to do homework tomorrow, or not…

Watercolor play…doesn’t look as bad on camera as it did to me last night…amazingly…

Alright, so.  I have been working on playing around in watercolor…though I think the better examples of this happened when I took my time.  The little squares here are underneath my transparency swatches…which are basically just an index of the colors I have.  Really, the biggest pain about any of this is that the earth tones tend not to stick in the lid of my palette and instead separate as little chips that fall when I try and close it… >_<  …right.  Whoever said that design would work, anyway?

Initially, looking at this, I was thinking that, because of what I had been doing with the brush to achieve smoother gradations (pulling each color into the other with small brushstrokes), maybe I should be working in gouache, instead.  However…now that I look at it, I just see someone learning to control their medium at a very early stage.

I have gotten out the gouache:  trust me, I’ve gotten out the gouache.  😉  I haven’t done any comparisons yet between the different effects achievable with each media, though.

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Trying to play around with blending wet-into-wet

Sorry about the photo quality…I still haven’t gotten the hang of this, yet.

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Dry brush merging into drawing-like marks…?

Although in the past I could say that I really disliked (my own) dry-brush effects, when I look at it here, it actually seems to work.  (Kind of like how I don’t like to use hard charcoal or graphite sticks, but they have their uses?)  I’m pretty sure the upper pink is Permanent Rose; and the one under it is Permanent Magenta (in Winsor & Newton brand), in many other brands known as Quinacridone Violet (though W&N’s “Quinacridone Violet” is a completely different shade, leaning more blue than red).  This is what I mean by irregular labeling of paints.

The grainy green-blue above it is Viridian; actual Viridian, not “Viridian Hue.”  I did try blending this Viridian with Permanent Rose, and now suspect that the beautiful mixed tone I got (mentioned in multiple places, earlier) actually may have been Viridian Hue (W&N Cotman Phthalo Green) with Permanent Rose.  Viridian Hue (Phthalo Green) plus Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) are together in the top central square in the upper first photo of this post.  What can Phthalo Green be used for?  Try!  🙂

One thing I can say is that natural hair in a paintbrush makes a world of difference in that brush’s performance.  I first ran across this in Painting class, when I started using Sumi-e brushes with my watercolors, because they retained water and color better.  This is not a traditional use for them, so far as I can tell — but at least the regular Western transparent watercolors I’ve tried (largely Prangs and W&N colors), don’t seem to harm them.

I have at various times had three different types of Asian calligraphy brushes, though one of them (I think it was a Mao “Little Ying”) eventually died from irregular expansion of the handle.  That is, I think I left it in the water too long, and the bamboo split.  >_<;;  Because of the way it was constructed, about the only thing keeping it together at the end was probably a piece of string, and probably some glue.

The other bamboo-handled brushes I have are all Yasutomo (for some reason, it’s hard to find other brands than this in brick-and-mortar stores:  excepting Asian stationery stores), in a couple of different styles.  I have no idea what the different styles are actually intended to do, but they work for watercolor.  The ones I have all have a core of stiff hair, surrounded by a ring of soft hair.  They don’t keep their point well — you have to shape the tip prior to each stroke — but the touch is much softer and more delicate than with a synthetic.

Most recently, I picked up a little tiny #2 Robert Simmons “Sapphire” flat, which is maybe 1/8″ wide, and it’s so much easier to use than a full-on synthetic with watercolors, that it’s kind of weird.  In tiny sizes like the one I have, they’re actually affordable…

The Sapphires are a blend of red sable and synthetic fiber; but the amount of natural hair in them actually does make them handle differently when it comes to watercolors.  Laydown and color retention is smoother than what I’m used to from my completely-synthetic brushes (most of the rest of them, that is), which I’ve read have a tendency to dump their pigment load all at once.

Now that I look up this company online, I find that they are also the people who make the “Signet” hog-bristle brushes that I like for acrylics!

Hmm.  Wonder about that…

I’m not sure how natural brushes would fare with gouache.  Gouache has a tendency to get heavier, stickier, and stiffer than transparent watercolor.  I’ll give it a try with my synthetic brushes before I attempt anything with the real-hair brushes (the color-load-dropping thing may be a bigger issue with watercolors which are close to the consistency of water), though I’m thinking that maybe my heftier intended-for-acrylic brushes might be better off with those paints…

What’s going on with me lately (ooh ooh ooh yeah)

As I look back over my past 5 or so entries, I find that the relative rarity of my posting as of late has led to some rather large gaps in my records.

The good thing?  I’m relatively on track with my studies.  The negative thing?  I still have those two 2-point assignments hanging over my head, even though they’re about two weeks late, by now.  I suppose that I can take some time within the next week to clear this up.

