of colour charts and cockups

There are few things more satisfying than getting to the end of a sketchbook… and whilst it took me almost a year to get through this one I am ashamed to say…. the last half of the book went quicker than the first half, so I think my mojo has returned. I have loved working in the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks… the paper is wonderfully heavy and creamy and takes the watercolours wonderfully. So I have decided to stay with them, though I have opted for the ivory paper over the bright white for a bit of a change.
20150301 - out with the old and in with the new

A habit I shamelessly copied from Liz Steel is to start each new sketchbook with a colour chart .. in past books I’ve done a straight colour swatch to remind me what I was carrying in my travel palette. This time I opted for a colour mixing chart so that I would have a handy reference of what colours I could mix with the pans I carry… particularly important since I changed the palette up a little this time round. I felt like I needed to reacquaint myself with the colours.

20150302 - start of the colour mixing chart

I ruled it all up and made sure it was tiny and precise since I managed to cram 22 pans into the tin this time… took me ages. And then I started to mix…

Tiny blobs of paint dotted on my mixing plate… meticulously counting and ensuring I was mixing the right colours… or so I thought…

20150302 - chart - pretty sure I've killed it

The problem was that when I started mixing the paint for the colour chart, it was after work… and I was tired. Actually I lie… the problems started before that. I’m still too tired to figure it out properly, but I think I numbered the axes of the chart incorrectly… I was getting little of no swatches that involved mixing the dark end of the spectrum…and to make matters worse, by the time I was mixing colours  6 and 7, I realised that I had doubled up and done the same set of mixes twice. So I gave up. My sketchbook has a completely useless colour mixing chart to start it off. I am really hoping that this is not a sign of things to come for the rest of the sketchbook!!! ARGH!

I think the thing that annoys me most is that I’ve done four or five of these over the years and have not had a problem. Lesson learned… don’t do anything you have to use your brain for after a long day at work and a weights session.

Anyway, to end on a high note (sort of) … here’s the colour chart I did of the current travel palette that i will cut out and tuck into the kit. I had some spare reds and purples hanging around, so I decided to slot them in to see what I can do with them. I’m still not a huge fan of the Prussian Blue, and I think I need another green too … something to investigate and experiment with I think.

20150301 - swatches for new setyp

And just for good measure here’s the scanned front page. The botanical letter is something I wanted to have a go at after seeing the tutorial over on The Postman’s Knock. Though this was a lot of fun to do, I think perhaps I’d like to experiment with some Aussie bush wildflowers next time.
20150302 - front page new book


The chart still looks kind of cool.. but is utterly useless. 🙂 Not that I am particularly perturbed… it is annoying, but at the end of the day I was engrossed in doing something wonderful for a couple of hours. Well worth it.

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8 thoughts on “of colour charts and cockups”

  1. Your letter turned out absolutely beautiful! I’m really glad the botanical letter tutorial inspired you … because you certainly did the concept justice!

  2. Thank you for your recommendation of sketchbook – and thanks, too, for sharing your frustration. It is part of the journey. Mistakes and resilience and keeping focus on the beauty and learning. I am also amused that you did your botanical letter yesterday – it must have been in the air, because I did one too! Thanks for sharing that tutorial earlier – it was the perfect way to get me into gear after a sluggish weekend.

  3. Thanks Lindsey. It was a lot of fun to do and very satisfying. I love your tutorials! Thanks for posting them!

  4. Ooh have you posted your botanical letter anywhere?

    The Stillman and Birn books are a little more expensive than average, but thee quality of the paper is well with it if you are working with wet stuff 🙂

    thanks for the encouragement

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