I did also try …looking into the Disability Resource Center for my University.  However, I have found no material indicating that they offer resources for off-campus students.  From past experience, I know this isn’t true — the last time I registered with them (years ago), I did receive an OK for additional work time.  Right now, I’m wondering if it’s worth it, though — especially as I have to re-register every **** semester.

(yes, I bleeped myself)

Anyhow…

In other realms, I was able to begin coloring my mandala with gouache last night (I can’t be expected to be working at all times), but have realized that perhaps I chose the wrong media for this, or at least should have laid down an underpainting in transparent watercolor, if not overpainting with it as well.

There was no paint laid down on the paper before the gouache.  Because of the relatively dry/thick character of the gouache, and the fact that I am using cold-press (rough) watercolor paper and not Bristol board, I now have gaps of white paper showing through between different areas of color.  There is one solution for this that I know of:  more paint.  It would work if I were using acrylics.  Problem is, I’m not.

The difficulty is that gouache has a tendency to lift from the paper if too much water is applied on top of previous dried layers (or at least, this was the case when I was painting on Bristol).  This creates patches of color which…are basically blistered; when the blister lifts, it is obvious — gouache, in my experience, isn’t quite so opaque as to disguise this.  (This is not an issue with acrylics — I am thinking of Holbein Acryla gouache, right now, but am not sure what the selling point would be of a hybrid between gouache and acrylic paint.)

Right now I’m wondering whether I want to try and salvage this, or start working on something more abstract and less precise.  I’m thinking of working with transparent watercolor first, maybe some loose wet-into-wet stuff, and some layering; then gouache as a highlight medium on top.

The benefit to using the gouache, though, I’ve seen, is that it generates very clear, strong, and pure mixes of color when one is using pigments which are high enough quality and in high enough concentration (and whose overtones are somewhat harmonious).  The difficulty lies in what to do with sometimes-obvious brushstrokes (I can play this up by not overmixing my colors), how to work with a media which gives very flat and consistent color, and how to avoid overworking an area to the point of the paint lifting off of the support.

What I’ve got now with my mandala is not past any point of no return (in fact it reminds me of how I almost gave up on one of my tomatillo drawings, which later turned out very nice); maybe I should keep working on it, just in an experimental manner, to see how far I can push the medium.  When I started making free marks on top of my …rather mathematical underdrawing, I could see the potential there for something which I hadn’t intended, but which might turn out to be worth the effort.

I also did experiment with gesso on top of a different sheet of this paper (the flawed one which I cut off the block before starting my mandala).  The gesso wasn’t worth it, in this case.  The major purpose of the gesso would have been to preserve an underdrawing; however, in practicality, it would have been a lot of work and would have smudged the graphite, anyway.  In addition, it provided a resist to the gouache, which meant that if I only sealed the lines and not anything else, it would show in the final painting!  (The solution to this would have been to seal twice; once over the lines, then another time over everything else; but I realized it would be too much work.)

I tried three variants of sealer:  Liquitex Basics white gesso, Liquitex Clear Acrylic gesso, and Liquitex Professional Matte (Glazing) Medium.  Of these three compounds, the Clear Acrylic gesso gave the least resistance when wet gouache was applied on top of a dry layer…so it would seem, anyway.  I can’t be certain of the exact viscosity of my mixture among all three trials…

Both the white gesso and the matte medium had a tendency to repel the paint, as is obvious from my test swatches; whereas the gouache soaked right in in the areas surrounding the treated areas.  The clear gesso, on the other hand, showed less of this tendency, but it also gave a texture that resulted in gas bubbles beneath my paintbrush, and thus a somewhat textured, or, “speckled,” tone, to the overlying gouache (I believe this was a blend of Holbein and Winsor & Newton paint).

What I ended up doing (to get back to the main narrative) was just erasing most of what I could, leaving a faint map of a drawing, then painting on top of this.  I did this because I didn’t want to get trapped in making outlines in fineliner and then painting on top of that style of ink mark — particularly because when coloring over lines is inevitable, do I want the viewer’s attention to be drawn to the lines?  And lines which show through in some places and are covered up, in others?

I can see it’s a relatively popular way to work, at least with ink and wash…but I struggle with being too tight in my drawings, anyway.  I don’t want to deliberately reinforce it.

And in other other news…my hair is getting on my nerves.  The rainy season has started, though, and one of the only good points to having hair as thick as I do is that it’s a fairly good insulator against the cold, and rain.  Seriously, though:  it’s, like, huge.  The benefit is that I can pull it back (I look kind of hot like this), and I don’t have to get it cut every few months.  The irritating point is that I can go to bed with it damp, and it is still damp in the morning, because it’s so thick that the air can’t penetrate.

I just realized that I have no idea how long it is, now, at all.  (The curls kind of disguise that aspect.)  Maybe a little past shoulder-length?  I’ve avoided cutting it because I don’t appreciate whiny comments from people I don’t care about, about “why don’t I have long hair,” like they should have an opinion and it should matter and I should care and I’m going to try and avoid mocking them, here.  It’s a sensitive topic — I’ve been singled out over my hair for my entire life — and it’s really angering.  But if it gets to the point of my ripping it out while combing it because I hate having to take care of it, again, and it’s gotten to the point of snarling, and making me want to scream and stab the mirror because ****it I’m not a ****ing doll, yes I’m getting it cut, because at that point I’m taking care of myself by cutting it off, as versus blending in to avoid sexual harassment.

I also want to get another (ear) piercing…which influences what I do with my hair (I’ll have to keep it very clean for at least 4-6 months, to avoid infection).  Because it’s cold, this makes an infection less likely to happen.

I just haven’t decided on which side to pierce– though I’m told getting a piercing on the right side only indicated one was gay if one was male and in the 1980’s.  😉  It’s still standard to get single piercings only on the left side, though, at least in the U.S.  This would be my third piercing…any more above that, and (legal) discrimination starts to kick in.  Though, technically, discrimination is fairly standard here anyway; I’d deal with it from being female, a racial/ethnic minority, not-straight, gender-variant, etc., but those are the big four, for me.

Which is, by the way, why I’m looking into the career path I am.

It’s so nice to get a day off…

Well, vacation (by which I mean my one extra day off between scheduling) is almost over.  The good part is that I am nearly entirely caught up with my work, from the time in which my main workstation was out of commission.  This is mostly due to marathon reading, yesterday.

It’s nice to know, at least, that my study and cognitive skills aren’t as diminished as I had expected.  Earlier this week, as well, I had a 4-6 page paper to turn in which turned into a 9-page paper because I did not read the requirements well enough (double-spaced! not 1.5-spaced!!).

At least the good majority of the work is out of the way.  I was seriously behind in my readings for my Database course (and still have yet to break into the optional ones).  I have one more reading to go, a late Discussion Topic on that reading, and then I can move on.  (– At least, so far as grading goes.  I’m fairly certain that I just got a 0/2 on the other Discussion Topic I missed, though I can probably still do the work, just for myself.)

Looking forward — I have the assignment to assemble a kit for (hypothetical) distribution within my Library.  Because the topic is a bit sensitive (but not forbidden) where it comes to publicly-funded libraries (well — I’d expect that anything catering to a minority audience would be, but especially if it falls within politics/religion/sexuality/gender/race [it’s not all of those at once, don’t worry]), I probably won’t broach the exact subject of my kit here.  I basically just picked the topic I did because of one of the newer under-served populations I’ve seen pop up, plus my own knowledge on the topic in question.

As regards anything having to do with Art or Creative Writing…that’s been, basically, on pause.  I have managed to make some headway in design on the mandala I wrote about, earlier, but have not reinstalled either Photoshop or GIMP2, without which — I don’t know how to reduce the DPI and compress the file size for Web publishing.  Nor do I know how to enhance photos without the help of a powerful image-editing program.  I can still take photos and upload them, but until I reinstall at least one of these programs, showing them to you all will be one of those things that probably just isn’t going to happen…

At least my data itself is secure, though.  (Backups.)  I’ve just spent a good bit of time looking through the folder where I keep the particularly nice photos — a bunch of them are higher-quality than I remember.  This is the first time I really let them fill the screen, though.  (A larger display size has a much different impact than a smaller one.)  I’m thinking of utilizing one of them instead of what I had settled on before, for my large canvas.

Do I wish I had taken more time out for art or writing, recently?  It probably would have been a more productive way to fill the hours I spent in bed, worrying about my computer — and I got nothing done then anyway, so I might as well have!

I am finding that the Database class is…interesting.  It’s creative work, but then it’s also very technical.  (Library work in general has been described as “socio-technical;” there are obvious questions that come up for me, like what we’re actually talking about when we’re talking about statistical correlations among members of a racial group.)  I’m planning on asking about the work of designing and constructing databases; it’s kind of fun for the “puzzle” and logic aspects of it.  I haven’t formulated my question, though; the concepts are still too fluid and fuzzy for me to get a good grasp on them.

I’m also new to design work that isn’t visually-oriented.  I kind of wonder what part of my psyche I’m utilizing in organizing surrogates (like catalog records), or in grasping what is meant by NT (narrower term) or BT (broader term) or RT (related term)…

I’m still not grasping all of it, by the way; but I have another three years to pin down the basics, so it’s not so bad.  😉

The farther in I get to the LIS field, though…the less certain I become of an ideal path.  I certainly have more respect for Public Librarians at this point than I used to, after gaining more insight into what their work is actually about (fulfilling community information needs).  Will I want to become a Public Librarian?  Probably not (although the job openings are less hidden), but I still respect them.

I also did come across an example of someone painting with gouache on top of gessoed cardboard; I believe this means that it is possible!  Heh.  I still need to try out my new colors, too.  Maybe I can make some time for it tomorrow, before I have to go to work and continue on with this week’s assignments…

 

Recovery

I’m so tired that I can’t really think really well, right now.

I am about a week behind in classwork, due to the system failure and my own freezing up during and after the system failure.  The good part is that I completed the work I needed to do…what is left are all the readings…and assorted other stuff.  I’ve decided just to let the two 2-point discussion prompts go, for this week.

Otherwise…I did make it out to pick up paints.  The store I went to was out of Holbein Flame Red; so I got Winsor & Newton Flame Red (which looks much more vibrant than any of the color swatches I’ve seen…not sure why, except either fading and/or resolution quality).  I also got Holbein Peacock Blue and W&N Intense Blue.  It came to me later that maybe I should have gotten a Phthalo Green instead of Peacock Blue, as the latter shade is a mix of Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Green, and Titanium White.  That is, if I got Phthalo Green, I probably could have mixed some variant of color close to Peacock Blue…and mixed a bunch more other colors with it, as well.

I did just get the one I did because it was gorgeous, though.  Plus, I needed a decent green-leaning blue to make intense greens (Intense Blue is also a Phthalo color, but apparently there are different shades of Phthalo Blue, even when it’s unmixed.  Thus you get Red Shade [which competes with Ultramarine], Green Shade, etc., for starters).

I haven’t gotten the chance to try these out, yet, though it might be a good thing to do when I’m too tired to do much, as now.  I could be working on my reading, and I don’t know exactly why I’m not.

I have showered already, though.  Maybe I should just get ready for bed.  I want to stay up, and I haven’t been up for that long.  I’m just sleepy, though.

Maybe it has to do with getting into the first actually cool Fall days…

And, I nearly forgot to mention:  I did reach out to a couple of people working in Information in a nearby Museum.  I don’t know why it occurred to me to do it today, but I took some time out of reading and just drafted a letter and sent it.  Yay me.

The thing is, I’m still not certain whether I should work as an Art Librarian or as a Cataloger.  Maybe they’ll be able to shed some insight…

Color shopping in gouache

I’ve just spent what seems to be the last 1.5 hours trying to find a good, warm red to replace my Scarlet Lake.  It’s…not the most fun thing, but I am about to get into painting my mandala, and don’t want to deal with my oranges fading.

I’ve settled on three different paints, keeping in mind that I’m avoiding cadmium colors.  One of them in particular caught my eye as a good replacement for Scarlet Lake, but appears also not to be wholly lightfast:  this is Holbein Flame Red.

Instead of this, though, I’m fairly certain that if I can find it, Da Vinci Red will be a better buy (though I should compare the diluted swatches side by side to be sure).  Da Vinci’s pigment (PR 188) is more lightfast, and — if their Light Red is any indication, it warms decently with the addition of yellow (the two paints both use PR 188, if I’m correct).

While I was looking, I also found a decent replacement for W&N’s Sky Blue:  Holbein Peacock Blue.  It is a mix of two Phthalo colors plus white, but the Sky Blue I have is…weak, or so I’ve tended to see it.  I’ve wanted to make more intense greens than is possible with that Sky Blue (which, granted, is probably from 2007).  Sky Blue is just the last of the old batch of gouache in my split-primary palette, and I don’t particularly like it (at all), so I’m thinking of replacing it for this reason.

The last color I saw, which would approximate Scarlet Lake but still…not be wholly lightfast (this must be a problem in reds) is Holbein Brilliant Orange.  Apparently, it’s fine full-strength, but fades in tints.  However, it’s very close to the color I have now, which makes brilliant oranges and red-oranges.  I also have found that there is no name for “orange”, traditionally, in Japanese — the term is closer to “yellowish red” (or so the book Colorist would infer); as Holbein is a Japanese company, I wouldn’t be surprised if the concept behind “Brilliant Orange” was indeed “yellowish red”.

Scarlet Lake is something that I haven’t done any lightfastness tests on myself; however, looking at the nine-year-old portfolio from Color Dynamics that I got off the shelf, it keeps its color decently when not exposed to light.  I had just heard on the WetCanvas forum that Scarlet Lake was fugitive.  In addition, that particular paint color is not being made by W&N in gouache, anymore.  Nor do I know the pigment composition, because it was made before W&N started labeling the pigment content of their paints.

Shopping list:

  • Da Vinci Red gouache
  • Holbein Peacock Blue gouache
  • Holbein Brilliant Orange gouache

estimated cost:  $24 – $5 gift coupon = $19

Not to mention that I’ve got to pick up some thumb drives tomorrow, too (>8 GB), to back up some mess…

EDIT:  Actually, nah, I’m just getting Flame Red and Peacock Blue.  $9 with gift coupon.